I had a totally different blogpost planned for today. But this topic has been on my mind for a while now, and as Flo’ hit town this week, I thought it was perfect timing for this blogpost.
Such a tabou topic that needs to be talked about so much more. I’ve noticed that it makes some people uncomfortable when I say that I’m on my period to explain why I’m feeling low or tired. Even some women. But why something so natural and necessary can make someone uneasy ? I can understand that it can be something quite « private » because it comes from our vajay-jay but hey ? That’s where we all come from, loves. The thing is, I can understand that we aren’t all on the same level regarding talking freely about the incredible (and sometimes, well, bloody) things that our bodies can do. Our upbringing are not the same and our modestity regarding this topic. But I’m afraid that it shuts down the conversation for some women which means that they don’t always understand what happens in their body but as importantly, what happens in their brain and the symptoms of being on your period. And damn, they make quite a difference.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
For those of you who are not sure what PMS is, here’s a definition from womenshealth.gov:
“Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period. Most women, over 90%, say they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness. For some women, these symptoms may be so severe that they miss work or school, but other women are not bothered by milder symptoms.“
Symtoms vary from women but also with age, here are a few common symptoms:
“PMS symptoms are different for every woman. You may get physical symptoms, such as bloating or gassiness, or emotional symptoms, such as sadness, or both. Your symptoms may also change throughout your life.
Physical symptoms of PMS can include:
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bloating or a gassy feeling
- Headache or backache
- Lower tolerance for noise or light
Emotional or mental symptoms of PMS include:
- Irritability or hostile behavior
- Feeling tired
- Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little)
- Appetite changes or food cravings
- Trouble with concentration or memory
- Tension or anxiety
- Depression, feelings of sadness, or crying spells
- Mood swings
- Less interest in sex“
PMS is real, guys, and if like me you get it quite intensely, you’ll know that being aware of what it is and the symptoms can explain so many things in your behavior and your thinking process. Personally, the few days before I get my period, I’m very tense, can get easily angry or upset about something and I have headaches. I’m jumpy, have a hard time focusing and my anxiety hightens.
Before I realized that these were just me experiencing normal symptoms of a natural experience, I always thought I was in a bad rut, I couldn’t tell why I was feeling that way. It scared me, to be honest. What was happening to me ?! Why did, overnight, I become so dark-minded and an angry, down, beast ? I didn’t talk about it with friends that much before. It just wasn’t a mainstream topic. I didn’t fear mentionning it but if someone was not going to talk freely about it, how could I know what they were experiencing ?
I would say that when my anxiety got worse (about 5 years ago) I started to notice more and more the symptoms. When your anxiety is through the roof and uncontrollable, you do notice. So when the « dark beast » arrived, I was more and more in tune with how I felt. As I started to try to understand my anxiety better to manage it, I noticed symptoms more and more. And when I realized that this terrible week always took place the week of my period, I understood. That’s what it was !
Since then, I feel more prepared for my period week. I know it’s not just “am I going to stain my underwear or jeans with blood today?” or a “leave me alone, I just need to put myself before you” time. I know it’s going to be a hard week for me, but I also know that it « doesn’t have anything to do with me » mentally. It’s hormones, chemicals doing their thing in my body, and that’s okay. I’m lucky that everything seems to work down there, so I let nature do its thing. But I wish I were more prepared for this. Why don’t they touch base on this in middle school when we are taught about the reproductive system ? I would have wanted to know what PMS is and what’s normal to experience during my period (lower back ache, headaches, difficulty concentrating, can’t think well, want to eat more, don’t sleep well, mood swings, social withdrawal, muscle pain).
Knowledge is power so I think we, especially women, should be aware of what’s going on in our body so that we can recognize symptoms. But I also believe that men should be in the know. I’m lucky that all guys in my life are very open on this subject. I can talk freely about everything and that’s nice; but I know that not all guys are open on the subject. They just think we are moody and bleeding and that’s it. Why couldn’t we talk more freely about this? Why can’t this be an open conversation? After all, it’s quite natural.
All I want to say is, let’s all share our knowledge and experiences on the subject of PMS and menstruation. Knowledge is power and together we are stronger.
Here are a few podcast episodes to get more information on the subject:
Keeping it candid – EP 46: The power of periods w/ Moody Month founder Amy Thompson
On The Line: Period Talk with Nikki and Leah (Ohne)