The Cycle: Confronting the Pain of Periods and PMDD by Shalene Gupta

The Cycle
Shalene Gupta

The Cycle | Confronting the Pain of Periods and PMDD by Shalene Gupta unveils the hidden epidemic of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), offering a deeply researched, intimate, and hopeful exploration of a chronic illness often dismissed and misunderstood by medical professionals and society at large.

A groundbreaking exploration of a debilitating disorder that’s underdiagnosed and misunderstood.

Most days, Shalene Gupta was the person she’d always aspired to be. She was hardworking, excelled at work, and had a long-term boyfriend whom she desperately loved.

Then, every month like clockwork, it all came crashing down in fits of rage and inconsolable sorrow. Work became meaningless, and she struggled to get through the day. The lows were subterranean.

After years of struggling to get an answer from doctors, Shalene learned she was one of millions who live with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS. The physical and mental effects of this disorder are undeniable, but for decades some doctors didn’t even consider PMDD a real condition. How could so many people be suffering at the hands of a chronic condition that doesn’t even exist?

The Cycle uncovers a hidden epidemic, delivering the definitive portrait of a widespread chronic illness most people haven’t even heard of. From a historical overview of feminist debates, to on-the-ground interviews and a searing critique of menstrual stigma, Shalene Gupta lays out how disregard for this disorder has left too many people scrambling for appropriate healthcare. Deeply researched, movingly intimate, and refreshingly hopeful, this book is essential reading for any curious reader, especially those navigating a world ill-equipped to support their health.

Shalene Gupta is a reporter whose work has appeared in Fortune, The Atlantic, ESPN, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. She is the coauthor of The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It with Harvard Business School professor Sandra Sucher. She has a BA in writing seminars and psychology from Johns Hopkins University and an MS from Columbia Journalism School.

  • ISBN: 1250882899
  • 240 pages
  • February 27, 2024

Published by:  Flatiron Books

“Shalene Gupta deftly blends her own personal experiences with a meticulously researched history of how the medical establishment has understood (or failed to understand) PMDD through the years. An unflinching exploration of the stigma surrounding periods and mental health, and how we need far more support, research, and treatment options for conditions like PMDD that affect both.”

―Karen Tang, MD, MPH, author of It’s Not Hysteria

“As someone who also suffers from PMDD, I found that Gupta offers crucial information on this too often misunderstood and misdiagnosed medical condition. The Cycle reaffirms how critical it is to believe women and center the stories of women of color. Her book gives us permission to talk about having PMDD and the pain in our lives.”

―Anushay Hossain, author of The Pain Gap

“A brilliant, deeply researched book about living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) ― something that too often is experienced as a shaming, quiet, and personal mystery in a society that is uncomfortable discussing periods or validating their significant medical and mental health impact. Gupta combines memoir and research flawlessly so that readers understand the profound personal impact of PMDD as well as the financial, interpersonal, and societal consequences. This is a critical addition to books about medical issues that are too often under-researched, undiagnosed, and stigmatizing to those who are suffering.”

―Michelle Bowdler, author of Is Rape a Crime?