After reading through this list, you may think that women are pretty much slaves to their hormones -- especially since the changes that they bring about throughout a woman's life can come with some nasty side effects. It's also true that "being hormonal" is often used as an excuse for a woman to act unlike her normal self. A 2009 study conducted at Hertfordshire University in England claimed that the "intense emotions" associated with PMS might be to blame for compulsive shopping [source: Daily Mail]. PMS has even been used successfully as a murder defense.
Put simply: Hormones are chemical signals that play a part in all of our body functions. While extreme hormone imbalances can definitely play a role in mental stability and overall behavior, simple PMS isn't likely to be the culprit. In other words, PMS might make women crave chocolate, but blaming it as the sole cause for a criminal act like murder is probably taking things too far. Women aren't slaves to their hormones any more than men are (that, after all, would imply that all they do is think about sex). Knowing more about the complexities of women's hormones, however, can only help men better understand the opposite sex.
- Dotinga, Randy. "Typical Male Behavior Comes From Estrogen, Too." Bloomburg Businessweek. April 28, 2010.http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/638553.html
- Gore, Sally. "Premenstrual syndrome as a substantive criminal defense." Master's Thesis. McGill University. 2003.http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=80923&local_base=GEN01-MCG02
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Premenstrual syndrome." Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Dec. 8, 2009.http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/premenstrual-syndrome/DS00134
- Moult, Julie. "How a woman's 'time of the month' can be blamed for her desire to go shopping." Daily Mail. March 31, 2009.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1165673/How-womans-time-month-blamed-desire-shopping.html
- Nagourey, Eric. "Nostrums: Testosterone and Sex Drive in Women." New York Times. April 22, 2008.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/health/research/22nost.html?_r=1
- North American Menopause Society. "How to Confirm Menopause." North American Menopause Society. 2010.http://www.menopause.org/
- Nussey, Stephen and Saffron Whitehead. "Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach." Oxford: BIOS Scientific Publishers. 2001.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22/
- Office on Women's Health. "Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle." Oct. 21, 2009. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/menstruation.cfm
- Office on Women's Health. "Premenstrual syndrome." May 18, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm
- WebMD Staff. "Normal Testosterone and Estrogen Levels in Women." WebMD, LLC. 2010.http://women.webmd.com/normal-testosterone-and-estrogen-levels-in-women
- What to Expect. "Guide to Pregnancy Hormones." Waterfront Media. 2010.http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-hormones.aspx
The trio behind this female-centric podcast set out to unmask menstruation — and even make it funny. HowStuffWorks takes a listen.