Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How is that better?

A metastudy asserts that PMS doesn't affect women's mood:
Researchers working under the direction of Dr. Sarah Romans of the University of Otago in New Zealand asserted that the correlation between an impending menstrual cycle and symptoms such as mood swings is far more tenuous than previously stated, according to Time Health & Family.

“The human menstrual cycle … has historically been the focus of myth and misinformation, leading to ideas that constrain women’s activities,” authors of the study wrote. “We wished to examine one pervasive idea, that the [menstrual cycle] is a cause of negative mood, by studying the scientific literature as a whole. We briefly reviewed the history of the idea of premenstrual syndrome and undertook a systematic review of quality studies.”

In short, 85 percent of the studies did not observe what is classically known as PMS, and just over half off the studies found menstruation and mood to be related at all.... “Taken together, these studies failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome in the general population,” the study concluded, according to its abstract summary in Gender Medicine. “This puzzlingly widespread belief needs challenging, as it perpetuates negative concepts linking female reproduction with negative emotionality.”
So, what is everyone supposed to conclude, that women behave like irritable grizzly bears whose cubs have been stolen simply because they get off on it?  I understand that Ms Romans would like to unconstrain women's activities, which is a reasonable goal, but this would appear to be a ludicrously counterproductive means of going about it.  I mean, surely a scientist is capable of understanding that failing to find evidence of the explanatory cause does not eliminate the observed behavior.

Given the expressed motivations of the researchers, color me very dubious on this one.  Especially since a relationship found in over half the studies would tend to be evidence in support of the existence of such a relationship.

55 comments:

SarahsDaughter said...

I read that this morning and wondered if they have a different explanation for the moods my daughter and I have that can be tracked on a calendar with precision.

Scott said...

@SD
They'll blame it on something like stereotype threat making white men the culprits. Women's moods only change because white men think their moods are going to change and it's all because of sexism. We'll clearly need some sort of government funding to solve this.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe a word of this gentlemen. As a woman three days out from her mense I can swear to you PMS is very real. Now if I could only get my hands on Ms.Roman I would feel so much better.

Daniel said...

...but a can of caffeine will kill you.

Okay. Thanks, science!

ajw308 said...

And scientific results are never massaged to support an agenda. Never!

FNG said...

So I guess we can substitute "temporarily bat-sh*t crazy syndrome" for PMS. Science FTW!

Stickwick said...

When I was a young girl taking sex ed in junior high, I was told about a bad, dark, unscientific time decades ago when women were collectively frustrated because their male physicians insisted that these weird pre-menstrual symptoms were all in their heads, but now in this enlightened age science has discovered something called PMS, and it's real. A bit ironic that it's now a female scientist suggesting PMS is a crock.

taterearl said...

So we can assume they are horny all the time instead of that one week window.

(Seeing the glass half full)

Anonymous said...

I call BS on this one. I have a sister and I could tell from the mood she was in if she was having her period or not. I once made the mistake on calling her out on it when I was a teenager. Not the smartest thing I ever did...

B said...

To me, the jury is still out on this one. I'm guessing most girls have it for real, but some just use it as an excuse act like raging grizzlies. Also with pregnant women; do they really crave pickles or do they just want beta reassurance that their husband will drop everything to run to the grocery store in times of need (ie make a good father)?

Men have a hormonal cycle as well. We just don't know when it starts or stops. And since we don't know, we can't blame our moods on anything (obviously we don't get pms though). So my guess is pms is real for all or most girls, but can be and will be used by some girls to make excuses for illogical and/or disproportionate behavior. Solipsism would suggest that some women take menstruation personally.

Cryan Ryan said...

I remember my first experience with PMS, back in about 1966. Mom had sent me out to the burn barrel with a garbage bag from the restoom, which contained several bloody tampons wrapped in kleenex.

I carelessly spilled several of them on the ground.

She was watching from the kitchen window and let out a beller like a gut shot bear - and out she came. She slapped me in the face and swore at me and was crying and really having a meltdown.

Later my Dad took me aside and 'splained how women have this time of the month thing....

The knowledge came in handy years later when I married a woman who came at me with a butcher knife, slapped my dinner plate onto the floor, and had meltdowns once a month...

head i win, said...

men and women are the same except for their reproductive organs, except when the attitude hurts women and patriarchy can be blamed

another instance regarding heart attacks

Stickwick said...

The knowledge came in handy years later when I married a woman who came at me with a butcher knife, slapped my dinner plate onto the floor, and had meltdowns once a month...

Sheesh, that's rather over-the-top. Either your wife should have had her hormones checked or she was excusing herself to act like a nutcase once a month.

As for your mother's reaction, all I can tell you is I'd be humiliated beyond words if the same thing had happened to me. For a lot of women -- at least those from generations before women became so crass and vulgar -- the monthly ordeal is very private and a source of embarrassment. To have evidence of it all over the place in front of a male member of the family would be a nightmare.

Feh said...

@ Ryan,

Geez your dad should have told her to get herself under control and take responsibility for her actions.

"Woman, if your tampons are so damn embarrassing, how about YOU dispose of them yourself?"

taterearl said...

I think meltdowns like that once a month are a little more than her hormones going wild.

I'm sure men couldn't get away with trying to life their lives based on what testosterone does to our body.

Res Ipsa said...

"failing to find evidence of the explanatory cause does not eliminate the observed behavior."

The observed behavior may be that some chicks are just crazy. That or its as good of an excuse as any to act out and see if the men in their life put up with it.

SarahsDaughter said...

"Either your wife should have had her hormones checked or she was excusing herself to act like a nutcase once a month." - Stickwick

While I can track, with precision, the days my mood will be off (I get the added ovulation mood swings as well as pms), I am still solely responsible for them. Several things work for me; prayer, exercise, and supplements like primrose, black cohosh and soy (bitch pills).

My mood is susceptible to anything that messes with my hormone levels. My doctor gave me Clomid to see if that would help me get pregnant again. That was a mistake. Even if it made me ovulate, my husband wanted nothing to do with me.

I've said many times to my husband that I wonder what it's like to wake up in the same mood everyday. It is good, though, for women to understand that static mood that healthy men have so they can recognize their own ups and downs, adjust accordingly to stabilize the moods, or excuse themselves from being around people.

Anonymous said...

"Don't believe a word of this gentlemen. As a woman three days out from her mense I can swear to you PMS is very real. Now if I could only get my hands on Ms.Roman I would feel so much better."

Haha. Who says women aren`t funny:)

Stingray said...

I am still solely responsible for them.

Yep. It can be hard, too. During my pregnancies and always a couple of months a year, fluctuations would be worse that normal for me. I could feel my mood growing foul so I would warn my husband, "I'm sorry. I'm hormonal. I am not angry at you and I apologize now if I snap at you. I am going to go over here by myself for a while because I am trying hard to not take this out on you."

He always understood and always left me alone. And just saying it seemed to take a load off and made it easier for me to speak to him in a civilized manner.

FNG said...

Also, this just in: water no longer wet.

Angel said...

Here is a little story to explain this.

A local charity was advertising for some things they needed. We went by to drop off and this "person" who was the "Husband" of the women running the charity (I had never met them before) was unloading people's donations.

The "Husband" was dressed like a man, but for some reason was unable to push a small dresser that had been donated for more then a few feet at a time. My Husband (an actual, biological man) walked up and offered to help. He was told "No Thanks!" rudely and then the "person" attempted to pick up the dresser and dropped it on themselves. My Husband then picked it up, balanced it on his shoulder and walked up two flights of stairs with it while the "Husband" sobbed on the sidewalk.

Acting like, dressing like and calling yourself something..taking hormones and steroids will not make you a biological man.

And this lunatic scientist is pissing in the wind like her co-patriot lesbian who was demanding that she been given the ability to father children.

Women have a menstrual cycle with actual biological responses and systems to it. Get over it.

So sick of this bullshit.

And yes, I am due for mine any minute and would like very much to punch this chick in the head.

Now where the hell is my chocolate!
Angel

Philalethes said...

Stickwick said...

For a lot of women -- at least those from generations before women became so crass and vulgar -- the monthly ordeal is very private and a source of embarrassment.

SarahsDaughter said...

... or excuse themselves from being around people.

Stingray said...

"I am going to go over here by myself for a while because I am trying hard to not take this out on you." He always understood and always left me alone. And just saying it seemed to take a load off and made it easier for me to speak to him in a civilized manner.

In traditional cultures women were commonly given time out and apart for this, ah, period. But that, of course, was just another example of patriarchal oppression.

Spacebunny said...

Well, because all women experience it differently (and some not all) then it simply must not exist. Right?

Now, for you guys out there, this might help you understand those women who are trying (perhaps in vain, but still trying) to control themselves during this time. If you've ever done drugs or been really drunk and your friends are talking you into doing something stupid, a small part of your brain is telling you not to do it, but that drunk part is say "that is an AWESOME idea, let's do it!" and sometimes the drunk part wins out. Welcome to the hormone riddled mind of woman PMSing. Some part of us knows we are being a bitch (sometimes not until after the fact unfortunately - sorry guys), and is telling us we are acting irrationally and bitchy, but the hormone riddled part is literally screaming at that part to "STFU, we are COMPLETELY justified and screaming like a banshee because you forgot to X"

Res Ipsa said...

"Now where the hell is my chocolate!"


I think that line settles the whole debate.

Cail Corishev said...

I could feel my mood growing foul so I would warn my husband, [....] He always understood and always left me alone.

It's too bad more women don't have the sense to do this. I've pleaded with women, "Just tell me you're in a bad mood or pissed about something, and I'll handle it. It's really no big deal." Nope. Never found one that could do that more than rarely.

I realize part of the syndrome is that you're not rational about it once it starts, but I don't think women realize how far it would go if they even said, "Hey, in case you weren't counting, I might be hard to deal with the next few days. Sorry in advance; I'll make it up to you next week." Most guys would be too busy looking forward to the reward to complain about the interim.

Heh said...

@Cail,

I want my reward up front, not next week. =)

Stingray said...

Spacebunny,

Excellent description.

Desert Cat said...

My wife's mood cycle does not closely correspond with the PMS horror stories I hear of, but she most definitely does have a substantial variation from week to week. I tracked it, and have spent the last couple years refining my own adjustments in attitude and approach to correspond to her point in the cycle.

It is an endeavor that pays off, gentlemen.

Josh said...

Welcome to the hormone riddled mind of woman PMSing. Some part of us knows we are being a bitch (sometimes not until after the fact unfortunately - sorry guys), and is telling us we are acting irrationally and bitchy, but the hormone riddled part is literally screaming at that part to "STFU, we are COMPLETELY justified and screaming like a banshee because you forgot to X"

Thanks for that analogy, that helped me understand it much better. The fiancee is actually really good at apologizing in advance that mother nature is showing up, and she seems to do a good job of restraining her hormonal psycho bitch tendencies that most other women seem to have. On the other hand, one of my sisters trumpets it as an excuse to morph into a rampaging she devil, devouring all emotions, male victims, baked goods, lifetime movies, and wine in her path.

Stickwick said...

It's too bad more women don't have the sense to do this.

They need to be taught, because women have difficulty looking beyond their own feelings and realizing how it affects those around them. Of all people, my dad is the one who taught me to do this. He said if you just utter those magic words to your husband - "It's not your fault, and sorry I'm being like this" - it makes things so much easier for your husband.

I'm currently pregnant, so I don't have to deal with PMS. I'm still a hormonal nutbrain, but instead of getting grumpy, I get weepy for no particular reason. I just tell my husband it's the hormones, and he doesn't wonder if he did something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is one thing I'm going to have to disagree with. PMS doesn't effect every woman, and it doesn't effect every woman every cycle, but it sure as heck does effect the vast majority of women. I remember my first week of PMS; I had no idea what was going on and I kept getting mad at myself because everything kept making me cry at the drop of a hat. My family can tell when I'm PMSing before I do. Around that time, they learn to not take a lot of things I do too personally and not to worry too much whenever I cry. But jeez, does it make one feel guilty when the week is over. I apologize every time.

Anonymous said...

"I just tell my husband it's the hormones, and he doesn't wonder if he did something wrong."

You are a wise women.

Hermit said...

I grew up with two sisters, one older, one younger, and while I noticed they were moodier in general than most guys I knew, I couldn't say that I could ever really tell when it was that time of the month. Same goes for my most long term girlfriend at the time.

Then I met my wife. The first time it happened I was extremely close to breaking up with her. I had no idea why she suddenly turned into a raging bitch. I didn't truly connect the dots until a month later, when it happened again, and I nearly broke up with her again. Once I realized what was going on, it was so much easier to deal with.

I kind of understand what it's like. I'm normally not emotional/moody at all, but when I'm starting to get sick, the first symptom, before any coughing or sneezing, is I start to get moody. I've grown to recognize it, and warning others usually helps.

Anonymous said...

What no one seems to have noticed is that this so called research didnt actually do any research, what they did was review what they considered to be the best studies [ done by other people ]. Literature reviews can be helpful and interesting, but they dont prove much except to document the state of knowledge to that point. All this review demonstrates is that studies to date have not clearly demonstrated the existence of PMS. This might point to the non-existence of PMS, it might just as easily mean that studies to date have been inadequate, poorly designed, not looking in the right direction, measuring the wrong things etc.

Enoch Powell said...

This "study" is just Standard Operating Procedure for Left-wing jackoffs. If something doesn't fit the narrative, just get a scientist to do an unscientific study. Declare that the problem doesn't exist. Tell everybody that the sloppy work of a scientist tumps centuries of personal experience/observation. Declare a victory for the March of Progress and pitch a massive, screaming tantrum if anybody even tentatively begs to differ. We are in the hands of childish tyrants.

Sarah said...

While PMS is real, I think there's some truth to women exacerbating the symptoms she may have. If she believes/expects/thinks about it, she'll probably feel it more than otherwise - sort of like a reverse placebo effect. This is why - anecdotally - a lot of women trying to get pregnant suddenly experience more severe PMS symptoms.

Spacebunny said...

What no one seems to have noticed is that this so called research didnt actually do any research, what they did was review what they considered to be the best studies

You mean, except for the second word in the very first sentence, right? Or did you miss that part?

taterearl said...

I can understand why women may not tell a man in advance before her mood shifts. But it would be a very good idea. Men don't usually take things personally if we have an idea of what's going on and we can forgive easier than most women.

SouthTX said...

LT marriage success formula. I learned and she knows I know her cycle. Maybe better than her (she is smart enough to admit to PMS.) as a long 20+ yr spouse. Two, three days on the outside a month, I ignore her mood swings. But the other 27-28 days she is an Angel. It works for both of us. Females that are honest will find forgiveness for PMS. At least I do. The rest of the month she is awesome.

SouthTX said...

Wife is pissed off at Eve for the curse. I wonder how to fix it. I can't. But God can. Truth. It's harsh.

Rollo Tomassi said...

Fascinating.

We can directly link testosterone to feelings of agression and violent behavior.

We can directly link oxytocin to feelings of trust and nurturing behaviors.

In fact we can directly link many emotional prompts and their physical manifestations to a wide variety of individual hormones as well as their combinative effects.

Interesting how only in girl-world do we fund studies to disprove the less 'socially complimentary' effects of women's endocrine systems.

Who are you gonna believe, "science" or your lying eyes?

MendoScot said...

Perhaps related:

Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men

MendoScot said...

And in late breaking news - we must shut down the internet at once!

There Is No News Like Bad News: Women Are More Remembering and Stress Reactive after Reading Real Negative News than Men

MendoScot said...

Literature reviews can be helpful and interesting, but they dont prove much except to document the state of knowledge to that point.

A metastudy isn't exactly a literature review. It pools published studies in a weighted manner. Now if the weighting is done in a transparent and objective manner (e.g. study size, methodological rigour, statistical power) it can be quite useful. If subjective criteria are used, the outcome can be heavily biased by a minority of the studies included. In the worst cases, the criteria can be selected to give the desired outcome.

I'm not going to bother reading this metastudy.

Stickwick said...

OT: Hamster alert.

A young Brazilian woman is selling her virginity to a top bidder, but claims it's not prostitution, because she's only selling herself once. ('If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer.')

The high bidder is a Japanese man who's paying $780,000. It looks like this is being followed in a documentary of some kind. A young male virgin who also appears to be part of the doc managed to sell himself to a woman for $3,000. Interesting juxtaposition of relative market value.

Josh said...

Well, that's certainly higher than what Nate and I came up with for the value of women several years ago based on the African tradition of buying brides with pigs.

I think we figured that the max price in terms of pigs was 50 pigs for an 18 yr old virgin.

Anonymous said...

There is mood and then there is bahavior. If you need an example of each, just notice that a PMSing wife will seldome let her bitch flag fly at work or around strangers. That is proof that she can control it but chooses not to.

--Professor Hale

Res Ipsa said...

"I think we figured that the max price in terms of pigs was 50 pigs for an 18 yr old virgin."

Thats because there are fewer 18 year old virgins today and a lot more pigs.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how those studies were done. What methodology?

Anonymous said...

As stated it was a Meta Study. Basicly its a review of a group of studies. Check out the paper they published for the exact methodology.

papabear said...

I've read going paleo can help mitigate PMS...

Athor Pel said...

OT: Two of Vox's favorite blog subjects coming together in the mind of an economics blogger.

http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-communism-killed-american-muse.html

mmaier2112 said...

"I think we figured that the max price in terms of pigs was 50 pigs for an 18 yr old virgin. "

Were these pigs in the Azaleas or not?

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