The Mayo Clinic estimates 75 percent of menstruating women experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome), many of who experience Emotional PMS, a subset of psychological symptoms including anxiety, stress, irritability and mood swings in the weeks or days leading up to their period.
While society has been aware of Emotional PMS in some form for centuries, a new feminist movement highlights the astoundingly little resources that have been invested toward scientific inquiry of the causes and potential treatments of such a widespread condition.
From an early age as she grew up in Carmel Valley, Alice Cash developed a love for theater, a passion that evolved into a career as a stage director in New York City. The Canyon Crest Academy graduate also became fascinated with the culture and people of Haiti, leading her to travel there and involve Haitian children in theater. Now 28, Cash focuses on a much larger sector of the population: women and, specifically, their experiences with the often socially taboo subject of menstruation.
“He might as well have given me a lollipop and a sticker.” The doctor looked at me, blinked, then started scribbling on a prescription pad, muttering, ‘Without exploring hormonal solutions, this is your best bet. You can get it anywhere.’ By the time the prescription was in my hand, he was already on his way out the door. It read, ‘500 mg Ibuprofen — as needed, water, and rest.’ And then at the bottom, a smiley face and ‘Hope you feel better soon.’
This was the third doctor I had visited for help with troubling pangs of anxiety and sudden, uncontrollable outbursts of tears and rage. My emotions went haywire in response to things that never bothered me before, and it was turning my life upside down.
Why doctors don’t know how PMS works and the science of what to do about it
This was the third doctor I had visited for help with troubling pangs of anxiety and sudden, uncontrollable outbursts of tears and rage. My emotions went haywire in response to things that never bothered me before, and it was turning my life upside down. Thousands of doctors like mine continue to receive millions of patients reporting of a sharp and sudden increase in some combination of anxiety, sadness, anger, uncontrollable mood swings and irritability that make normal life impossible.