The myth of premenstrual moodiness

From PMS and the Wandering Womb in The Atlantic:

“The idea that any emotionality in women can be firstly attributed to their reproductive function — we’re skeptical about that,” Dr. Sarah Romans told me, skeptical said with audible restraint.

She and eight other researchers at the medical school at the University of Toronto published a review last week in the journal Gender Medicine that looked at all of the clinical research they could find to date on PMS with prospective data. Their conclusion was that the articles, in aggregate, “failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome.”

Romans isn’t saying that the mood symptoms we attribute to PMS aren’t real and common. But she is saying that those symptoms are culturally over-attributed to the menstrual cycle, to the detriment of the medical community and those experiencing them — and as a broader issue of gender equality.

3 thoughts on “The myth of premenstrual moodiness

  1. For people interested in this, you could also check out J.T. Richardson’s “Premenstrual Syndrome: A Brief History” (here). The basic idea is the same, but it traces the rise and spread of the concept of PMS.

  2. Carol Tavris’s provides really interesting data on this in The Mismeasure of Women too.

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