PMS - Alternative Views

Alternative Views

Some medical professionals and other people believe that PMS might be a socially constructed disorder rather than a physical illness. The anthropologist Emily Martin argues that PMS is a cultural phenomenon that continues to grow in a positive feedback loop. Also, the studies on PMS will either tell women that PMS is detrimental to their work capabilities depending on whether the need for women in the work force is strong (historically during wartime when men were away) or if women are being relegated to home life (when men return from war and once again desire work). At the time that women were being forced back into the home after WWI, the symptoms of PMS and menstruation were considered more debilitating than during WWII, when it was not a “liability after all.” In general, wartime triggers studies that diminish the impacts of PMS in women's lives, whereas inter-wartime studies promote the idea of PMS being a large, monthly obstacle in women's lives.

In women with PMDD—which supporters of the medical model of PMS say is a severe form of PMS, and critics say is unrelated—studies have shown a correlation between self-reported emotional distress and levels of a serotonin precursor as measured by positron emission tomography (PET). PMDD also has a consistent treatment record with SSRIs, when compared with placebos. The decision to call PMDD an illness has been criticized as inappropriate medicalization.

Most supporters of PMS as a social construct believe PMDD and PMS to be unrelated issues: according to them, PMDD is a product of brain chemistry, and PMS is a product of a hypochondriatic culture. Most studies on PMS and PMDD rely solely on self-reporting. According to sociologist Carol Tavris, Western women are socially conditioned to expect PMS or to at least know of its existence, and they therefore report their symptoms accordingly.

Another view holds that PMS is too frequently or wrongly diagnosed in many cases. A variety of problems, such as chronic depression, infections, and outbursts of frustration can be mis-diagnosed as PMS if they happen to coincide with the premenstrual period. Tavris says that PMS is blamed as an explanation for rage or sadness.

The use of multiple SSRI's to treat PMS has caused some controversy. The makers of Prozac began marketing the generic form, fluoxetine, under the name Sarafem to treat PMS. This coincided with their loss of patent on Prozac, which has led to one suggestion that their motives are not completely benign. An oral contraceptive named drospirenone (Yaz) was approved to treat PMDD. The marketing of Yaz centers on this aspect of the drug.

Many of the following studying people have different views on the women with Premenstrual Syndrome. Edward Clarke wrote an influential book, Sex in Education (1873) saying that women should stay home because of their uncontrollable behaviors when they have Premenstrual Syndrome. Thomas Buckley mentions that in his article too, "a menstruating woman should isolate herself because this is the time when she is at the height of her powers. Thus, the time should not be wasted in mundane tasks and social distractions, nor should one's concentration be broken by concerns with the opposite sex." Michelle Harrison, after study the premenstrual women, said that "Women who are premenstrual often have a need for time alone, time to themselves, and yet few women actually have that time in their lives.

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