Chapter 17: PMT

Hormones influence behaviour in both men and women, and the cyclical nature of women’s hormones makes this easier to understand. The changes throughout their monthly cycle can be good and bad. Women who experience premenstrual tension/syndrome can have both physical and psychological symptoms, including mood swings, anxiety, and irritability.

There’s also a much more severe condition, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which can be debilitating. This is thought to have a genetic component, and can cause people to behave very erratically. Many sufferers elect to have a hysterectomy. Crime and PMDD are explored in Megan Abbott’s novel Give Me Your Hand.

PMT has been used as a criminal defence in the UK, and women have even been acquitted of murder as a result.