"So, it's that time of the month again?" your husband might ask as you dissolve into tears for no apparent reason, or lie on the sofa rubbing your bloated stomach. He may be aware that something is going on, but how much he really understands about menstruation is another matter entirely. Before you explain PMS to your husband, go back to the basics of menstruation -- chances are he won't know much about that, either. Give him the information he needs to understand that mysterious "time of the month" and why you feel so miserable and he may be more understanding.
Explain to your husband that every month, your uterus sheds its lining, which results in bleeding. The blood flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina. Every woman is different, but most menstrual periods last from 3 to 5 days, according to Womenshealth.gov. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, with each cycle beginning on the first day of menstruation and ending on the last day before the next menstruation. The menstrual cycle releases hormones to keep your body healthy and prepares the body for pregnancy each month.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the collective term used to describe several symptoms connected to the menstrual cycle. These symptoms may include acne, swollen or tender breasts, an upset stomach, cramping, bloating, headaches, irritability, mood swings and anxiety. This list is not exhaustive, and every woman reacts to menstruation differently. Some women experience no or very few symptoms, while others are unable to function normally during the pre-menstrual period. Typically, the symptoms begin 1 to 2 weeks before menstruation and subside soon after bleeding starts. Therefore, if your menstrual cycle is 28 days long, you may experience the symptoms of PMS any time between day 14 and day 21. Point out your particular symptoms and tell your husband how they affect you.
Causes of PMS
You can also point out that while the exact causes of PMS are unknown, medical professionals believe that hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and chemical changes in the brain are important factors. According to Womenshealth.gov, other possible causes are low levels of vitamin and minerals, and excessive consumption of caffeine, salty foods and alcohol. The symptoms of PMS may be exacerbated by emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.
How Your Husband Can Help
Certain simple lifestyle changes can greatly ease the symptoms of PMS, namely regular exercise, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and finding ways to cope with stress. If your husband wants to help you cope with the monthly discomfort and inconvenience of menstruation, ask him to look after the children at least twice a week to let you go for a jog or take an aerobics class, assist with preparing nutritious meals for the family and help out with the housework when you're too tired to lift a finger. Let him know that sometimes an understanding ear and a shoulder to cry on will be enough when those hormones are raging.