Ah, periods. The monthly bane of a girl's existence. They can add up to six years and nine months in a woman's lifetime. And they can be rather painful before the uterine walls even start shedding.
Note that women who get PMS don't necessarily get it every cycle. Also note that women having PMS do not necessarily experience all of these symptoms, and that they may not get the exact same symptoms every time.
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 woman will suffer from it.
Occasionally, a work will use a different effect of PMS. However, the only significance of these will be to make the character irritable. Bloating might show up so the character can complain about her clothes not fitting. You may see food cravings, too, even though they're often associated with pregnancy but the writers may be trying to throw a curveball, especially with chocolate. Also, watch out for Embarrassing Damp Sheets (and ruined, bloody clothes to be washed).
Real world PMS most often takes place in the week or so before menstruation starts (hence the "pre-" in premenstrual), generally peaking about 2 days before menstruation and fading soon after it starts. Despite this, PMS and periods are near-universally conflated in fictionland, to the point of being considered synonyms. (It is very possible for women to have PMS-like symptoms while menstruating, though.)
Could result in a sort of Sick Episode. See First Period Panic for the very first time this happens to a clueless or unprepared girl. For the supernatural version, see Menstrual Menace. See also Bad Mood as an Excuse and Hate Plague.
- Played to good effect in the Gunslinger Girl anime when Triela suffers from her period. She has intense cramps and implied nausea, made worse by the fact that she is forbidden pain killers by the Agency because of her conditioning. The irritation arises naturally when her pain is compounded by the attitude of her handler and their target.
- In Another World with My Smartphone: Near the start of the journey, in Interlude I: "The Adventurers", the twins Elze and Linze both get their periods a day apart. They're not just irritable or moody as a result, they are bedridden by the experience.
It mustve been tough dealing with... girl problems like that. Even my [Recovery] spell had no effect. Probably because it wasnt classified as an abnormal status condition, or so I figured. If anything, that kind of pain was proof that her body was functioning properly.
- In Inside Mari the protagonist suddenly gets crippling cramps and notices blood. The problem is the protagonist is a man in the body of a high school girl and he's never experienced this. It's traumatizing.
- Ken Koyama's Little Miss P (AKA Seiri-chan) stars an anthropomorphized menstrual cycle, in which each chapter is about her spending time with different women during her once-a-month visit, often as theyre experiencing some sort of personal crisis or emotional dilemma.
- Mahoraba: Momono and Shiratori go to the theater and watch a horror film. When Shiratori asks how girl could see such a bloody film and not be bothered, Momono replies, "Girls are used to seeing a lot of blood. Er... Was that a little vulgar?".
- In Chapter 8 of Minimum, after Itou's friend Satou gets punched in the face by Haru for staring at her boobs, he (Satou) mutters if she's "on the period".
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka is not amused by having periods, and adding to that the fact that Shinji has surpassed her, she's in an even worse mood than usual. Her period causes her discomfort, shame, anxiety, pain and mood swings, with her lamenting in Episode 22 that she has to go through it because she's a girl, even though she doesn't intend to have children. Her written-out thoughts in the same episode during her Mind Rape show that "menarche" (a girl's very first menstrual cycle) is as much a source of anxiety for her as "sex".
- Puni Puni Poemi: When one of the Aasu sisters hears an explosion in another part of the house, she assumes that her younger sister either is having her period or has missed her period. Her question gets immediately cut off.
- The Quintessential Quintuplets: Subverted. In Chapter 57, when Fuutarou demanded to know why Itsuki was missing from one of their study sessions, her sisters hinted that it was because of this trope. The implied explanation, however, completely flew over his head because the only girl he really interacted with before the Nakanos was his 11-year-old sister. By the time Yotsuba got the nerve to spell it out for him, Nino cut in and told him the actual truth: Itsuki visits their mother's grave once a month on the 14th, the anniversary of her passing.
- Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: When Saki tells Sakuta not to ever talk to Yuuma again, Sakuta asks the girl if she's on her period. Her response is to insult him and storm off.
- Averted in Seitokai Yakuindomo. Though the girls do complain about menstrual cramps, their personalities seem unaffected.
- Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World: Averted with Roxanne's period; the only crankiness she experiences is missing out on sex with Michio as a result, at her request, which is often Truth in Television.
- Very subtly implied in Toradora!, but Ami gives us the right idea with this infamous quote of hers:
Ami: (to Midori) Whatever. Talking to you feels like having a period.
- Tsurezure Children: Downplayed in the Luna, Luna. Kana flips her lid while on her period, not because the period itself but because Chiaki suggests she goes back home since they can't have sex.
- Yona of the Dawn: Yona is feeling a little under the weather and realizes she's menstruating. Princess Tao immediately recognizes that particular brand of distress and hustles Yona away from the crowds of men they live with so she can sleep it off. While it serves to characterize Tao as compassionate, sisterly, and observant and gives the two a chance to chat privately, it's never mentioned again.
- 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 this Attack on Titan fanfic, Mikasa, Historia, and Petra are the biggest victims of emotional instability.
- The Massive Multiplayer Crossover Professional Wrestling fanfic "Character Championship Wrestling", Gwen Tennyson goes into a rage filled PMS state whenever she is pissed off. Sometimes played for laughs, and sometimes comes with blood... lots of it...
- In a Discworld fic about the difference between Assassination and normal ordinary boring murder, licensed Assassin Miss Alice Band testily says that for a week in every month, a female Assassin is the deadliest thing on Disc as in that mood, she's capable of "inhuming" any number of men for fun rather than profit. Her post-menopausal colleague Joan Sanderson-Reeves, who has been there and done that, agrees, but argues the inhumation fees are still jolly necessary, so as to buy expensive chocolate from Weinrich and Boettcher (the most expensive chocolatier in Ankh-Morpork).
- In this My Hero Academia fanfiction, while all the girls go through at least one very negative symptom during their periods, the moodiness part is played straight for Uraraka, Hagakure, and Yaoyorozu.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Fic "A Voice Among the Strangers", the main human character gets hit with this really hard with her first period in Equestria. The fact that there is a language barrier between her and the ponies, and like real horses don't bleed out the crotch when it happens (most likely twice per year) leads to some confusion. The fact that she was under emotional turmoil justifies it, as she mentions to herself that she hadn't had cramps this bad since she was a teenager, and she's never been that emotional, period.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In chapter 10, Asuka has severe nausea from her period and spends several minutes throwing up. Turns out that her period is only partly responsible for her sickness.
- In this Steven Universe fanfiction where the Gems also get periods, Pearl outright says that near the Crystal Gems' time of the month, Garnet gets an even shorter fuse than normal, Amethyst eats everything in crazy combinations, and Pearl herself feels very vulnerable. Pearl also mentions that their Comfort Foods for their PMS are chocolate, strawberry ice cream, and pickles (for Amethyst).
- When Ruby comments on Blake's strange behavior in RWBY: Scars, Penny wonders if Blake's on her period.
- 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.
- Gung Ho: After Hunt gets fired, he and his understandably furious girlfriend talk on the way home: "Are you having your period?" "STOP THE CAR!"
- I'm 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 (well, its Blaxploitation version Abby)— 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!
- Incredibles 2: When Violet throws a tantrum befitting for a teenage girl, Dash asks if she's "having adolescence."
- Defied in Jennifer's Body, in which the titular character provides the page quote.
- Used as a throwaway gag in Mystery Men. One of the candidates during the Terrible Interviewees Montage calls herself the "PMS Avenger" and warns the group that she can only work a few days out of the month.
- No Strings Attached had a scene showing all of the Natalie Portman character's rooomates PMSing together, including the gay male roommate, who is having sympathy PMS. Wishing to nurture her in her pain, Ashton Kutcher's character shows up with cupcakes and a period playlist (yes, it's real).
- In 10 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!"
- Justified in Blood of Elves. The witchers' children's diet includes a cocktail of mushrooms and herbs that are meant to promote muscle growth and metabolic balance, but in Ciri they have the side effect of making her symptoms worse once she starts menstruating. (The witchers had never tried to train a female witcher before and didn't realize it was a problem until Triss Merigold pointed it out.)
- Polgara the Sorceress: What triggers the young Polgara's first use of sorcery? Being irritable because she's menstruating just then. (The rest of the series is solidly in No Periods, Period.)
- A nice scene in the Protector of the Small quartet averts this as Kel and her friend/maid discuss what happens during your period. While it does mention that some women do get overly angry, others might just get a little weepy or desire sweets. In the next book, a brief mention is made of Kel having her period and crying over a very bad day when she otherwise wouldn't.
- Averted in The Red Tent. Although the women all menstruate at more-or-less the same time (Jacob's wives start first, with servants starting a few days later) around the New Moon, and they are secluded (partly because of Jewish laws labeling menstruating women as "unclean", and partly so they can conduct certain religious rituals without any objections), they don't seem to experience adverse symptoms aside from perhaps a little tiredness. It's a restful time, and the women literally celebrate this chance of renewal with offerings to Inanna, socializing, cakes (more like cookies or scones), and fine wine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Oddly though, her issues with this time of the month are never brought up again after this episode.
- In the same episode, Roseanne's friend Crystal, who is most often the kindest, sweetest, most naive and most Woobie-ish of the cast (if a little neurotic,) mentioned how even she becomes a complete she-beast during her time of the month, saying once she went around and broke a streetlight for every man who did her wrong; Dan called it the "Great Blackout of '84."
- In an episode where Roseanne revealed she missed her period and is afraid she might be pregnant again, Jackie asked how she managed it when she's always so horribly mean and angry during her time of the month that everyone would've noticed. She gleefully reveals she faked her PMS that month, and even tacked on an extra day for the hell of it.
- 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.
- 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.
- SNL Korea also did their own take on this idea (but calling the pill "Veranil Jung"), except one woman delivers a beatdown on her boyfriend in a restaurant, another rampages through a taekwondo training session, another one breaks into a car and takes it for a joyride, and they all finally converge upon a convenience store and raid it.
- 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 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 a funny line in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, as their periods attract all sorts of wildlife... including bears.
- Inverted in an episode of Taxi; the cabbies at first assume that Simka's foul mood that she has once a month (called a "kremkapush" by Latka) is her ordinary period. In truth, she does have PMS.
- An episode of 30 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!!!"
- On an episode of Modern Family, all three of the Dunphy women get their periods at the same time, terrifying Phil. Luke, terrorized, yells that they're all "monsterating." They then turn their wrath on Phil for giving Luke that mindset.
- In the sketch comedy show, Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor, Karen invented the super-heroine Pre-Menstrual Girl, who is the alter ego of normally pleasant and cheerful office worker Penelope. When trouble arises her super-power kicks in: she alters her body-clock and transforms into Pre-Menstrual Girl, a superheroine who saves peoples' lives, either by winning the villain's heart with her neurotic sobbing, or terrifying him into bludgeoned submission by screaming, being aggressive, and sniping.
- In an episode of The IT Crowd, Jen has a "visit from Aunt Irma" that makes her so irritable that she screams with the Voice of the Legion. To make matters worse, Roy and Moss start having the same symptoms as though their cycles are synchronizing, even though they're men.
- Invoked by Alison's husband Donnie on Orphan Black, when she's ... tied him up in a chair and is threatening to torture him to find out whether he's her monitor or not. While she may be justifiably angered by the suggestion, her reactionnote does nothing to suggest he isn't right.
- In one episode of Charmed, the sisters all get PMS, which apparently causes their powers to mess up. Also, because of a blue moon, they turn into werewolves or something.
- Mocked on The Nightly Show during a panel discussion about the idea that Hillary Clinton being post-menopausal would make her a better president than a younger woman. Staff writer Holly Walker says that not only is she on her period right now, so are plenty of women in the audience, and yet they are not burning the studio down. Then she lampoons the stereotypical portrayal:
"RRRRRAAAAGH! Chocolate! Salted nuts!"
- Scottish comedy duo Hale and Pace and their sketch "Reality Street". "It was brought to you today by the letters PMT!" note
- Mocked in Red Dwarf: After Kryten (who, it should be said, is a robot who presents and identifies as male) steals a T-34 from a World War II simulator and uses it to blow up Mr. Bingley's gazebo when the rest of the crew have forgotten it was the day he joined the crew and won't eat the dinner he cooked, Dave's only comment is:
Dave: I didn't know robots got PMS....
- Million Yen Women: After Hitomi happens to overhear Shin and Midori discuss possibly having sex after Midori turns 18, she starts acting moody towards Shin. Since Shin doesn't quite realize Hitomi could be acting this way because she's interested in him, he comes to the conclusion that she's on her period. He later give Hitomi some pills intended for menstrual cramps, which doesn't amuse her at all.
- Vaguely referenced on Growing Pains when Maggie declares, "It's the second Saturday of the month. You know what that means!" Ben snarkily responds, "You're gonna be cranky?" (Though Maggie was actually referring to it being the day to do chores).
- Downplayed in an episode of Community where Abed turns out to have accidentally charted the cycles of his female friends. He started out just noticing that there were certain days when their tolerance for his weirdness were especially low, and tried to keep track of those days so as to avoid annoying them. By the time he realised what he was actually tracking, knowing which days to tone it down and keep chocolate handy had proven too useful to stop.
- Sense8: Thanks to their cluster link Lito Rodriguez starts feeling Sun Bak's period symptoms including cramps and mood swings. While driving home from work Lito, who still doesn't fully understand the cluster link yet, starts breaking down while on the phone to his boyfriend having convinced himself that it's actually cancer.
- "Ridin' da Cotton Pony" by Da Yoopers hints at this.
- "PMS" by Bob Rivers (based on "TNT" by AC/DC).
- "Tamahime-sama" by Jun Togawa.
- In the Julie Brown song "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun", the singer at one point asks Debbie, the titular homecoming queen, if she is shooting everyone because she's experiencing a really bad period.
- "Goodbye PMS" by Park Myung Soo & Lizzy (After School).
- In one Baby Blues strip, Darryl answers the door, only to be met with a female postal worker who gripes about men and flings his package at him. When Wanda asks who was at the door, Darryl replies "U.P.M.S."
- Sara from Zits has two turtles; Peaches and Mordoc, Lord of Unholy Fury. Named during different times of the month.
- Neptunia: IF assumes Arfoire is menstruating the first time they fight.
- Super Princess Peach: It's often joked about that Princess Peach's Vibe Powers is really just about Peach going through PMS due to them resembling violent mood swings (Happy, Calm, Sad, and Angry). Strangely for this interpretation, everyone else during the Vibe Island incident is worse off than her; regardless of enemy gender, they're the ones with dangerous, uncontrollable emotions wrecking the place, while Peach is in full control of hers the whole time.
- This is the only way to tell that Terraria averts No Periods, Period. Most of the female NPCs become rather irritable during a Blood Moon.
- How Kyo'nne of Drowtales, who is a drow, a species that doesn't get periods, explains what's going on with her human companion Vaelia◊ to another drow after they accidentally discover that she is menstruating, something Kyo'nne calls "moon blood."
- Code Name: Hunter: Ruby suffers from an unpleasant case of PMS before the Treaty Night event.
- Sinfest occasionally highlights the PMS cramps/cravings of Monique, its single human female character.
- The Alt Text of "Decline" mentions a "spike on the Fourier transform at the one-month mark"Math explanation — the girlfriend cuts him off before he can elaborate, but the suggestion is obvious.
- "Period" makes a different joke — the woman suffering PMS is grumpy less because of her condition and more because her boyfriend takes the time to crack a bad pun.
- Parodied in this animated webcomic. One girl is visited by a personification of periods and is swiftly punched in the crotch. Her friend sitting nearby just gets some affectionate slaps, and thus is in no pain at all when her period occurs.
- In the Wotch, Katie McBride is transformed into a Werecat. Via the help of a magical amulet, she regains her human mind while wearing it. Later, she laments that once a month she transforms into a snarling monster and then later in the month becomes a Werecat.
- In Hope for a Breeze, Sophia gets her first here.
- Lampooned in this Head Trip comic, where it's so obvious that her period was coming that nobody is surprised in the slightest.
- In El Goonish Shive, Tedd jokes about Elliot experiencing PMS and Ellen lists PMS as what she thinks is an inappropriate topic, but no mention is made as to how Ellen adjusts to having periods (or even if she gets her period) in the little over a month between her creation and her getting appropriate memories through her "Second Life" dreams.
- Fem Fortress, a fan-video of Team Fortress 2 that swaps out the male voices for female ones (but not the models, presumably because of the Rule of Funny). Everyone on the team goes on their period at the same time, and are unable to fight. Except the Pyro.
- A fanmade list of commandments for Warhammer 40,000's Space Marines commands them to stay well away from the Sisters of Battle when the Red Rage is upon them. Given that the Sisters of Battle are spike-armored warrior nuns with a penchant for sharp objects and flamethrowers at the best of times...
- In this Sofy song about PMS, we have a Fragile Flower Elephant, a Leave Me Alone! Lion, a Hair-Trigger Temper Hedgehog, and a Big Eater Bear.
- Camp Camp: Towards the end of Episode 2, after witnessing the Quartermaster ride into view on the squirrel king's throne, Gwen grumbles that she "needs more Midol" before walking off.
- Discussed on Not Always Working, when a delivery driver comments to his trainee that they will need to be tactful with their next client— she's ordered tampons, tea, and chocolates. The trainee needs it spelled out for him that she's on her period, and then he's too disgusted to make the delivery.
- Taken Up To Eleven by French-Italian YouTuber Tess Masazza.
- This Very Wiki claims that a Jerk Sue "[has] constant PMS" in her blurb description on the Mary Sue page.
- As pointed out by CR, Katie Ka-Boom from Animaniacs is a teenage girl whose violent and sudden outbursts are portrayed as her transforming into different monsters. The show never outright states that she's dealing with PMS, but the implications are definitely there.
- The Robot Chicken episode "Slaughterhouse on the Prairie" shows what happens when She-Ra: Princess of Power has her period while the usual problems arise. There were no survivors. (Or almost none, anyhow.)
- 6teen: In "Enter the Dragon" (which was banned in the States, by the way), this is the driving trope of the girls' plot when their period cycles sync up—this is also combined with Personality Swap for Nikki and Caitlin, who essentially swap personalities when they're on their periods.
- Jen gets stomach cramps when she's on her period and apparently, these cramps are so painful that she compares it to what she imagines being hit in the stomach with a bowling ball would feel like.
- Nikki becomes a Fragile Flower (very emotional and needy) and, for some reason, develops a craving for chocolate that's so strong that she can't bring herself to stop eating it (even though she normally hates chocolate).
- This is played straight only for Caitlin, who gets really bitchy and cranky when she's on her period (though it's unknown if she develops an aversion to chocolate). Jen goes so far as to claim, "[Caitlin makes] pitbulls look friendly!" when she's on her period.
- Unsupervised: Usually mild-mannered Megan went berserk when a new girl she was mentoring stole her cramp medication in a bizarre attempt at getting high.
- Most viral posts on Tumblr that are about periods tend to focus entirely on the most extreme cases of menstruation and PMS. They almost never even mention individuals who don't suffer much (if at all) from the side effects, much less the people who get periods but don't have the PMS that's presumed to go hand in hand with it. Outside of that, however, it's very important to note that the posts themselves are rarely hyperbolic in regards to what the extreme cases are like for those who do experience them, unless it's being exaggerated for comedic purposes. Indeed, almost all of the viral posts are written by members who do suffer from the more extreme symptoms of PMS and periods, and if they just so happen to be female only in terms of biology, the frustration with their circumstances only gets worse. Many of the posts are also written and/or drawn in response to people telling them that periods aren't a big deal and that they should "stop overreacting", so the members are very likely to believe that mentioning the exceptions would only serve to weaken their argument.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.