MOST women think put their bad mood and bloating when they're on their period down to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
However, according to one psychologist, it's apparently all a myth.
Jane Usher, a professor of women's health psychology at Western Sydney University, claims that the condition is actually fabricated by Western culture.
And she claims that women attribute their emotional distress to their periods if they are pre-menstrual, instead of blaming things like their relationship or work life.
Jane's comments come despite the fact the NHS recognises PMS as a genuine condition.
Speaking on the Clue Hormonal podcast, Jane said: "In the UK, US and Australia we have taken up this pathologising discourse around the menstrual cycle.
Culture bound syndrome
"We expect women to be mad or bad or dangerous and women take that up and feel irritable and feel angry and then they blame it on their bodies."
She said that non-Western women don't report emotional signs of PMS at that stage in their cycle, but begin to if they move to Western countries.
Jane added: "What we also know is that when women come from cultures where there isn't a discourse around it move to the UK or the US, they begin to report symptoms.
"It's a culture bound syndrome, because it's a way of attributing anger and distress to their body.
"Women actually experience anger, depression and distress across the whole cycle.
Not fully understood
"What we know is that when they are pre-menstrual they will attribute it to their bodies, but at other points in their cycle they attribute it to other parts of their lives."
Jane claims that PMS only entered discourse in North America in 1931, when women were diagnosed with "hysteria", which was associated to the reproductive system.
Prior to that, there was "no mention" of the condition in medical history.
Despite Jane's comments, the NHS does recognise PMS as a condition but says it is not "fully understood" why women experience it.
They say most women have PMS at some point in their lives and it may be caused by changes in your hormone levels during the menstrual cycle.
What is PMS?
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name for the symptoms women can experience in the weeks before their period.
Most women have PMS at some point and you can get help if it affects your daily life.
Each woman's symptoms are different and can vary from month to month.
The most common symptoms of PMS include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling upset, anxious or irritable
- Tiredness or trouble sleeping
- Bloating or tummy pain
- Breast tenderness
- Spotty skin or greasy hair
- Changes in appetite and sex drive
More on women's health
In particular, nearly all women have PMS symptoms but women in their late 20s to early 40s are most likely to experience it.
A University of Toronto study in 2007 concluded that there was no "clear evidence" that PMS exists.
But the NHS disagreed and warned the sample sizes in the study were too small to be taken seriously.