How to Deal with your Girlfriend Going Through PMS

Every man dreads that time of the month when a usually reasonable girlfriend transforms into a simmering volcano of complaints, likely to burst forth at the slightest of provocations. While much has been debated about the symptoms and seriousness, indeed the very existence of PMS, it is still a highly individual condition. So if you find yourself baffled by certain changes in your girlfriend every month, read on to understand the condition and how to deal with it.

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Get the facts

PMS or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome is a group of physiological and emotional symptoms that occur roughly around seven to ten days before a woman has her periods. For a woman to be medically diagnosed with PMS, the symptoms must be consistently present before the menstrual cycles and disappear with the onset of menstruation. Moreover the symptoms should be severe enough to disrupt routine daily living. PMS is believed to be caused by the fluctuation of hormones during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels rise and there is a dip in the progesterone levels.

Know how PMS affects women

While PMS symptoms might not be debilitating for all women, it does affect a wide range of women in their child-bearing ages. Some of the most common physical symptoms of PMS are abdominal bloating, sore and tender breasts, headaches and swelling of the extremities. Emotional symptoms may range from fatigue to food cravings, mood swings, increased irritability and even social withdrawal.

Don’t highlight the symptoms

Very few women like to admit about being seriously affected by PMS. So even if you find your girlfriend acting unreasonably during a specific time of the month, don’t blame the PMS symptoms as the root of all problems. This reduces a woman merely to the level of a body and discounts the possibility that her feelings or arguments are valid. Most of all, don’t make her PMS symptoms the butt of jokes since no matter how great a sense of humor a woman has, she is not going to take kindly to this kind of insensitivity.

Refrain from springing surprises

Understand that right now your girlfriend is feeling cranky and irritable at best or even anxious and depressed. Don’t announce any major decisions that affect your shared life or expect her to settle any big questions or problems. She may overreact to a piece of news or seize only the negative aspect of a new situation. Wait for a time when she is out of the clutches of her raging hormones and is able to give a serious matter the full consideration it deserves.

Limit social activities

The time before or even during her periods is hardly when a woman feels at her most attractive. She may not only be bothered by physical discomfort brought on by bloating or headaches but also by violent changes in her mood. If possible, reduce all joint social activities during this time or at least check with your girlfriend before committing to any social engagement that include her as well. Instead of emotionally pressuring her to attend Aunt Maggie’s wedding anniversary bash or Cousin Vince’s Bar Mitzvah, be sporting enough to go on your own. Also keep in mind physically intensive social activities like mountain-hiking with friends or a rafting expedition in a group which your girlfriend may not be up to during this time. Especially steer clear of having your beer buddies or your extended family over at your place since the last thing a woman with PMS would want to do is play hostess and clean up after guests.

Don’t freak out at diet changes

Food is likely to be a sore point with women going through PMS, especially if she is on a tough diet for the rest of the month. Food cravings are likely to turn the strictest of Atkins followers into fast-food junkies. So if your girlfriend complains of feeling bloated in the morning, refrain from pointing out that she just polished off a nine-inch pizza as a midnight snack. Nothing will irritate her more right now than your I-told-you-so attitude and especially if it comes from someone who has no problem wolfing down choco-chip brownies with the least impact on the weighing scale. However what you can do to ease her through this time of diet changes is to keep the kitchen well-stocked with healthy snacks so that she has something nutritious to munch on when the cravings hit her.

Help her around the house

While your girlfriend may be perfectly capable of running her house at other times of the month, she may be thankful of your help with some chores right now. Whether it is raking the yard, taking Roger for his walk or running to the store for a strip of aspirin, being a little more useful around the house will go a long way in giving her some much-needed rest or just the feeling of being taken care of. And if you don’t have the time to run errands, at least be considerate enough not to expect her to clean up after you. Leaving your dirty dishes in the kitchen sink or your wet towel on the bed are surefire ways of raising her hackles especially at a time when she does not feel physically so great herself.

Seek help

If nothing you do seems to help your girlfriend feel better, perhaps she needs medical advice. This will not only enable a proper diagnosis and treatment of PMS if that is what it is, but also rule out any other underlying problem which may have been overlooked till now. However be sure to use the greatest of tact to make such a suggestion.

Women are variously affected by the Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. For some, the condition may simply bring about some physical inconvenience or leave them a little bossier than usual. For others however it may be a hellish time of headaches and mood swings. Understanding the extent of your girlfriend’s symptoms and what you can do about them will not only help things run  a little more smoothly for now but make your relationship stronger in the long run.