Monday 31 August 2009

Women's Problems - PMT

How many women with PMT does it take to change a light bulb?

The answer is 2.


BECAUSE IT DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a dangerous post. I am balancing precariously on that fine line between providing an educational post for guys and at the same time incurring the wrath of the fairer sex.

As you may have gathered, I am going to be discussing PMT (or premenstrual tension) or PMS (premenstrual stress/syndrome).

Being a guy, I’ve never really understood what goes on in a woman’s mind. Moreover, if I did manage to understand what was going on in a woman’s mind, everything I had learned would be cast aside during that dreaded time when PMT takes over.

First of all, let me give you an overview of what PMT is. Of course, I am addressing these words to guys because women know exactly what it is.

PMT is a term that scientists have conjured up to cover an affliction that strikes some women approximately a week before their monthly period. My quest to understand women more has taught me that hormones play a huge part in unravelling the puzzle that is the female psyche. Under normal circumstances, these hormones are balanced and women behave in the fabulous way that I have come to love. However, when PMT strikes, it is a bit like throwing something into that hormone pool. For some women, it is as if a mischievous imp has plopped a pebble into that pool causing ripples that have a few unpleasant physical effects such as cravings and irritability.

In the worst cases, however, the mischievous imp becomes a demon who hurls a bloody great boulder into the mix causing a tsunami of hormonal imbalance which turns the poor victim into a raging monster.

I’ve tried discussing this with Mrs PM on two occasions. The first time, she wasn’t suffering from PMT and she openly told me how she felt.

“Sometimes it’s fine and, although I’m a little edgy I’m OK. I get a slight headache, I’m tired and I fell hungry a lot. Other times I feel a little emotional and weepy, but I’m usually fine.”

The second time, she was well into the PMT period.

“How are you feeling?” I asked with a smile.

“HOW DO YOU THINK I’M FEELING?” she snapped.

I tried to pacify her by saying:

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to enquire. I’m thinking of writing a blog post about PMT …”

“What do YOU know about PMT? YOU’VE never suffered from it. YOU’RE A BLOKE! You don’t know what it’s LIKE!” she yelled.

“I, er, I just …” I stammered.

“You just what, exactly?” she retorted.

I decided not to probe further.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” I asked trying to change the subject.

She simply glared at me. I wandered into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Before I knew it, she was in there with me, sharpening a knife.

“Do you know the worst thing about PMT?” she continued, growling like a hungry lioness. “Men just don’t understand it. Men seem to think that every day is the same and it is. But for WOMEN it is a nightmare. Once a bloody month I suffer – and I mean SUFFER! I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I ache; I’m tired. And I’m hungry. I crave chocolate and sweets. And I put on weight because of chocolate and the bloating. I FEEL LIKE A WHALE! I LOOK LIKE A WHALE! AND I JUST WANT TO KILL EVERYBODY! LOOK AT ME! I’M A FAT, BLOATED, BEACHED WHALE!”

She emphasised here points by shaking the knife.

“And you’re irritable, I guess,” I squeaked.


I stood there making tea while she ranted about how awful it is to be a woman. If I had been a braver man I would have rushed to my desk to get a notebook and written it all down ready for this post. Sadly, I am an utter coward and I tried my best to appear sympathetic, nodding and agreeing, keeping one eye on the knife and subconsciously covering my groin.

Since that time, I’ve tried to understand this affliction. I’ve also tried to spot the exact time that Mrs PM succumbs to PMT.

The other week I was out shopping with her and I noticed that her normal levels of tolerance had plummeted. I did a brave thing:

“Is your time of the month?” I asked.

Mrs PM surprised me – or maybe I shocked her hormones into a stunned silence by recognising the fact that they were totally volatile.

“Yes – how did you know?” she said (with the smallest hint of a smile).

The signs were there for all to see. She snapped at me whenever I disagreed with her; she yelled at me when I missed a parking space; she wasn’t shopping for clothes “because she felt a bit bloated”; she snarled at a cashier.

For the rest of the trip, her tolerance levels were in the danger zone. Being the faithful companion, I tried to make her relax as much as possible. I treated her to a coffee and cake and every time she snapped at me, I put my arm around here, kissed her gently on the cheek and whispered “hormones”.

And it (sort of) worked. The one time it didn’t was when she said “If you say the word “hormones” to me once more I will throw you through that window.”

Actually, that last threat is untrue although she did say “Please stop saying “hormones” to me.” I was overjoyed that she had used the word “please” and not threatened an act of mindless violence.”

So guys, I hope you are more aware of what happens to some women during PMT. And ladies, apparently there are a few ways to ease the symptoms. I’ve done a little research and discovered that you can reduce PMT with the following guidelines:

(1) Avoid stressful situations
(2) Eat less salt, which helps reduce water retention
(3) Try not to eat chocolate or sugary food
(4) Don’t drink alcohol (or at least cut down)
(5) Avoid caffeine – caffeine makes me jittery so I can imagine the effect it has on an irritable woman.
(6) Take plenty of warm baths and relax.

To be honest, I’m not always precise when guessing when PMT hits Mrs PM but I am getting there. I’m tempted to mark the days on my calendar; the only problem is that if she sees what I’ve written (“It’s Monster Time”) her lack of tolerance may make her hormones turn her into the female equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. I think I’ll cast that idea into the rubbish bin (even though “Monster Time” is rather apt).

By the way, my dear sweet Mrs PM. If you are reading this post and it is PMT time then I’ve gone away for a couple of weeks and taken the cats with me. I’m suffering from another form of PMT - "Plastic Mancunian Terror”.

And if you are reading this and you are another woman suffering from PMT, I don’t live in Manchester and my name is not Dave. I do in fact live alone in Siberia in a place that cannot be reached by humans; so travelling to Manchester with a pick axe, to teach me exactly what PMT is, will be a pointless exercise.


Just me said...

Oh I loved that post! I do feel so bad for men dealing with us sometimes. We are a mystery even to ourselves.

I'll share a secret, if Mrs PM were to take extra calcium pills in addition to her normal vitamins it gets rid of the nasty PMT monster all together. Seems to vary how many calcium pills one has to take but once you figure it out it nixs the problem. Viola!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JM,

Well I'm so pleased that women are a mystery to themselves.

I'll pass on your advice to Mrs PM.

That may help me too.




Kath Lockett said...

Ah yes, but be very, very careful, Plasman, if you say, "Is it your time of the month?" and you're wrong. Then you will get not only a lecture along the lines of "HOW DARE YOU ASSUME THAT I'M GRUMPY WITH YOU BECAUSE OF MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE, YOU INSUFFERABLE ARSEHOLE...." etc and then she'll remove your testicles not with a freshly-sharpened kitchen knife but the old-fashioned eggbeater, just so the pain lasts a bit longer....

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

There are tears in my eyes just thinking about that one.

I'll certainly think twice about it in future.




Buzzing J said...

Really? "Hormones" you whispered?

Brave man!

As usual I left this post a much, much wiser man. Thank you.


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi BJ,

Yes, I really did whisper that. Sadly she did pull me up about it. I, too, am a wiser man, having read Kath's comment - I will be very careful about what I say when Mrs PM is grumpy.





ashleigh said...

Excellent :)

Brought a smile to my day!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Ashleigh,

Glad to oblige.




River said...

I lived through my child-bearing years knowing nothing about PMT. I didn't have it, didn't even know it existed. Obviously not all women get it. Only once my youngest was in school and I returned to work did I find out about this problem. I didn't understand it at all. Until my oldest daughter was about 17. Then I saw it in her. I know a few women who have mood swings etc, mostly they just "get on with it", but I also know a few who really play on it (whether they are suffering or not) and their families suffer along with them. I'm sorry for those who do really have troubles, but I can't offer any helpful hints or solutions.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi RIver,

Thanks for the informative comment. mrs PM, my good lady, does suffer but not as bad as some and she is aware of her suffering; it is more physical symptoms like bloating etc. that make her feel down and with that comes the irritability. I just try to behave myself and it usually works.




Mrs PM said...

Erm ... no chococlate, no alcohol!! That's enough to set the hormones raging! Now where's that egg beater?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Like I said, my sweet,

I've gone away with the cats (catching Poppy was a chore; there's some wine in the fridge and I'll bring back some chocolate.


Dave x

By the way, I've taken the egg beater with me.