Is PMS real?: A poll for female dopers

I know that women having PMS is a source of endless snide comments, jokes, and dismissal; we’ve all heard the wise cracks, I’m sure. I hope it’s possible to have a serious conversation about it here. Me, I think it’s real and hey, not always really funny either. Of course, it IS that time of the month, so… :smack:

I’m specifically interested in the hormonal/emotional aspects of PMS, not the physical, which are empirically measurable. I’m talking about that “going psycho” phenomenon which has become a cliche, and which I’m wondering if is real for women.

Me, I find that I am generally of a darker turn of mind in the 3 days or so before the red tide rolls in. I hate it that my moods can be affected so greatly by hormones; makes me feel less like a person with free will, if you know what I mean. I feel a greater sense of anxiety, of negativity, and hey, grouchiness. I don’t like it and wish I could not have to deal with it, though I hear what comes next is worse…

Thus, my question… Women, do you ever experience PMS of the mood-swing type? What is it like for you? Is there anything you can do about it? OR do you think it’s a myth or socially constructed bull? I hate even admitting that I experience it, lest any sort of strong feeling I express be put down to it, which is why I am reticent to even broach the subject, but my curiosity is getting the better of me at this late hour.

Thanks for whatever insight you can offer.

It’s real for me. About a week before the monthly comes, I notice myself getting angrier and less patient with situations that normally wouldn’t bother me. It’s usually a day into the PMS when I remember why I would be feeling that way.

I didn’t understand the PMS phenomenon when I was a teenager. I thought it was some made-up BS that women used as an excuse to be mean and bitchy for a few days each month. A free pass, I guess. I got the memo about emotions run ragged (:D) about four months after my Norplant wore out. It took me a few days to figure out why I felt like hell when nothing was physically wrong.

I tend to lose my patience a lot when I get hormonal around my time of month. I also get rather mopey (nothing fits, I look horrible, I’m the ugliest person in the world, that sort of thing). I generally try to keep that last bit to myself, as nobody likes a whiner.

I can’t say that I have major mood swings though. I don’t turn psycho and turn into a hellbitch. I’ve asked my boyfriend if he notices anything, and he just verified lack of patience thing and that I’m not as talkative.

Not really. I used to get kind of spacy on Day-1 and Day 1, but I don’t even notice that much these days.

It is real for me. When I am not on birth control, I have a nervous breakdown before every period. Aside from the emotional rollercoaster, I have severe back pain, headaches, cramps and such. I hate it, the birth control is the only thing that seems to control it. For a long time I thought I was effing crazy until I talked to a dr. and we finally found the problem. PMS is very real and very painful at my house, or was until my nice little daily pill. :slight_smile:

For a couple days, I experience extreme irritability. Noises, other people, small frustrations–all become magnified and I severely over react. The best description I’ve come up with is to think of being at the top of a very high, fast, scarey roller coaster. Intellectually, you KNOW you are perfectly safe. You’ve even ridden it before. But nonetheless, when you go over the top, you experience fear and you scream. PMS is very much like that for me. I KNOW what’s going on, I KNOW that it’s just little stuff and people are no more of a pain than at any other time, but my reaction is “over the top” and I don’t seem to be able to control it by intellectual rationalization.

It’s very real for me, though not like clockwork now that I am entering perimenopause.
Everything mentioned happens to me; the worst thing is the sleeplessness which occurs when I am low on estrogen.

You betcha. I go completely to pieces for about 3 days before my period starts.

I’m much more emotional tht I normally am a few days before it starts. Not irratible, but prone to being weepy. I always forget that it’s just a hormonal thing: every damn month I think I’ve lost the plot.

I don’t think I experience mood swings as y’all are describing them. However, when it feels as if hot knives are stabbing me in the belly and I’m concentrating all my efforts just to sit up straight and not moan out loud, it’s very easy for any little thing that happens to seem like THE LAST STRAW!

I don’t get angry, either. But when I catch myself crying at AT&T commercials I know it’s close.

Every month, I experience three to five days of rage. Things that I should find mildly annoying instead leave me imagining performing acts of extreme bloody violence.

manx, this has only happened to me within the past few years, and it took me about a year to figure it out. :smack:

For about 5 days a month, people that I normally like and enjoy their company are suddenly replaced by Idiot Shapeshifters, who then go on to irritate me in the littlest ways (breathing, eating noises and being general dumbasses.)

Then, when my period is over, the Idiot Shapeshifters release the normal people from their suspended reality prison, get in their car and drive off to go irritate someone else. It’s not me. It is them. They make normal people into morons and idiots whose primary focus for 5 days a month is to make me gnash my teeth.
It’s not me.

It is them.

Prozac is a relationship saver. It makes the Shapeshifters go from irritating to humorous.

The weird thing about PMS for me is that the symptoms are rarely the same from month to month. And usually I’ll have one of the following symptoms, but not the others:

Sometimes I’ll be irritable.
Sometimes I’ll feel overwhelmed and tired.
Sometimes I’ll get teary for no reason ( like crying at stupid movies).
Sometimes I’ll be Miss Space Cadet, rambling on and on for no reason, with little provocation.
Sometimes I’ll be a giant klutz.

And then sometimes, I won’t be anything at all. No emotional symptoms, no physical symptoms. Usually, these are the times when Aunt Flo sneaks up on me like the evil bitch that she is.

Would you believe I get horny, of all things? Embarassingly, bitch-in-heat type horniness. Most of the time it’s been frustrating, but I do kid the gentleman in my life that, when I go off Depo-Provera, he’s going to be one of the guys who looks forward to his lady getting PSM. I also get the odd bit of cramping and irritability, but I’ve never had anything incapacitating.

One thing that I have noticed is that often I’ll feel irritable the day AFTER the period. I don’t know if this is just the hormones bouncing back or what, but I experience this more than PMS.

Count me among whose PMS takes the form of crying at AT&T commercials. Sometimes I’ll think, “Good lord, woman, what is wrong with you? Get a grip!” and then later realize what time of the month it is.

You guys (gals) want to hear something horrifying? Those PMS days are when our bodies are (hormonally speaking) most like men’s bodies! That’s right, they have PMS All. The. Time. Can you imagine? It does make me a little more patient with the poor creatures.

I get irritable and HUNGRY! I mean, I’m hungry a lot, but PMS just hits me and I cannot be sated - mostly for meat. (And no, I’m not anemic.)

Siege, I get horny *during *my period. :smack: I don’t know what Mother Nature was thinking, but it sort of proves to me that sex is rather divorced from reproduction.

Yep. Emotional and irritable about a week before it hits. I warn my husband, and add my disclaimer: anything I say or do during this time, I don’t really mean. Naturally, this isn’t a get out of jail free card, and sometimes, if he calls me on it during this time, I’ll freeze, think it over, and become docile once again, agreeing it’s the hormones talking. If it’s particularly bad, he’ll have his head chomped off for even daring to suggest it was hormones and not something real, damnit! (“Then honey, if it’s real, what is it?” “I DON’T KNOW BUT IT JUST IS!” “Okay.” “I don’t like that TONE, mister.”)

We’re both still alive, so it must be tolerable to some extent. I really do feel… out of control? Not like myself? Out of my mind? I’ve never done something extreme or something foolish, like people do when drunk (hell, I don’t even do any regretful things when drunk, except maybe babble foolishly), I don’t even get angry, just irritable. And even that I snap out of periodically. I’ll think rationally, apologise, sulk a little while, then be fine. It doesn’t feel good, to be certain.

There’s just something terribly disconcerting about knowing you are a good, intelligent, rational-thinking adult, and yet experiencing a loss of control, non-reasonable thinking, and foolish behaviour at regularly scheduled monthly intervals. It’s a real kick in the nuts, that.

Yeah, PMS affects my emotions. I think of it as an amplification effect–I’m not feeling anything different than I would be normally, but either the emotions themselves are stronger or something changes in me that makes it harder for me to control them. At any rate, my mood changes are more drastic than usual and it’s about the only time of month that I’m likely to actually yell at people. I’ve also often come near to the point of tears with frustration during that time of month.