I like to think of myself as a generally happy, rational, even-keeled person. But once a month, like clockwork, there's a night when I stay up late crying and blogging about some sad cat video or a random guy who's not texting me back. Woe is seriously me at those low points. And, every time, again like clockwork, when my period hits a week later, I experience a wave of relief that, phew, I'm not a crazy person and it's just my out-of-whack hormones that make me act and feel like one.
Related: How to Cure Your Winter Blues
So, imagine my dismay in reading this new study that says that the PMS symptoms you and I feel are actually not real. Suckawhat?
A group of Canadian researchers - whom, bummer of bummers are female - failed to find "clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome" after reviewing 47 in-depth studies on menstruation.
The research, published in the journal "Gender Medicine," doesn't refute the physical symptoms of menstruation, such as bloating, breast tenderness and cramps - just the wild irritability and inexplicable bouts of alternating sadness and temper that render us women a tad nuts for a spell.
One of the study's authors, Professor Gillian Einstein at the University of Toronto, says she hopes this will empower women not to use PMS as an excuse for their rage and instead own up to the real reasons behind their anger. And, she hopes that by debunking the legitimacy of PMS, society will no longer use it to dismiss a woman's real emotions and behavior, which she says, "is really detrimental."
Critics maintain that it's this "research" that can ultimately harm women by having the medical community dismiss real symptoms. Gynecologist Dr. Dustin Costescu-Green cautions that women who experience menstrual-related moods may no longer "come forward because now we have a paper that says this isn't a real problem."
Related: How to Ditch PMS -- for Good
It's still unclear whether the emotional side effects of menstruation can be proven biologically or whether they're simply a social construct, but Anne Rochon Ford, executive director of the Canadian Women's Health Network, says this "brave" study is trying to get the discussion started. What say you? Do you think PMS is nothing more than an excuse for mood swings, or is it a bona fide syndrome?