PMS Study: Mood Swings From Menstruation May Not Exist, Study Finds

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PMS
A new study from the University of Toronto suggests PMS doesn't exist to begin with. | Alamy

Women may be cheery one minute and angry the next — but whatever mood they're in, you officially can't blame their periods.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, may be an utter myth, according to new research from the University of Toronto. The study found that there was no obvious link between women's negative mood swings and the premenstrual phase of their cycles, according to a press release.

The university studied 41 research reports that tracked the change in women's moods throughout their periods, both before and during. Their findings showed no evidence that PMS itself even existed.

“There is so much cultural baggage around women’s menstrual cycles, and entire industries built around the idea that women are moody, irrational — even unstable — in the phase leading up to menstruation,” says Dr. Gillian Einstein, director of U of T’s collaborative program in Women’s Health in a press release. “Our review — which shows no clear evidence that PMS exists — will be surprising to many people, including health professionals.”

People have blamed mood swings on a woman's "time of the month" for years, with women dubbed irrational or emotional by men, friends or even themselves. A Glamour magazine poll found that 58 per cent of women blamed their periods for their emotional outbursts.

Recently, the stereotype of getting emotional while having your period has been challenged. Besides this U of T study, some companies like Kotex created satire tampon ads highlighting the stupidity of twirling around in your white spandex while menstruating. And earlier this week, feminine hygiene company BodyForm created a hilarious and sarcastic video response to one of their Facebook users, who'd found out the "ugly truth" of what a period was really like.

The university's research also found that out of all the reports that were examined, only six (or 13.5 per cent) showed links between negative moods and the premenstrual phase, Einstein added. The research also concluded that these reports in particular may be skewed for preconceived notions.

“Before women even get their first period, they have heard about PMS. The notion is so ingrained in our culture that some of these studies are actually biased because women know the study is about PMS,” says Einstein,

The research, however, did not touch on premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a clinical disorder that affects the mood while a woman is on her period. PMDD symptoms are often more severe than mood swings in general and these may include depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and headaches, according to Mood Disorders Association Of Ontario.

And even if PMS may not exist, cramps still do. At least 40 to 70 per cent of women feel some type of discomfort or pain when they're on their periods and this can include feeling bloated and losing energy.

Do you still think PMS exists? Let us know in the comments below.

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