The S in PMS Shouldn’t Stand for ‘Suicide.’ September 17 2013

Last month reality star, Gia Allemand, took her own life. There really are no words for the sympathy I feel for her family and friends. When I read that her mother told Dr. Phil she believes her daughter’s desperation was due in part to Pre-menstrual Syndrome, I didn’t know what to think. Although I can’t speak to Gia’s medical or psychological history, it certainly seems like a possible contributor given what I know about the power of hormones on our mental and emotional state. What struck me most, was that I haven’t heard much discussion about it. I shouldn’t be surprised. When was the last time you heard the word “menstruation” in any media story? Can you imagine the cast of Fox & Friends talking about periods? ha.

                                      Gia's mom on Dr. Phil


We’ve been told menstruation is embarrassing and gross for so long, that we’ve accepted as a society that it’s taboo. So the reality is that most girls and women go through their lives thinking this biological cycle, central to being female, is shameful. I’m not suggesting that if we don’t start blabbing about our periods on CNN women will be committing suicide in droves. But I am saying that some basic knowledge can greatly improve many aspects of our lives (for both women and the men around them).

So let’s decide to undo the taboo. Here are a few things everyone should know about PMS:

1. PMS or PPMD? There is much debate about how prevalent PMS is (I’ve seen anywhere from 40 – 85% of women), but the severe condition (of which Gia possibly suffered) is actually known as PPMD and affects only 2-10% of women. If you’re not sure, check out symptoms here.

2. You’re not a ‘bitch’. What most women experience in Week 4 is a natural mood and energy dip resulting from all 3 hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) being at their lowest and your body wants to be ‘quiet.’

3. There are things you can do. You can minimize the ‘negative’ effects and take advantage of the benefits (yes there are benefits!) of this low in hormones with diet, supplements and listening to your body.

4. Try a little PMA. Studies show mental attitude about menstruation can affect physical symptoms, so having a Positive Menstrual Attitude can actually lessen PMS.

The menstrual cycle is nothing short of amazing. It has the power to control our mood, energy and brain clarity. Understanding it allows you to embrace it, instead of working against it.