Tag Archives: PMS

Where am I?

where am IAs one who has entered the hormonal enigma of what some call “aging gracefully” (while others prefer the term “hormone hell”) I often find myself unaware of where I am in my cycle – and IF I am even cycling.

Case in point – I woke this morning and hopped on the scale to check my pre-dress, pre-coffee weight like I do most mornings.  When the tale was told, my weight was up 3 lbs since yesterday.

Three times the scale told me the same story.  Up 3 lbs. UP. Up, up.

I stepped off of the scale and turned to face myself in the mirror, the real me with unbrushed hair and bed wrinkles creasing one side of my face.

I’d not slept well (and it showed), and not nearly long enough.  Waking at 3:43 with heart pounding and drenched in sweat will deal a death blow to slipping easily back into a peaceful sleep, and with Hubby snoring loudly enough to cause me to grit my teeth even though I’m wearing earplugs….  I should know…I lay there and watched the clock until 4:20 while my muscles tightened and my teeth clenched in frustration.  Every nerve in my being seemed coiled to spring.  So, I squelched the urge to pinch Hubby and I rose for the day and took my agitation with me.

Yes, I’ll admit.  PMS did cross my mind as I lay there unable to relax. So did a lot of other things that I probably shouldn’t put into print.

A couple of weeks ago, I did sense a rise in libido and that twinge in my side could have been ovulation and not the spicy chicken fingers I’d eaten the day before.  And, last night I did feel chilled and a little obsessively focused, and (I suppose a wee bit) cranky and not quite “myself.”  And, my breasts have been a bit tender, which is unusual for me.

But up 3 lbs?  Overnight? With no change in diet or activity? (Okay, so maybe yesterday I did snack on a few potato chips and that chocolate covered cherry…it was just one – okay, okay…it was two….)

And, 3 hours after rising, with 3.5 large cups of black coffee in me…I realize I’m putting in and not putting out.  Definitely retaining fluid.

And, no, this is definitely NOT on my agenda or in my game plan for this week.

It’s the first week of the month…of the year…a busy work week where I need focus.  I’d prefer NOT to have the fatigue and foggy brain that are creeping in around the edges as I type this. And, if I could have my preference at this point in time, I would prefer to be facing something more like…CD7 or CD8 than the possibility of CD1.  (Just saying.)

I find myself fidgeting in my seat, a combined result of too much caffeine and hypersensitivity of all of my senses.

Bring it on – I’m (period) wise enough to know this hormonal/neurological storm will pass in time…just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.  Look out world!  Here I AM!

Where am I?

I’m on the cusp of something wonderful, something powerful, something ancient and awesome. I tremble with anticipation.

(Or, is it caffeine?)

Perhaps tomorrow morning the scale will show a drop of MORE than 3 lbs.

Onward and evermore, period wise.


We all know that PMS stands for PreMenstrual Syndrome.

(Or, Plain Mean Sometimes…Potty Mouth Screaming…Period Mood Swings…Pass Me the Shotgun…Perpetual Munching Spree…Puffy MidSection…Plainly Men Suck…Pimples May Surface…Potential Murder Suspect…)

My senior adult mom and I were watching TV together and an ad came on asking the question: “Do you struggle with PMS?”

Mom replied immediately. “I’ve never had PMS in my life!”

I looked at her in shock and disbelief.  After all, I spent the first 20 years of my life in her house.  I knew about her mood swings and I knew they were cyclical.

My reply?  “What the heck? What do you mean you’ve never had PMS in your life?  You’re joking…right?”

Memory after memory sprang to mind of her with PMS…scary….

Mom’s reply was: “No! I’m not kidding. I’ve never had PMS in my life – ever.  Your dad said numerous times that he could tell when my period was going to start because I turned mean a few days beforehand.  But, that was just him talking.  I wasn’t aware of any changes in how I acted or felt.  I do know that he got on my nerves more at some times than he did at others and I assumed HE was the one with the problem…not me.  Certainly NOT me!”

I laughed…out loud…loud and long.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“You are!” I replied. ‘You’ve never had PMS a day in your life?”

“NEVER!” She insisted and then went on, “PMS is all hype.  It’s an excuse for being yourself. It’s like when people drink a little too much alcohol and say and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily and they blame the alcohol. Women act up or act out of character and blame it on PMS saying ‘I can’t help it, I have PMS.’. In reality, they can help it, they just don’t want to help it. Maybe a change in hormones at that time of the month uninhibits them and allows the real ‘them’ to come out. Maybe they see it as a time to say what’s been on their mind all month long and set some things straight.”

She continued. “They simply don’t care.”

I stared at her as my mind recalled time after time after time of times when she said what was “on her mind” and “set things straight.”

“Simply don’t care, huh?” I asked.

“Yep,” was her reply.

“And, you’ve never had a moment of PMS in your whole life?” I quizzed again.

“Nope!” was her response. Then she continued. “I never blamed my actions or reactions on an acronym or on my hormones. I was who I was and I took responsibility for what I said.  It wasn’t PMS talking.  That was me. All month long, every day of the month…I was myself. I didn’t need to hide behind PMS.  I was comfortable saying what I thought and being who I was all the time. And, if those few days before my period started freed me a little to be even more myself…then so be it. I welcomed it!”

I silently contemplated my mother’s words. Hormonally speaking, I was in the more agreeable portion of my cycle.  There would be no argument…not from me. That’s not who I was that day.

That day I was in more of a contemplative mood….  This conversation happened several weeks ago – well before Christmas – and it’s still on my mind now.

Simply Don’t Care – is that what really happens to so many of us premenstrually? Do we really not care and use PMS as a cover for unleashing who we really are?

Hmmm…perhaps.  And, perhaps not.

I do know that during those few days when premenstrual, I can be a bear (no put down to bears intended) and lash out at those I love the most.  I can’t seem to help myself…stop myself… but the truth is it’s far easier to give in those feelings that seem/are so close to the surface, so eager to come up and out….

When I feel irritable inside…body and mind, I don’t mind spreading the irritability around.  And, when premenstrual, oh, yes…I’m willing (if not eager) to share my irritation with anyone who rubs up against me…or rubs me the wrong way.

And, at the time I feel like I’m being my usual self and all the world has gone crazy.  I feel more true to myself than at any other time.  Now…that’s a scary thought! 😉

Could I control myself? Yes. But, it would take effort and forethought.

Would I want to?

Heck no!

In fact, I wouldn’t even give control a thought.  Easier to react than to act, I would choose to unleash the beast.


I could tell those around me, “I’m uptight and need some alone/quiet time” and seek space of my own to find solace and enable my mind to calm and me to regain control of myself, my emotions, my actions…my tongue.

Finding peace in the chaos of SDC or PMS is not easy, but I believe it is possible.

PMS should serve as a reminder of the need for a Pro Menstruation Management System (PMMS).

Before my hormones can send me into PMS overdrive and I SDC, I’m going do all I can to be pro menstruation and manage my intake, uptake (stress/rest/food/drink/medication/vitamins/activities/etc) and outflow systematically throughout my cycle by using a PMMS.

What does a PMMS look like?

Check back in a few days.  That’s my next blog post!

Gia Allemand – Beauty and the Beast

Yesterday on the Dr. Phil Show, the mother of reality TV star Gia Allemand talked about her daughter’s tragic suicide.

Donna Micheletti — who was on the phone with the former “Bachelor” star when she hanged herself — described her final moments with her daughter to Dr. Phil, explaining Gia had a history of drastic mood swings around the time of her period.

Donna said, “At that point, with how she felt with her menstrual cycle, she could not see clearly … It was like night and day. It would come out of nowhere. All of a sudden, something would click in there and she would say ‘This isn’t right. He doesn’t love me.'”

Donna acknowledged that Gia had been upset for various reasons — including recent fights with her boyfriend and father — but believes the hormonal extremes are what ultimately drove Gia over the edge. TMZ

I watched the entire hour of Tragic Beauty: The Exclusive Story of a Bachelorette’s Suicide.

It broke my heart to know that Gia suffered horrible mood swings during her cycle and “that time of the month” was a tremendous burden for her to bear emotionally.

There are those who discount the effect her hormonal changes had on her and wish to blame her suicide on other things.  But, from one who experiences things similar to what Gia’s mother described…I know how difficult it can be to see clearly in that dark place once you enter it, and how confusing everything seems.  And, I know how difficult it is (at the time) to believe that in a day or so all will return to normal.

Were there other factors that led to Gia’s suicide?  Most likely, yes.

Did “that time of the month” play a role? Yes, I believe hormonal changes did play a large role in this.

And, I also know this is not a popular position to take.  Don’t believe me?  Just check other blogs online.

Menstrual taboos keep us silent.  It’s time we speak up and speak out.

If hormonal changes in your cycle bring about depressed feelings, especially those that lead to thoughts of suicide, get help. Talk to someone.  Share what you are experiencing. And, don’t stop talking until you find someone who can help you.

You are not alone.  Many others experience this every cycle.  Don’t let fear or embarrassment keep you from getting the help you need.  Break the menstrual taboos that keep you a silent prisoner.

If you experience drastic emotional swings during your cycle, be period wise – keep a CD (Cycle Day) journal.  Within that journal write down what you experience, how you feel, what you think.  Keep track of the changes you experience each day of your cycle.  Share it with your doctor.

Cycle Harmony and PMS

Jing, long time sufferer of PMS, founded Cycle Harmony as a source of information and support for women who experience PMS.

Cycleharmony.com provides online tools and information to help you each step of the way. It filters the noise, takes out the complexity and makes it extremely simple and practical. It helps you take PMS into your own hands and take steps to live a healthier and happier life.

It’s also a community where women suffering from PMS can share their stories, their frustrations, their feelings, and their remedies. A place where women can go to get perspective and insights, help, support and hope.

It’s a journey that each woman will take individually – and together – not only to find relief for PMS, fatigue, depression and mood swings, but also to discover and reclaim our true power as a woman.  Read more.

If you, or someone you love, struggle with PMS, take 5 and view Jing’s video, then look through her site.  She offers encouragement, community, and information.

Is PMS Bad for You?

A recent post by Alanna Nuñez for SHAPE.com asked and answered the question: Is PMS bad for you?

Cramping, cravings, and exhaustion tend to be expected by women before Aunt Flo’s visit, but more and more experts agree that these symptoms aren’t normal. In fact, some think that what passes for PMS may be a hint that something’s off in your body.

Life without PMS.  Is it possible?  For many women the answer is YES.

In her article, Alanna provides an overview of the menstrual cycle. She also talks about what’s normal and what’s not. And, she gives advice for getting back in balance.

I know, from personal experience, that dietary changes can make a drastic difference in the severity of PMS symptoms.

PMS a Problem? Iron May Help

If you are among the millions of women who struggle with PMS symptoms (or love someone who does), take a moment and read Annie Hauser’s article, posted yesterday in Everyday Health‘s Women’s Health section.

Her article, “Forget Midol: More Iron May Stop PMS, Study Says,” reports on the latest PMS information gathered by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology. (Read the Abstract of the report here.) She also quotes Joan Salge Blake, RD, a clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University who did not work on the study.

Excerpts follow.

Women who eat diets rich in iron are 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS, than women who consume lower amounts….

The study suggests that the link between iron intake and PMS may reflect iron’s role in the body’s production of serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood and emotions.

Researchers used self-reported data from about 3,000 women enrolled in the prospective Nurses’ Health Study II.

The women who consumed the most non-heme iron — the form found in plant foods and in iron supplements — had the lowest PMS risk. Interestingly, the level of iron associated with a lower risk of PMS was slightly higher than the current recommended daily amount — 20 mg, up from 18 mg.

Blake says that…the key to plant-based iron sources is to pair them with a vitamin C-rich food to help boost iron absorption. “If you’re eating a whole wheat pasta that’s enriched in iron, pair it with tomato sauce,” she suggests. “If you’re having cereal in the morning, have a citrus fruit to go with it.”

Because a high iron intake can come with health risks, women should always consult a doctor and a registered dietitian before starting iron supplements, Blake says.

High intake of zinc was also associated with a lower PMS risk in the study.

Women consuming the highest amount of potassium — found in bananas and potatoes — had a higher risk of a PMS diagnosis than the women who consumed the lowest amount of potassium.

To hear what The Doctors have to say about nutrition and PMS, view the video below, but keep in mind the statement above about potatoes.


For more on PMS, visit Women’s Health.

I invite you to share your own period wise PMS thoughts, remedies, advice and what works for you.