Editor's Note: This post was originally published April 2013 and has recently been updated and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
It began as some minor bloating the day before my menstrual period started. Then came the headaches. Finally, a few days of minor discomfort turned into something that I had to plan my schedule around because of my symptoms.
I was not alone. Jane* suffered from backaches and headaches so severe that she had to take off from work. Susan developed cravings for sugary and salty foods and began having breakthrough bleeding and bleeding mid-cycle. These symptoms have been classified as PMS - premenstrual syndrome. Frequently dismissed by doctors as “normal” hormonal fluctuations and scoffed at on bumper stickers and advertisements; PMS has become widely accepted.