Professor of Women's Health Psychology at the University of Western Sydney, Jane Ussher, has been researching the issue for 20 years and says that women are being controlled by medical practices which position their unhappiness as a biomedical condition.
"I would argue that PMS and PND are essentially a form of repressed rage women feel rather than a medical illness. Our research has shown that their distress often stems from women trying to do too much for everyone - except themselves," says Professor Ussher.
"The tags pre-menstrual syndrome, post-natal depression (PND) and menopause, have become catch-all diagnostic categories that attribute women's unhappiness to their reproductive bodies and legitimise medical management of their condition," says Professor Ussher.
"The problem with this view is that it ignores the fact that female unhappiness is often an understandable response to the realities of women's lives."
Professor Ussher has recently published a new book 'Managing the Monstrous Feminine: regulating the reproductive body' which explores the issues of PMS, post-natal depression and women experiences in mid-life.
Professor Ussher draws on in-depth interviews with British and Australian women and argues that women's premenstral, post-natal and menopausal distress or anger is often connected to the way women feel compelled to be the 'good wife, mother and emotional nurturer of others'.
"It's a form of self-censoring. Women feel that they are expected to cope with the gamut of responsibilities - including their job, partner, children, extended family, housework etc - without complaint.
"They become distressed about the state of their lives and seek
Contact: Lynda McKewen