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Is PMS a myth?


Abdominal pains overcrew/iStock/Thinkstock
Abdominal pains overcrew/iStock/Thinkstock

It might seem like a preposterous question, but many researchers wonder how much of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is physical fact versus culturally constructed fiction. Cristen and Caroline chart the medical history of PMS and how moodiness most commonly associated with might not be a byproduct of menstruation.

Episode sources:

"Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)." Mayo Clinic. Jan. 18, 2012. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20020003

"PMS and the Wandering Womb." James Hamblin. The Atlantic. Oct. 16, 2012. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/pms-and-the-wandering-womb/263398/

"Is PMS Overblown? That's What Research Shows." Elizabeth Kissling. Ms. Magazine. Oct. 23, 2012. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2012/10/23/is-pms-overblown-thats-what-research-shows/

"Is PMDD Real?" Jennifer Daw. American Psychological Association. October 2002. http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct02/pmdd.aspx

"Should Severe Menstrual Symptoms Be a Mental Disorder?" Amy Standen. NPR. Oct. 21, 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/22/223805027/should-disabling-premenstrual-symptoms-be-a-mental-disorder

Academic insights:

"Mood and the Menstrual Cycle." A Review of Prospective Data." S. Roman, R. Clarkson, G. Einstein, M. Petrovic and D. Stewart. Gender Medicine. October 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23036262

"Rethinking the Label: Who Benefits from the PMS Construct?" M. Gurevich. Women & Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8585226

"The Social Construction of Premenstrual Syndrome." Mari Rodin. Social Science Medicine. 1992. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.hszg.de%2F~wirsing%2FASH%2520Sozialmedizin09%2FABPapersPDF%2FBRodinPremenstrualSyndrome%2520Kopie.pdf&ei=TvM2VPa_G7DmiwL854HwBQ&usg=AFQjCNHJA1d3XcbIk3WWvNjuW_cnl5-rsg&bvm=bv.76943099,d.cGE&cad=rja

"The Monthly Malady: A History of Premenstrual Suffering." Michael Stolberg. Medical History. 2000. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1044286/pdf/medhist00014-0007.pdf

"Women and the Ownership of PMS: The Structuring of a Psychiatric Disorder." Anne E. Figert. 2007. http://books.google.com/books?id=9zqH4s0ceUAC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=cultural+history+of+pms&source=bl&ots=rZihGU_yPw&sig=4kIXIDPdbXNHCWgD-LbS5k05dzw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TvM2VPa_G7DmiwL854HwBQ&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=cultural%20history%20of%20pms&f=false

"Were there evolutionary advantages to premenstrual syndrome?" Michael R. Gillings. Evolutionary Applications. Aug. 11, 2014. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12190/full

Topics in this Podcast: history, menstruation, health, best of 2014 health