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Premenstrual ‘syndrome’ (PMS) is a chronic condition experienced by up to 80% of fertile women before their period. Symptoms can include depression, fatigue and headaches.

Premenstrual changes in mood are usually reduced to and dismissed as women’s ‘raging hormones’. But what if a negative premenstrual experience is not a hormonal disorder? What if it’s a message from the body about the socio-ecological causes of ill-health? For example, if people keep saying you'll be moody, then you expect to be moody does this make you moody?

Why individuals and populations vary in how severe their PMS is unclear. The causes of premenstrual distress are poorly understood. Therapies considered to be effective include anti-depressant medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However this approach focuses on treating the symptoms associated with PMS rather than its root causes.

Our research aims to understand how the environment a person is in can affect their experience of PMS.

How you can help

We’ll be running surveys and questionnaires where we’ll need your input. If you’re using the Clue app to track your periods and fertility, this anonymous data will feed into our studies too. Watch this space!

Illustration by Katrin Friedmann
About: About


University of Oxford
Oxford Anthropology
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