In an episode of “New Girl,” Zooey Deschanel’s character Jessica Day expresses how some of us feel right before Aunt Flo comes to town for her monthly visit: “I feel like I wanna murder someone, and also I want soft pretzels.”
The PMS Package that recently went viral unfortunately doesn’t feature soft pretzels, but offers women a mix of sweet treats, such as Christmas-themed Jelly Bellys and a pair of socks with reindeers on them. The PMS Packages start at $12.99 U.S. per month for the Mini Package and go up to $34.99 U.S. for the Executive Package. The mix of treats changes every month and the mail out is timed to your cycle. Two Ohio teen boys reportedly created the packages to comfort girls and women suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) after a suggestion from one of their younger sisters.
The science behind your feelings
Just as some women give birth in a matter of hours sans drugs and call it a “magical experience,” while other women suffer through tough, scary labours. The same goes for PMS, some, like Jessica Day, will feel severe mood swings, while others will feel just fine in the days leading up to the start of their periods. It’s estimated about three out four women experience PMS, with a wide range of symptoms ranging from “mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression,” according to the Mayo Clinic. While most females of reproductive age will recognize this list of symptoms all too well, research by Dr. Gillian Einstein, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, found there is actually no clear link between mood and PMS.
ALSO SEE: The weirdest side effects of your period
The PMS Package (Courtesy photo)
“There is so much cultural baggage around women’s menstrual cycles, and entire industries built around the idea that women are moody, irrational — even unstable — in the phase leading up to menstruation,” said Einstein, in a press release on the study that was published in the journal the journal Gender Medicine in 2012.
From an early age, North American females are told over and over again that the days leading up to menstruation every month will definitely be terrible, which might be leading to a chicken-egg phenomenon, where women might feel more moody in the days before they get their periods because they are told they will be moody in the days leading up to menstruation.
The review of 41 research studies did not look at the existence of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The depressive disorder was moved to the main body of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (commonly called the DSM-5) in 2013, and still continues to spark significant debate among experts.
The holiday-themed contents of the PMS Package (Courtesy photo)
A.K.A I Support You Because Being A Woman Can Be Hard Package
Despite her research, Dr. Einstein, also the director of the collaborative graduate program in women’s health at U of T, has no issue with the PMS Package. It’s always nice to receive a package filled with treats and if it’s sent by a sensitive man who is just trying to support you all the better, she notes.
“It’s really an ‘I’m Thinking of You Package,’” said Dr. Einstein. “Maybe it should be renamed the ‘I Support You Because Being A Woman Can Be Hard Package?’”
She joked that maybe the next package should be The Menopause Package: “I’d like one of those!”
Soothe yourself with an apple and a light jog, instead…
While experts continue to research and debate the existence of both PMS and PMDD many women choose to soothe themselves every month with sweet treats, like the ones featured in The PMS Package.
But, it turns out, perhaps the packages should have a mix of fruits, vegetable and whole grains, instead, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not to be a total Debbie Downer, but avoiding caffeine and alcohol is also recommended, as is regular exercise and getting enough sleep.
But, a monthly PMS Package and/or a soft pretzel couldn’t hurt, right?