And it's a bloody joke...
We all know far too well about sexism at work (we’re looking at you, gender pay gap).
But now it looks like we’ve got a battle with sexism in science on our hands too as the real reason why we don’t have a cure for period-induced misery is finally revealed – scientists aren’t bothering to do enough research into it.
What makes it even more annoying is that we desperately need one. 40% of women who experience PMS do not respond to the treatments which are currently available for it. 5% of them have Premenstual Dysphoric Disorder – a condition so severe that 15% of sufferers attempt suicide. Clearly, we need a cure ASAP.
The problem is, the world of science doesn’t seem to agree. According to ResearchGate, there are five times more studies undertaken on erectile dysfunction that pre-menstrual syndrome. FIVE TIMES!
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Let’s put that into context. While a whopping 90% women suffer from PMS, only 19% of men experience erectile dysfunction.
So why isn’t anyone doing something to end the madness?
The main problem is that scientists can’t seem to agree on what exactly the symptoms are. There are over 150 symptoms currently listed for PMS, ranging from the usual bloating to cramps to less mainstream ones, such as clumsiness and swollen hands or feet.
As a result, most women aren’t sure what symptoms to attribute to their period, meaning that many are misdiagnosed. Mood swings, crying, anxiety and lethargy, for example, have often been mistaken for bipolar disorder when they are actually caused by PMS.
Of course, a lot of research into the subject is refused funding as PMS is believed to be purely psychological.
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University of Washing psychologist Kathleen Lustyk told ResearchGate that applications for research funding had been refused on the grounds that PMS was ‘merely a product of our society or culture that has painted a natural process in a negative light and that, given its monthly predictability, leads to suffering through anticipation’.
Which basically means they think that it’s all in our heads…*blood boils*
But, thankfully, there is a way to take matters into your own hands – by downloading an app called Clue.
Clue is a period tracking app which let’s you document factors like mood, sickness and sexual drive during your period so that you can assess their effect in relation to your cycle.
This menstrual data is then collated to be used in research which will go towards finding a cure for PMS – the perfect way to give the digital finger to sexism in science.