PMS gets in the way of life. The symptoms are bad enough on their own, but when they affect others—friends, coworkers, family, and significant others—PMS can have a ripple effect that reverberates throughout work, family, and social life.
This makes it especially unfortunate when doctors, the media, and even family and friends minimize PMS and its symptoms. What woman with PMS symptoms hasn’t been told to “buck up,” or “it’s all in your imagination,” or “you just have to learn to live with it”?
This attitude has made the PMS ripple effect the butt of jokes and a source of eyeball-rolling, rather than receiving the serious attention it deserves. As much as our focus on this site is on the relief of PMS symptoms, and on helping women overcome PMS so they can get back to living their lives, it’s worth taking a moment to look at how PMS effects others as well.
The problem in discussing this is that we don’t want to give more ammunition to those who will use any reason to attack the very existence of PMS, and to question the legitimacy of the suffering experienced by women with PMS. We have no sympathy for that point of view. But it is important to recognize that PMS has a financial and morale cost to employers and the health care system. While its main effect is on the women who suffer from PMS, its ripple effect exists and interferes with work and home productivity, work morale, relationships, and it does cost money.
Several studies back this up. One, from 2003, found that PMS negatively impacted women’s work productivity and work attendance, their ability to pursue hobbies and interests, and that women with PMS had more doctor’s visits and health care costs. Another study, from 2008, found that 25% of women have such severe PMS that it interferes with work, family, and social life! A 2009 paper reached similar conclusions: PMS affects not only the women with the condition, but also their employers and insurers: women with PMS have more health care visits, higher health care costs, are less productive while at work, and miss more workdays than women without PMS, resulting in a decreased quality of life.
Our point is, a decreased quality of life for a woman with PMS means a decreased quality of life for her co-workers, her family, her friends, and her significant others. The PMS ripple effect!
Even though PMS has now been proven to decrease productivity at work, increase work absenteeism, increase health care visits so that employers lose a tremendous amount of money to PMS—still, none that we know of provide any support, counseling, or awareness programs.
The most direct effects of PMS are on the woman who suffers, and this suffering interferes with living and enjoying life. But the indirect effects at work, at home, and in relationships are both significant and costly. We believe PMS and its impact on everyone it touches is under-recognized, and that effective natural treatment can make a huge impact on women’s lives, as well as on the lives of those who experience PMS’s ripple effect.