PMS Mood Swing: The Deep Connection Between Periods & Mental Health

Written by Indrani Karmakar  • 

Have you ever dreaded the arrival of your periods? Not that bleeding for 3-5 days wasn’t a nuisance enough; now you also have to fight all the mood swings and hormonal urges and pretend to be having a perfectly normal day. Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is the emotional and physical symptoms that begin a week before your menstruation cycle (1). Some people report becoming more depressed, while others feel achy and bloated. People who suffer from PMS may experience mood changes in the days leading to and during their period. Mood swings are characterized by a quick and unexpected shift in mood. One minute you may be cheerful and upbeat, and the very next makes you feel low. Other emotional symptoms of PMS include irritability, sadness, anger, and anxiety (2). Here is all you need to know about PMS and how it affects your mood.

Before the arrival of your period, two circumstances might make you more irritable. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Premenstrual Exacerbation. Let’s read on to know what they are.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder feels more or less like PMS, but the symptoms are severe and involve emotions (3). It may cause intense mood swings. Research shows that about 75% of women have PMS in their reproductive years, and only 3-8% have PMDD (4).

Premenstrual Exacerbation

Premenstrual Exacerbation is when the symptoms of an existing mental ailment like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression, worsen on the days of your periods (5).

What Causes This?

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Experts are unsure of the specific origin of PMS, although variations in hormones that take place in the second part of the menstrual cycle are thought to be a contributing factor (6).

In the second half of your cycle, you will experience ovulation. Your progesterone and estrogen levels decline during this period when an egg is released (7). For both emotional and physical reasons, hormones can change.

Serotonin levels are also affected by changes in hormone levels. An important neurotransmitter, it helps control mood, sleep, and hunger cycles (8). Depression, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and strange food cravings are signs of low serotonin levels, typical in PMS (9). Many women suffer from mood fluctuations as a result of PMS.

What To Do In This Situation

While it seems helpless to deal with mood swings or see someone deal with them, there are things you can do to make the symptoms less severe. First, go through the list of a few well-known remedies.

1. Keep a Log of Your Period Cycle

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Make a habit of tracking your period cycle and the feelings you feel at each stage so you may be sure that your mood swings are truly caused by your periods. Also, understanding why you’re depressed might help put things in standpoint and provide some comfort.

Make a note whenever you have any of the following symptoms:

  •  Sadness
  •  Mood swings that come on suddenly and without warning
  •  Fits of sobbing

Anger, impatience, loss of concentration, boredom, fatigue, and low energy are symptoms of sleep deprivation or excess.

2. Birth Control Using Hormones

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PMS symptoms such as bloating and sensitive breasts may improve with birth control techniques such as the pill (10). Emotional symptoms, such as mood swings, may also benefit some people. On the other hand, birth control might exacerbate mood swings in some women. To discover a strategy that works for you, you may have to experiment with several birth control methods.

3. Remedies From The Natural World

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PMS-related mood swings may be alleviated by taking a few vitamins. Emotions of melancholy, anger, and anxiety were alleviated in a clinical experiment using calcium supplements (11). Calcium is found in many foods, including yogurt, fortified orange juice, milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables, and cereal (12). If you don’t notice the results immediately, don’t be disheartened. It might take up to three menstrual cycles for calcium to affect symptoms.

PMS symptoms may be helped by vitamin B-6 as well (13). Fish, poultry, and fruit, as well as fortified cereals, all include it. Vitamin B-6 is readily available as a dietary supplement, but try not to exceed a daily dose of 100 mg.

Changes In Lifestyle

PMS symptoms may be exacerbated by various circumstances related to lifestyle choices. Here are some ways you can improve it by altering your lifestyle.

1. Sleep

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If your menstruation date is still many weeks away, not getting enough sleep can seriously affect your mood (14). You should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night, especially in the week or two before your period.

2. Exercise

Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week. Even a regular stroll around your neighborhood can help alleviate depression, irritation, and anxiety symptoms (15).

3. Stay Stressless

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Stress can lead to mood swings if it is not well controlled. When you start to feel the onset of PMS symptoms, do deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to relax your body and mind.

4. Nutrition

Try not to succumb to the temptations of junk food that are common throughout the menstrual cycle. Sugar, fat, and salt in excess can harm your health and mood. Instead, balance the cravings with fruits, veggies, and whole grains rather than removing them from your diet altogether.

The female anatomy is complex and while most people bear it all with a smile on their face, it does not mean that it aches any less. The more you speak of your health problems, the better the chance for awareness among people who are suffering the same problems as you.

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