How to Help Someone Dealing With PMS

      Friends, family, and loved ones of all sorts: take this as reassurance that us uterus owners don’t hate you, we aren’t upset with you, and we still want to love you. But once a month, we might feel overwhelmed. Dr. Linda Riven’s overview of premenstrual syndrome explains PMS as the symptoms present 4 days before a person’s menses starts– That’s the bloodshed, for those that aren’t hip to the down-there lingo. What exactly are the symptoms? If you own a uterus, you know. For those that don’t, symptoms might be everything from irritability, anxiety, lethargy, tension, and insomnia to poor coordination. So, what can be done? Is there anything that you non-PMS-pals can do to help us?

Yes. Yes, there is.

1. Be Gentle With Us

At a time of the month where we have to be gentle with ourselves, we also need you to be gentle with us. And we don’t just mean physically. Have compassion and patience with the fact that we might take a little longer to make a decision or respond to you; and we might be a little short with you. It’s not personal! It’s just the way our bodies work.

2. Listen

You might be going “Uhhhh…Obviously!” but trust us, it’s important. Listen to what we’re trying to say, and listen to what we need. Even if it might seem ridiculous (yes, another lower back rub), oftentimes we’re saying it for an important, specific reason.

3. …But Listen With a Grain of Salt

Listening is super important, but so is your own mental health! If you’re made upset by something we said in a heated, irritated moment, don’t just let it fall by the wayside. Calmly and non-confrontationally say what you’re feeling and why it hurt. It’s also a good idea to ask what your uterus owner was thinking or feeling when they said it; this way you can address both problems at once. And you both might find that it was much less serious than you thought!

4. Let Us Have Our Pain

There is nothing more annoying that someone going “it’s just cramps, deal with it”. Cramps, especially if they’re connected to a condition like endometriosis, can top the pain scale at even worse than childbirth. By telling us to “deal with it”, you’re invalidating our pain and making us internalize guilt over our natural process. Please, just let us live in it!

5. Breakdown the Jokes

Too many jokes about “women on the rag” denigrate, make fun of, and shame people who experience this process every month. The jokes do nothing to help us in our journey to make menstruation a regular, shame-free conversation topic. It can be hurtful if you’re bolstering misogynist stereotypes through jokes, so don’t do it! We’ll appreciate your support, and will no doubt want to thank you later.  

6. Rest More

Rest with your partner, friend, or family member, and give them space to rest. The body is going through a tough process, which means it needs more downtime to cope and do its work. Just because we need to slow down a little more doesn’t mean we all want to be alone though! If you’re planning a date, plan something that isn’t incredibly draining, and doesn’t trigger any stress responses in your partner. We suggest cozy blankets, popcorn, and a couple great movies.       

7. Talk About it!

Unsure about whether something will help or hurt this time of the month? Ask! Want to know what these cramp things feel like? Ask! Wondering about the best way to support the uterus owner in your life through their PMS? Ask! PMS shouldn’t be hidden away and hushed over. PMS needs to be talked about. As something that affects roughly half the population for 60 to 90 days in a year… Yeah. Let’s say Yes to opening up the conversation!  

Cute cats are exactly what we need when PMSing. What do you need? Do you have any tips to share with other readers? Comment below! 


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Meet Dr. Joseph Nowinski, Psychologist and Author

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