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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Period myth or fact?

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Author Topic: Period myth or fact?
cmd023
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Member # 94525

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I'm very interested in the science behind health and like to often dispel many commonly-accepted myths that people have regarding their health, so maybe you can help me out with this one...

Many of my friends, both male and female, seem to be under the impression that a female experiences moodiness and depression DURING her period. For example, my friend will stock up on junk food and sappy movies for "when her period starts", anticipating wallowing in hormonally-induced misery starting on that first day of menses. However, I was under the impression that menstrually-related mood disorders occur in the week or so leading up the the period (hence the PRE in premenstrual syndrome). According to graphic representations of hormonal activity throughout the cycle, hormone levels appear to be quite stable at and after the point of menses. Would I be correct in saying that their theory is just a social construct and has no basis in scientific fact, and that any mood abnormalities related to the menstrual cycle would be limited to the premenstrual phase?

Posts: 17 | From: New Jersey | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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Hmm, this is an interesting question. I don't think it's a myth or a fact. That is, there are some people who experience their periods as times of physical or emotional (or both) unpleasantness. There are people who experience this prior to having a period. There are people who don't experience these unpleasant experiences at all.

From a biological perspective, what happens hormonally, while it's going to be similar from person to person, will affect each person differently based on what else is going on in their body. IN other words, there are hormones that are responsible for the menstrual cycle, but there are also lots of other hormones, etc, that impact how each individual might experience their menstrual cycle.

You're wondering if your friends who prepare for a depressive time during their periods are enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anything is possible, but it's also possible that they've experienced icky feelings during their periods before, so now just prepare themselves.

So there really isn't a yes or no answer, since it's impossible to know what's going on in each person's body, and the experience of menstruation can be very different for each person.

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Robin

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