The Evolution of PMS
by: Lydia Blodgett, Alexandra Calafiore, Rachel O’Donnell (Stonehill College Evolution Fall 2017)
Premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, affects the majority of women and can cause an array of unwanted symptoms. Although up to 80% of women are affected by the symptoms of PMS, not much is known about exactly why it began and continues to happen in humans. Our podcast, “Evolution of PMS”, attempts to highlight the evolutionary basis of PMS. Using Michael Gillings’ article, “Were there evolutionary advantages to premenstrual syndrome?”, as a foundation, we explore the idea that the persistence of PMS is an outcome of its selective advantage to women. Although PMS has previously been considered maladaptive—with severe forms being classified as a diagnosable mental disorder—-Gillings proposes three main hypotheses that there are reproductive advantages for its persistence throughout evolutionary history.
Although further research must be conducted in order to more accurately confirm that PMS increase women’s reproductive fitness, Gillings’ findings causes us to question the common stigma surrounding these symptoms and thus provides insight into their overarching causes. Based on the information presented, it is possible that PMS is not a disease but rather an adaptation that continues to maximize fertility and overall reproductive success.
For more information on the evolutionary advantages of PMS, please listen to our podcast above!
Citation for paper: Gillings, M. 2014. Were there evolutionary advantages to PMS? Evolutionary Applications. 7: 897-904.
Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12190/full
Link to the author’s Google Scholar page: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gllvOOwAAAAJ&hl=en
Podcast Music: Traveling Lights by Stefan Kartenberg (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/56852 Ft: DeBenedictis (lisadb)
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Image by: Evolution of PMS group