12 ways to beat PMT. Or not!


PMT ate my weekend. By this, I don’t mean it made me pig out. Rather, PMT consumed it. Devoured it. Left me without so much as a morsel of my Saturday and Sunday that wasn’t spent in its torturous grasp, being a psychotic cow.

During that fraught 48 hours, here are some of the activities I tried to loosen its grip:

1. Eating handfuls of Choc Bits straight from the packet.

2. Shopping for new jeans (file this also under MASOCHISM and STUPIDITY)

3. Blasting Midnight Oil on my iPod while running on a treadmill.

4. Shouting at my husband.

5. Shouting at my children.

6. Phoning my mother to complain about everything.

7. Shouting at the mirror.

8. Swallowing handfuls of Evening Primrose Oil capsules.

9. Shouting at the TV remote controls for being IMPOSSIBLE to use.

10. Possibly throwing them across the room.

11. Buying the ugliest pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.

12. Cake.

With a special highly commended mention to Choc Bits and Midnight Oil, none of it helped a jot.

So if there’s anything that can combat PMT I’d like to know about it (yes, yes, I know it’s called PMS these days but I haven’t had it for years so I still call it PMT and don’t argue with me because I will hurt you, bitch).

And please don’t tell me to meditate or turn my frown upside down (see above threat to hurt you).

Cake did not help

Having been blissfully free of it for more than a decade, I’d forgotten how insidiously evil PMT can be. Particularly compared to other recurring afflictions.

About 10 years ago, I pulled my hamstring during a bad yoga adjustment – also known as someone pulling-your-right-foot-up-to-the-ceiling-until-you-cry. The injury still flares up regularly but whenever my hamstring is sore, I am alerted to this fact by…my sore hamstring. The location of the pain is always clear (hamstring) as is the cause (Sophie the Yogini). Thus, the moment my leg begins to hurt, I always curse her silently, wince for a few days and move on.

PMT is a duplicitous little bugger because it never announces itself. Instead, each month I’m seized by the unshakable conviction that the world around me has changed overnight. That everyone has suddenly become a complete tool and I missed the memo commanding every living being (and inanimate object) to focus on making my life unpleasant.  Eventually, it dawns on me. But each month, I am a goldfish, flailing about in fresh shock as it happens again and again.


My friend Kerri relates: “For four days each month, my marriage is a disaster, my friends turn against me and my career is a failure. Except everything is the same, I just have PMT. A woman in her 50s once said to me, ‘When I have PMT I can’t enjoy anything, I can’t love my children… my husband could drop dead and I wouldn’t care.’” Yikes.

Midnight Oil did help

Then there’s Rebecca who likens her PMT to that feeling you sometimes get lying in bed at 2am when you’re overwhelmed, anxious and enveloped in dread. Except it lasts for days. “I turn into Henny Penny — The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!” she says. “That’s when I sometimes click and check my diary and think ‘Oh – this isn’t me. It’s my period talking.’ So really, my period is a bit like having a rather bleak but shouty Sylvia Plath move in. Obviously, my husband LOVES IT.”

Ah husbands. Fathers. Boyfriends. Brothers. Sons. When PMT smites a household, men tend to be collateral damage. This is why PMT is not just a female problem, it’s a societal one. It is also why my husband buys me keg-sized tubs of Evening Primrose Oil. Optimist.

I think most men do a sterling job of riding the PMT tsunami. Particularly since they’re usually standing haplessly on the beach when it hits. “I speak dreadfully to my boyfriend and I can hear the words coming out like Linda Blair in the Exorcist but I can’t seem to stop” says another friend.  “He gives me that patronising smile and says things like “I know you are pre-menstrual but please don’t set fire to the house” and I have to flee to Westfield to stop myself throwing plates.  It’s not pretty.“

Disclaimer: not all women suffer from PMT and it is NOT the cause of every negative emotion we express or experience. If you are male, please don’t suggest this because it could lose you a testicle. And that’s just from the women who DON’T have it. Irritability, anger, sadness, impatience, rage, frustration and moodiness are not the sole preserve of PMT. Last time I checked, men experience them too.

It’s also vital to point out that as punishing as PMT can be for by-standers, it’s infinitely worse for the sufferer because it’s like being invaded by a demented despot. Hello Gadaffi, welcome to my mind.

Anyway, next month I’m going to try eating the Choc Bits WHILE listening to Midnight Oil. While wearing my ugly shoes and trying not to shout.

Do you get PMT? How does it manifest in you or someone you know? Any suggestions?

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