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Heather’s PMS Low Back Pain & Moodiness: In Her Words*
by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
Heather, not her real name, took part in our PMS study. These are excerpts from an actual transcript of her entry interview, before the study. It was a chance for her, and our other study participants, to explain how their premenstrual symptoms affect their life.
Heather is 45 years old and is a human resources manager.
Her Worst Symptom: PMS Low Back Pain
Her PMS Symptoms: Moodiness, Irritability, Crankiness, Swelling, Acne, Tired, Emotional, Sore Breasts.
What She Says About How PMS Affects Her Life: "When I’m PMSing, I absolutely avoid making major decisions. I’ll yell at my children for something small, which isn’t like me, and then afterwards I’ll feel guilty. My relationship is a little more tense. It’s obvious to everyone around me."
What Are You Like When You Don’t Have PMS? "When I don’t have PMS, I am normal, so to speak. I’m not as grumpy; I tend to be more rational; there’s a lot more harmony in my home."
In Her Words: Heather talks about PMS: "When I have PMS, my children get all upset because I’m upset. After I’ve yelled at them for something small, like leaving the dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher—something so simple—then I feel guilty. Afterwards I say to myself, “So they made a mistake, big deal.” Instead of talking about it, I instantly yell at them, “You know the rules ... blah, blah, blah,” and it is just something that could be avoided.
"PMS affects my family—they want to stay away from me. They’ll make remarks like "Oh gosh, Mom, is it that time again?" My PMS is obvious to everyone around me. During PMS, my marriage is a little more tense. He’ll remark, "Is it that time for you? You must be on your period because you’re acting really irrational." Everybody comments because they know a different side of me comes out.
"PMS can affect my daily life in many ways. I am a manager, and I have to make a lot of really tough decisions. When I’m PMSing, I absolutely avoid making major decisions because I know that I may not be making a rational decision. It’s actually something I preach to my girls: I tell them, "If it’s that time of the month for you, do not make any serious decisions in your life until you feel back to normal." For instance, if a customer yells at me, ordinarily I would have the backbone to take it and not let it affect me. But if it’s that time of the month, then I can tear up, and with my job you absolutely don’t cry. But when I’m PMSing, it’s there and it’ll come on quick."
"I have continuous lower back pains just before and during that time, along with crankiness, moodiness, swelling, and bloating. I get skin breakouts. It’s 10 days of misery.
"PMS makes me cranky, tired, moody, and emotional. I try to keep control of things, knowing that it’s coming, because I have other symptoms, like lower back aches or sore breasts, things like that, so I know it’s about to come. So I try to keep my emotions under control, but it’s still probably obvious to most of the people around me ... it actually affects my life."
"When I’m not experiencing PMS, I am normal, so to speak. I’m not as grumpy; I tend to be more rational; there’s a lot more harmony in my home."
Heather is a highly competent woman with a lot of responsibility, and she does her best to keep herself and her symptoms under control, and yet she still admits that her family and others know when she’s experiencing premenstrual symptoms. What struck me about her description isn’t so much the severity of her symptoms, or any specific PMS or PMDD symptom she experiences, but how they affect her life and her relationships. This is the most important aspect of PMS and PMDD: it’s how it actually affects your life, your work, and your family.
It’s unfortunate that a condition that really is preventable and treatable with a natural approach causes so much misunderstanding and so many problems. I’ve referred to this before as the PMS ripple effect. You may suffer the most from premenstrual symptoms, but PMDD and PMS can affect families, work performance, and other factors that are crucial to life satisfaction. This is one reason why it is so frustrating when people, including doctors and loved ones, minimize the importance of premenstrual symptoms. PMS and PMDD are not minor inconveniences: they have an effect on women’s lives but also on the lives of others and even on productivity in the workplace.
So, not only are PMDD and PMS real conditions with real effects, they are completely underappreciated for the way they affect areas of life that many wouldn’t expect. We here at PMS Comfort think we have an excellent natural solution that can help the majority of women who struggle with premenstrual suffering, so stories like Heather’s really speak to us.
*"In Her Words" come from interview transcripts of those participating at the beginning of the PMS study. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who report PMS symptoms. Some In Her Words have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received is displayed, when it seemed lengthy or not the whole In Her Words seemed relevant for site viewers. PMS Comfort changed the names and any personally identifiable information to ensure confidentiality of the participant.
PMS Comfort is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted to our site. PMS Comfort is not a forum for In Her Words; however, it provides In Her Words as a means for online users to learn the experiences of those participating at the beginning of the PMS study. To prevent against abuse, all In Her Words appear after they have been reviewed by PMS Comfort.
Additionally, these In Her Words are not intended to make claims that PMS Comfort products can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information and the contents contained on this Web site has not been evaluated by the FDA.