PMS, the Silent Relationship Killer
PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) is a chronic condition occurring in women caused by the fluctuating hormone levels during their monthly cycles. Women suffering with chronic PMS suffer physical and psychological symptoms commonly occurring in the 3 or 4 days prior to starting their period.
So that's the technical bit out the way, it was news to me, I just thought my wife was a complete and utter nutcase now and again. When I first met my wife 11 years ago everything was butterflies and rainbows for a very long time, her mood was always consistent and she was really laid back and carefree. After my son was born 4 years later I noticed things change, she was allot more grouchy and would snap at me over the slightest little thing. It felt like the smallest misunderstanding or disagreement would result in my wife completely falling apart, she would be in floods of tears shouting and screaming that she wanted me to leave and that she hated me and saying really hurtful things.Then later that evening or the next morning she would be fine and really apologetic about what had happened. This would continue for about a week or two and then everything would go back to normal for a few weeks before the arguments started again. At the time, and for years it felt like the outbursts were sporadic, call me naïve but I never associated my wife's breakdowns with her monthly cycles, as I already said I was beginning to think she was just a complete head case. For years I continued to persevere with my wife's mood swings concentrating on the times when things were good and when they were bad I would just sweep it under the carpet and pretend it never happened.
Another 4 years passed and despite these "sporadic episodes" our relationship continued and we decided to have another child. Our decision to have another baby had nothing to do with my wife's temperamental state although secretly I was hoping that maybe another baby would change things. Even after 4 years of emotional outbursts, blazing arguments over petty nothingness and my wife's regular breakdowns I still hadn't pieced the puzzle together. I just thought it was her, that for some reason she had changed from the care free, stable, fun loving girlfriend I first met, into a nagging, emotional, nut job. I also thought at times that she had fallen out of love with me and that she was actually unhappy in our relationship, but then directly after every episode she would shower me with love and apologies again and tell me how much she loved me and wanted to be with me. I was more often than not confused and I just couldn't figure out what the hell was going on.
And then....One day, both my wife and I's lives would change forever. After a particularly bad argument which resulted in my wife basically kicking me out the house I went to stay at my mothers house for the night. Up to now I had never confided in anyone about the issues we were going through on a "sporadic" basis in our relationship, but with my mum quizzing me as to why I was staying over at such short notice (something I had never done before) I decided to confide. I told my mum all about the "sporadic" episodes and that at that moment I felt like my relationship was falling apart. My Mother just sat and listened to me getting everything of my chest and when I had finished she simply said
"Son, this sounds all too familiar"
I looked at my mother bemused, "I've never spoken to you about this before" I stated with a quizzical tone. My mother then went on to explain that she had been through a similar situation herself and that she possibly knew what was happening to my wife. She asked me if I was sure these episodes my wife was having were indeed "Sporadic" as I thought they were. I was almost sure that they were, but now the seed had been planted and I began to ponder. I started to think back over the timings between each of the episodes that had taken place, I knew they were spaced out because things weren't always bad and the more I thought about it the more I started to realise that maybe there might be some sort of pattern to my wife's episodes.
That night my mother explained to me all about PMS and how it had affected her throughout the years, she told me that she too had confided in a friend years back and that that friend had introduced my mother to the knowledge that she was now sharing with me.
Opening up about my issues quite possibly saved my marriage, the simple act of confiding in someone rather than suffering silently opened up a torrent of knowledge and I suddenly felt like a boulder had been lifted of my shoulders. I no longer felt like my wife was just simply a nut case, but that there was possibly another explanation for my wife's outbursts.
Over the next few months I subtly raised the subject of PMS with my wife and managed to get her engaged and open to the fact that it might be her hormonal imbalances that were causing her outbursts and our regular falling outs. I pretended I had stumbled across some complimentary therapies whilst researching on the internet, my wife would have been livid if she knew I had discussed it with my mother, we tracked her cycles and we both realised that it was in fact her hormone cycles that were affecting her moods so badly.
After 3 months of taking Starflower oil and making small changes to her diet my wife's psychological symptoms started to dissipate. She was happier and less grumpy during her cycles and since then our arguments were few and far between and when we did argue they were quickly resolved as my wife was now more grounded and less irrational. She even noted that her skin had improved, a common side effect of Starflower oil.
- PMS generally occurs in women during the child bearing years
- 30% of all women in the UK suffer moderate to severe symptoms
- 5-8% of women suffer severe symptoms (800,000 women in the UK)
- There is no cure for PMS except Hysterectomy
The good news is that severe PMS is treatable, there are many herbal and complimentary therapies available over the counter such as Starflower oil and Evening Primrose as well as medical treatments such as ovulation suppression and SSRis.
The first step is recognising that you or someone you know might be suffering from PMS. Please don't suffer in silence. If you suspect you or someone you know might be suffering from moderate to severe PMS please reach out to someone, go and see your GP, there is help out there.