PMS doesn’t exist

Pre-menstrual stress (PMS), also known as pre-menstrual tension (PMT), no longer exists. A group of Canadian academics signed the death-warrant with its review of 47 studies of the widely-accepted condition.

The academics found that many of the studies did not live up to good scientific practice. Of those which did, only 13 per cent found a link between the pre-menstrual days and a woman’s bad mood.

The group concluded that none of the studies could provide clear evidence of a “specific pre-menstrual negative mood syndrome”. To give further weight to its findings Jane Ussher, the professor of women’s health psychology at the University of Western Sydney, has found that the idea of PMS is a Western one. There is no similar concept in India, China or Hong Kong.

Women have not taken kindly to the news that PMS is all in their heads.

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Opinion – Feeling a bit tetchy

According to this study PMS is a fictional condition which only exists in the minds of western women. The anger, frustration or irrational sadness many women feel at the same time every month is entirely coincidental, and we should all stop making such a song and dance over it.

That statement alone makes me feel a bit tetchy. Maybe these scientists are right and PMS has nothing to do with hormone cycles (even though it is a well-known fact that hormones can make your mood somewhat volatile – just ask anyone who has tried to argue with a pregnant woman). Maybe the well-documented, regularly occurring snippiness many women feel is caused by the fact that women are still expected to do a greater share of the household chores, or that wage-equality in Australia has stalled, with women still only earning around 85c to the dollar compared to men in the same role.

Or perhaps it is simply because of studies such this one, which seem to think it is acceptable to invalidate the feelings and experiences of women with the excuse that it’s all in our heads.

Before I go and raid my chocolate stash to calm down, may I also point out that the three countries used as examples of places without documented PMS are:

  1. All Asian countries, and thus not a good representation of ‘non-western’ countries
  2. Not known for their liberated female population
  3. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, making the three samples even less diverse


Just a thought.

Do you think PMS is just an excuse for women to be in a bad mood? Or have the academics gone too far this time?

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