A Guy’s Guide To Understanding PMS

PMS is the subject of endless jokes by men. Honestly, they think it’s so hilarious to make fun of something they wouldn’t be able to survive once, let alone every month. Women and other menstruating people manage it every month while still going about our daily lives. We even deal with guys making fun of us and making us feel guilty for something we can’t control. This likely comes down to ignorance — after all, it’s hard to accept something you don’t understand. So, guys, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Our feelings change along with our bodies. Our breasts getting bigger and pre-period cramping isn’t all we go through. A lot of our PMS symptoms are emotional, as well. Mood swings are a real thing and to us, they’re just as bad, if not worse, than any physical symptom.
  2. PMS isn’t your period. PMS stands for pre-menstrual syndrome. Many men think PMS is the period itself, but it’s not. Nope, we just get to feel nuts and crappy for at least a week before the main event begins. Aren’t women so lucky? Oddly enough, many of us tend to feel a bit better once our periods actually start. Weird but true.
  3. We can’t control the hormones. Yes, birth control is a thing, but the side effects are often worse than anything that comes with PMS. While we’re PMSing, our hormone levels are going up and down as our bodies prep for pregnancy or periods. It’s not a pleasant time, and guys don’t make it any better when they’re jerks about it.
  4. Craving junk food is normal. As our hormones fluctuate, we get random cravings. Odds are, your food cravings have changed over time. We go through a change every month. So if your girlfriend wants ice cream at 5 a.m., don’t argue. Just give her the ice cream.
  5. It’s different for every woman. Men are so clueless about PMS because every woman is different. One might have horrible mood swings while another just seems depressed. One might crave chocolate while another loses her appetite. I’m sorry, guys, but there are no set symptoms for every single woman. You’ll just have to learn your own woman’s unique rhythms.
  6. Sometimes we burst into tears for no reason. I think this is one of the things guys really don’t get. A seemingly happy commercial could leave a woman bawling her eyes out when she’s PMSing. Why? Our hormones are jerks. They turn the world upside down. Expect crying or yelling or any other extreme. It just happens.
  7. We wear sweats because we’re bloated, not because we’re lazy. At least a week before our periods, we might start to bloat. It’s our body’s way of saying things are changing inside. It also makes us feel fat and uncomfortable, so we break out the sweats. For future reference, don’t make any plans that require us to dress up during this week.
  8. Men are more irritating during PMS. It’s not so much that we hate men, we just wish they could suffer, too. Plus, we’ve all dealt with guys who get pissy or make fun of us while we’re going through hell. Prove you’re a good guy and we’ll hate you a lot less.
  9. Sometimes we get really hornyYes, there is a bright spot in the mysterious land of PMS. Just as it’s starting up, we’re usually ultra-ready to get freaky. We’re also extra fertile. Our hormones are trying to get us to have sex so we can reproduce, so this is the one time your woman will probably want sex more than you.
  10. We feel tired even when we’ve done nothing. Seeing us laying in bed all day and complaining we’re tired might confuse you. If you knew how much was going on inside us, you’d understand. Our bodies are constantly changing, inside and out, during PMS. It’s draining. Add all the emotional fluctuations and you’d be exhausted, too.
  11. It lasts forever (or so it seems). PMS symptoms might actually start as early as a few weeks before the period begins. Yes, it’s wonderful feeling like you have no control for most of the month. This makes it seem like PMS lasts forever. Don’t feel bad – it feels the same way for us.
  12. It’s not something you can fix. We appreciate that you want to quickly fix us so we act normal. It’s one of the things guys get so confused over. You get a headache, so you take an aspirin to fix the problem. PMS isn’t something that has a quick fix. I know that makes it more mysterious. Just be understanding, even if you don’t completely understand what’s going on.
  13. Just because we’re used to it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Just because PMS is something we’ve dealt with since middle school, it doesn’t mean we’ve magically learned how to control it. Trust me, women control the majority of the symptoms and you never even notice them. It could be so much worse for you. We are used to it, but it still sucks.
  14. It affects every woman differently. PMS is actually a set of phases. Your woman might not go through every phase, but you’ll probably notice food cravings, mood swings, bloating, depression, horniness, and a few others. You’ll quickly figure out your own partner’s progression after several months.
Crystal Crowder is a freelance writer and blogger. She's a tech geek at heart, but loves telling it like it is when it comes to love, beauty and style. She's enjoys writing music, poetry and fiction and curling up with a great book. You can find her on Twitter @ccrowderwrites or check out her other writing on Medium.