I’ve been wanting to bring this topic to light for a long time. However, since it involves a woman’s reproductive system, it is considered “taboo” by some. But, since a large portion of my readers are women or men who occasionally interact with women, I’m going to go for it.
For the last 17(ish?) years, I’ve suffered from premenstrual syndrome. It starts with a giant pimple (or two or three) on my face, then, over a period of 2-3 days, turns in to irritability, which escalates to terrible, wild mood swings, which are punctuated by cramps that make it feel as if my uterus is attempting to stab its way out of lower abdomen with its IUD (yeah, I just threw a birth control reference in there, too. Scared yet?) There’s usually an overlapping day of debilitating cramps and actual menstruation, but the bulk of the pain is prior to and not during.
I’ve not yet found a cure for this, and, judging by the lack of research on the topic, one isn’t likely to manifest any time soon. (maybe now that we’ve got 50 drugs to help men function sexually, women can get a little more attention from researchers). Some women have successfully taken birth control pills in a continuous manner to stop the menstrual period. I tried that, but all it did was make me have PMS with no actual period. I’m also not a fan of messing with my hormones via synthetic hormones. Apparently, if symptoms are bad enough, some doctors call it premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and are prescribing anti-depressants. Yeah, I’ll go ahead and pass on that one.
My own personal coping mechanisms involve trying to avoid situations that would magnify my mood issues, not talking if I feel as though I want to say something that might be rude or hurtful, and taking ibuprofen if the cramps get to “double over and fall down” levels of pain. Sometimes, (as you may have seen reference to on Twitter) I vent my anger by drinking a glass of wine and yelling angry feminist rants at commercials on primetime television. Otherwise, I always strive to maintain my normal activity. While it does occasionally interfere with my everyday life, I don’t see it as a handicap. It’s just a challenge that I (along with may other women) face on a regular basis.
So, ladies (and men who occasionally interact with ladies), how many of you face this challenge along with me (or know someone who does)? How do you cope? Comment here or on Facebook.