They call her… hormonal??

Today’s psych post – PMS!!

Yes hormones, periods, bloating, irritation, hot sweats, a general hate of the world and desire to eat everything in sight. So let’s look at some facts and some things that research shows may help eleviate some of the negative changes us women experience during our premenstrual phase. Believe it or not some women actual feel premenstrual change is positive – I never believed it or understood it until I started my research.

So what is PMS/PMT/PMDD?

In short it’s a response to the hormonal changes in your body. Some women are more sensitive to these changes than others. Women experience mood swings, cramps, backpain, bloating, irritability, sadness and many other symptoms. Studies show that there are many factors which may cause these ‘symptoms’. Hormones, neurotransmitters, genetics, stress, and psychosocial factors.

A lot of medical papers describe it as a pathology (illness) that needs to be fixed. However with over 90% of women experiencing premenstrual change, 70% of whome experience changes negative enough to self diagnose PMS researchers have recently suggested it shouldn’t be pathologised, instead it should be acknowledged and accepted as change that happens for most women. Yes it presents a challenge, and certainly is some cases it can have massive impacts on a women, in these cases medical and psychological input may very well be needed, but for the most learning to understand changes in your body, and have close partners and friends who understand can go a long way to help the problem and make you feel less horrendous.

What can help?

First and foremost being aware of it. Being aware reduces the surprise “oh my clothes don’t fit” or “everyone is driving me mad today” sort of feelings. Instead you’re ready for them, and whilst they may be unpleasant feelings, you can embrace them and maybe even chuckle to yourself.

Second: Talking to your partner, close friends or family.  PMS can have major impacts on your social relationships. Couples often report constantly arguing during this time of the month. Friends have tense moments and things can get heated. Family’s may all respond to one member getting “overly sensitive” and it can lead to friction and upset. Talking about what happens and how you feel will really make a difference. Through simply recognising and airing the changes and challenges they present the easier they are to live with. The feeling won’t go away but the negative impacts of them will reduce and with time my go alltogether. Your boyfriend or husband will learn what you need and how to help you. Instead of getting into arguments with friends and family you’ll find that through discussion you can work out what works well at this time and what doesn’t, they might offer a little leeway for your sensitivity (although remember, you need to be sensitive to their needs too). ASK for what you need. Do not silence yourself as the woman who’s meant to handle all the demands, you WILL break under the pressure and snap out in some way. If you need a time out/someone else to make dinner/put the wash on/simply need some alone time, let everyone else know!!

Lastly: if your significant others don’t accept that PMS is real they will think you can “rise above it”. This isn’t possible. If you stay quiet about your needs as I mentioned the pressure cooker will begin to get hot and soon it will all blow up! So explain to your partner and family that this is real, if they are sceptical or want more info send them to this page or use the links and papers below!

Always happy to answer questions so get in touch with thoughts, things that have worked for you or any questions!

Much love x

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