Created By: StevenT on February 13, 2012 Last Edited By: StevenT on June 22, 2012
Troped

All Periods Are PMS

All women and girls are irritable while on their period.

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Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to the physical and mental effects of hormone changes in females of childbearing years. Those effects can include depression, tender breasts, food cravings, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, constipation or diarrhea, and irritability. The Mayo Clinic estimates that three out of four women between puberty and menopause will have some form of PMS.

If a fictional work decides to avert No Periods, Period, though, forget about the 25% who don't suffer any ill effects. The only effect of PMS will be irritability, and every menstruating woman will suffer from it.

Occasionally, a work will use a different effect of PMS. However, even then authors stick to effects that make the character irritable. Cramps are good for this, especially considering that 2-3 days of pain will make just about anyone cranky. Bloating might show up so the character can complain about her clothes not fitting. You won't see food cravings, though, unless the character is about to learn she's pregnant.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Live-Action TV
  • At least one episode of My Wife and Kids centres around this, with Michael's wife and teenage daughter both having extreme PMS at the same time.
  • Referenced on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow is consoling her boyfriend Oz, who we've just learned is a werewolf.
    For a few days a month, I'm not so fun to be around, either.
  • A sketch on SCTV was about "PMS Awareness Week."
  • There have been multiple jokes in The Big Bang Theory where Penny snaps at Sheldon and he comments that she must be on her period.
  • Roseanne episode "PMS, I Love You". When Roseanne gets PMS she pretty much goes crazy, with wild mood swings. This causes terror in the members of her family.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Subverted in the 6teen episode "Enter the Dragon" where the girls' cycles sync up. Caitlin does have PMS, but Jen has cramps and Nikki becomes overly needy.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • February 13, 2012
    pawsplay
    Real Life: Although the term is used loosely, most women do not have PMS, and when they track their mood on a daily and hourly basis around the time of their period, aren't necessarily more moody and irritable, although they may evaluate the day as being less pleasant.
  • February 13, 2012
    Jordan
    Never mind, thought this was already a trope we had, but maybe not
  • February 13, 2012
    foxley
    At least one episode of My Wife And Kids centres around this, with Michael's wife and teenage daughter both having extreme PMS at the same time.
  • February 13, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Referenced on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, when Willow is consoling her boyfriend Oz, who we've just learned is a werewolf.
      For a few days a month, I'm not so fun to be around, either.
    • A sketch on SCTV was about "PMS Awareness Week."
  • February 14, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    What about that urban legend about womens' periods syncing up when in close quarters? Both Married With Children and Two And A Half Men played with this one. Bitches...in stereo.
  • February 14, 2012
    pawsplay
    That's not an urban legend, that was an actual research result, although it has been challenged and is currently the subject of an ongoing scientific debate. And it has very little to do with this trope.
  • February 14, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • February 14, 2012
    cityofmist
    There have been multiple jokes in The Big Bang Theory where Penny snaps at Sheldon and he comments that she must be on her period.
  • February 14, 2012
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Roseanne episode "PMS, I Love You". When Roseanne gets PMS she pretty much goes crazy, with wild mood swings. This causes terror in the members of her family.
  • February 14, 2012
    billybobfred
    This is the only way to tell that Terraria averts No Periods Period. Two of the female NP Cs become rather irritable during a Blood Moon.
  • February 14, 2012
    SharleeD
    Isn't this Menstrual Menace?
  • February 14, 2012
    Routerie
    That's only supernatural stuff.

    And though this trope is an improvement on No Periods Period ("Any example of a period, anywhere"), it does just add up to PMS. It's not about all periods being PMS, at least as currently worded. It's about all examples of PMS.
  • February 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Please note that a few minutes after I posted the Buffy example I tweaked it, but the tweak wasn't rolled in. Also added the SCTV example.
  • February 14, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    Webcomics
    • Code Name Hunter: Ruby suffers from some of this just before the Treaty Night event.
  • February 15, 2012
    reub2000
    And all PMS is a mood disorder. How often do we see characters suffering from cramps?
  • February 15, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Im Gonna Git You Sucka. While working at the diner, Cheryl tells a fellow waitress that "It's my time" (of the month) and she has cramps. When Leonard tries to kidnap her, she asks him to leave her alone but he persists. She then turns into a character out of The Exorcist (Blank White Eyes, giant Afro, growling voice).
    Leonard: You must got the Devil in you!
    Cheryl: No! Cramps! [Slams him up against a wall] I asked you nicely, now I'm going to rip your balls off!

    You can watch it here.
  • February 15, 2012
    Routerie
    You're starting to get a good list of fictional examples of PMS. But that's not the same as "All Periods are PMS." No examples of PMS in fiction prove the idea that all periods in fiction are PMS. They're just examples of PMS. In fact, if asked, contributors could compile scores of examples of periods that don't include PMS. (And yes, most All X Are Y tropes share this problem.)

    So this trope should simply be about fictional PMS ("PMS: Psychotic Mood Shift"?) not "All Periods Are PMS." And either way, examples of cramps or non-PMS periods don't "subvert" anything.
  • February 15, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Could we have the sister (brother?) trope of "Men never PMS"? I'm not exactly sure what it could have in it other than how men are normally shown to have completely control over all hormones other than sex drive and the manliness of testosterone. (Which is also false, if people THINK they have high testosterone they're more likely to be aggressive but whether or not they actually do has less of an impact.)

    Back to the point: Studies show that men do have a subtle monthly mood cycle, even though their genitals don't bleed in time with it. Those regular periods when a close male friend/relative is acting unusually stroppy/sensitive? Could be male PMS.

    • Referenced in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon points this out. The guys suspect Leonard, who is being a gigantic douche, is "man-struating". Koothrapali wonders if this is why he gets weepy once a month.
  • February 15, 2012
    reub2000
    I guess I'm going to have to ask for evidence of the "Male PMS" factoid. It sounds like the perfect urban legend.
  • February 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Referenced in an episode of Maude when she runs for State Senate. One of her staffers (who isn't a staffer for very long) says that women are unfit for public office because of their mood swings.
    • Sorta referenced in one episode of Sliders where the land on an Earth (or at least a US) with a Matriarchal Society. One local guy they talk to says that a Patriarcal Society wouldn't work, in part because women only get mood swings once a month and men have them all the time.
  • February 16, 2012
    Chabal2
    A partial example: Sara from Zits has two turtles; Peaches and Mordoc, Lord of Unholy Fury. Named during different times of the month.
  • February 16, 2012
    Routerie
    That male PMS is an interesting real-life fact, if true, but it's not a fictional trend, much less one so common that its aversion is remarkable.
  • February 16, 2012
    jkbeta
    Examples that have been removed from "Menstrual Menace" (spelling in the first example is broken):
    • In the Sisterhood Of Steel graphic novel, Boronwe: Daughter of Death, Boronwe's friend and roomate Dindra is bitching about her period while they're playing a board game. Boronwe sardonically asks why it is that Dindra seems to suffer the worst cramps whenever she's losing the game but is perfectly fine when she's winning.
    • In Ten Things I Hate About You, Katerina's father calls her out on this, after she dents his car in a bout of anger: "My insurance policy does not cover PMS!"
    • In Carnage, Jodie Foster's character can be seen stashing a package of tampons out-of-sight when she's bringing a guest to her apartment's bathroom. Her emotional fragility during the events of the movie can be at least partially attributed to PMS.
    • In Commander in Chief, Geena Davis scornfully suggests that the reason men worry about a female president is: "once a month, will she or won't she push the button?"
    • Played for laughs on Saturday Night Live in a fake commercial for a pill called "Annuale," which lets a woman have her period once a year, apparently turns women into menstrual menaces (one attacks her co-workers with an ax, a second scarfs down an entire birthday cake at a children's party, a third kicks her husband in the crotch, punches him in the face, and runs screaming out the room, and a fourth French-kisses a dog). There's even a Side Effects Include warning near the end that states that these once-a-year periods should be told to authorities in advance so officials can lock any woman who takes Annuale up like the Wolfman.
    • One of Roseanne's funniest episodes centered on the family dealing with Roseanne's erratic behavior during PMS. Oddly though, her issues with this time of the month are never brought up again.
    • Everybody Loves Raymond features Debra going near-psychotic when she's on her period, yelling and arguing at Ray for even less reason than normal. Ray eventually tapes her rants and plays them back to her as a form of revenge and proof that she's being unreasonable... at which point she goes full-on "weepy PMSing woman" and poor Ray's forced to backtrack. It was basically head writer Phil Rosenthal's apology/explanation to his wife.
    • "The Camping Trip" episode of Married With Children (originally titled "A Period Piece," but the censors objected, despite the fact that Married With Children never showed their episode titles onscreen) dealt with Marcy, Peg, and Kelly having their cycles sync up while in a cabin with Steven, Al, and Bud. Hilarity Ensues, and probably contributed to the Crowning Moment Of Funny line in Anchorman, as their periods attract all sorts of wildlife... including bears.
    • An episode of Thirty Rock has Liz wondering why people think her show is demeaning to women. We then see a series of the show's sketches about illustrious women losing it because they are having their periods. Later exaggerated with Avery--she goes from understanding and sensible to wild the second her period started.
      "YOU STUPID DOUCHE!!!"

  • February 16, 2012
    reub2000
    ^^The fact is that evidence points against monthly mood swings in women, who do have consistent variations in multiple hormones during the course of a month. Hormones in a man do vary but not on such a predictable level.

    Not to say that men and women don't experience variations in mood. We all do.
  • February 18, 2012
    Antigone3
    I don't have any ideas for a better title, but I took a shot at a better description:

    Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to the physical and mental effects of hormone changes in females of childbearing years. Those effects can include depression, tender breasts, food cravings, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, constipation or diarrhea, and irritability. The Mayo Clinic estimates that three out of four women between puberty and menopause will have some form of PMS.

    If a fictional work decides to avert No Periods Period, though, forget about the 25% who don't suffer any ill effects. The only effect of PMS will be irritability, and every menstruating woman will suffer from it.

    Occasionally, a work will use a different effect of PMS. However, even then authors stick to effects that make the character irritable. Cramps are good for this, especially considering that 2-3 days of pain will make just about anyone cranky. Bloating might show up so the character can complain about her clothes not fitting. You won't see food cravings, though, unless the character is about to learn she's pregnant.

  • February 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The subtext to Animaniacs' Katie Kaboom is PMS. That's why she blows up over trivialities once a month.
  • March 7, 2012
    Antigone3
    Bumping this to see if there's still interest.
  • March 7, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Webcomics
    • Sinfest occasionally highlights the PMS cramps/cravings of Monique, its single human female character.
  • June 19, 2012
    LOAD
    Bump
  • June 19, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Potential page quote?

    "PMS isn't real Needy, it was invented by the boy-run media to make us seem like we're crazy." - Jennifer, Jennifer'sBody

    Please use it, I had to read through the whole IMDB quotes page for Jennifer's Body for that. Yikes.

  • June 19, 2012
    JoeG
    On an episode of Modern Family, all three of the Dunphy women get their periods at the same time, terrifying Phil.
  • June 22, 2012
    captainsandwich
  • June 22, 2012
    LOAD
    ^If you read the description of Menstrual Menace, you'll see it's only for supernatural things happening with a period.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=m1kkq6ccgbezwzdoixlhhsvk&trope=AllPeriodsArePMS