PMS: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Guys
How to support your partner (and survive) through PMS
Every 28 days – sometimes a little earlier or later – some men walk on eggshells. It is that time of the month when a woman not only gets her period, but also PMS. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) occurs 7 to 10 days before the start of menstruation and affects your partner's mental and physical wellbeing.
On this Reproductive Health Day, we come to the rescue with hints and tips on how to best manage your girlfriend or wife’s PMS. We also wrote a post for women too!
It's that dreaded time of the month again. Approximately once a month your loving sweet hearted girlfriend changes into a cross between a ravenous beast and a screaming banshee. It's not a fun time for women, and it certainly isn't a fun time for men who have to live with them either, but seeing as the alternative is a “Honey, I'm late” induced panic for the two of you, it's not so bad. We've got tips to help you hunker down and get through it, month after month.
If this situation is familiar to you, you are among the many men in a relationship with a woman suffering from PMS – premenstrual syndrome. 20% to 30% of women of childbearing age suffer from moderate to severe PMS. There is good news: You are not alone. Maybe your best friend is feeling like he's trying to tame a wildebeest or your neighbour is flabbergasted as to why his wife burst into tears as he walked in the door (hint: it was the puppy videos). Just imagine PMS as a small demon that causes your partner to act in a weird way.
We can promise: this too shall pass. However, you can help and support your partner through this.
To save yourself from being blindsided, familiarize yourself with the symptoms that affect your partner. PMS has over 150 possible symptoms, and no two women are alike. Up to 80 percent of women report one or more physical, psychological, or behavioural symptoms of PMS.
The origins of the psychological symptoms are still not entirely clear. However, it is clear that hormones play a significant role. This means that her emotions are often beyond her control. PMS has many other psychological symptoms including; anxiety, irritability, tension, increased need for sleep, and feeling overwhelmed. You may have noticed the sudden mood swings; walking on air one moment and sobbing uncontrollably the next.
If you don't want to have to change your relationship status to single, it is best not to point out her PMS symptoms. Women can be touchy about having all their emotions chalked up to PMS, and promptly dismissed. Even if her behaviour is getting out of control, don't blame the PMS, as it invalidates her feelings, enraging her further. However, rest assured that your partner is not thrilled with the situation either. That is why we want to provide some valuable tips for her to help her manage the symptoms. She can find them here.
How to help? We have put together a few tips
The truth is you can do quite a lot to increase your partner’s wellbeing. Instead of hiding in bars waiting for it to all blow over, talk to your partner. Have you considered about asking her what you can do in order to make her feel better? It may be as simple as spending some quality time together, or offering emotional reassurance. Now is not the time to argue over who takes out the garbage.
While some women feel bloated, sore and generally uncomfortable, they may reach for comfort foods, carbs, and chocolate. Remember that you are not the diet police, and it is best practice not to mention the changes in dietary habits. If your partner complains about clothes feeling tighter than usual, suggest going for a walk together, instead of mentioning the dozen cookies she ate yesterday. Do not be surprised if your wife, who usually prefers to keep the thermostat up, opens the window and sticks out her head into the cold air. This is caused by the hot flashes and sweating some women experience as a PMS symptom.
Aerobic exercise like running with Runtastic, swimming or walking is particularly recommended to prevent symptoms. If you want to contribute to the amusement of the public, you could also take your partner to a Zumba or Yoga class. If you prefer to exercise privately, there are many exercise apps. This is a great way to spend time together and improve symptoms.
Earn credit with hot water bottles and your culinary skills
Besides showing affection, you can take some concrete action. Your partner may be suffering headaches, backaches or breast tenderness. Fill a hot water bottle and make a her a cup of herbal tea. If you want to be extra charming, cook a delicious meal that is rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium and calcium. Avoid overdoing the salt, as it leads to bloating. Have a look at the recipes Kitchen Stories or Jamie Oliver's app provide for healthy ideas and inspiration. This will earn you additional bonus points: Not only will you satisfy her hunger, and show her that you want to look after her, but also actively improve the symptoms of PMS through a healthy diet.
For the following advice you don’t even have to do something time consuming like working out or cooking: Ask your partner if she uses health apps like MyTherapy. With this app she can not only get a reminder to take medication that relieves the symptoms, but she can also track her physical symptoms and mood in a diary. How does that help you? Your wife or girlfriend can share the information with you via a team function. So you know exactly what to expect: a tired but chill woman awaiting your return from work or an angry drill sergeant. Menstrual cycle tracking apps like like Clue or Period Tracker have similar functionalities, while these apps are specifically designed for women, on the other hand MyTherapy can also be used by men. It can support you by reminding you to take your medication as well as to do your daily workout in order to live a healthier life.
While it is not your job to manage your partner's feelings, some extra attention and care during this time may be a wise investment. A small treat or a bouquet of flowers goes a long way if she's already feeling a bit emotional. Always remember: Happy wife, Happy life. You can rest assured: It is not (entirely) your fault.
P.S. Suffer from PMS or know someone who does? See our post for women suffering from PMS.