If you are a woman of menstruating age, then you are likely no stranger to the litany of symptoms that occur ahead of period week. Aside from the cramping, bloating, and soreness, we all know about the societal stigma around period-related mood swings. While the condescending jokes about women becoming “monsters” for a week out of the month can be frustrating enough, there is nothing more frustrating than not feeling in control of your emotions. If you want to find out more about period-related mood swings and how to help alleviate them with everything from vitamins for PMS to taking an oral contraceptive, continue reading.
What Causes Period-Related Mood Swings?
Many people experience fluctuations in mood in addition to other psychological symptoms immediately before and during menstruation. While these symptoms are mild for a majority of the population, some women are hypersensitive to the natural hormone changes that occur during their menstrual cycles. This hypersensitivity is what can predispose them to premenstrual mood swings and other PMS symptoms. However, there are some women who experience symptoms so severe that they are actually indicative of an underlying health condition.
Is It PMS Or Something More?
Premenstrual syndrome or PMS refers to the variety of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that occur just before a woman starts her period. Mood swings are just one of the many symptoms that can occur with PMS. As previously mentioned, the symptoms are typically mild; yet some women who experience more severe symptoms of PMS may have a condition that should be treated with the help of a medical professional.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is an extreme form of PMS. The severity and duration of the symptoms are what differentiate the two. These symptoms can extend well after menstruation has ended and are severe enough to cause significant distress to a person’s interpersonal and professional relationships.
Premenstrual exacerbation, or PME, is a condition that occurs in women who have a preexisting mental health condition that is worsened by PMS. Anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder can become more severe during menstruation to the point of danger to the individual. If you suffer from PME, you should seek out the help of a mental health professional to help appropriately manage your symptoms.
If you are someone who experiences the mild to moderate symptoms that are associated with PMS, like mood swings, then keep reading to find some of the solutions you can use to help regulate your emotions during this time.
How You Can Help
Period-related mood swings come in many forms; this can include feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control, randomly crying without reason, loss of interest in activities, sudden bouts of sadness, sensitivity to rejection, social withdrawal, irritability, and even increased levels of anxiety or depression. Overall, women are up against a lot when it comes to emotional disruption for a week out of the month. While there is no surefire way to eliminate these symptoms completely, there are some things you can do to help. Here are some of our favorite ways to combat mood swings during that time of the month:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: Maintain a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals and includes all the major nutrient groups. Additionally, keeping refined sugars and sodium to a minimum while increasing the amount of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats can help with hormone regulation.
- Exercise Regularly: In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, you will also want to make physical activity a regular part of your routine. In particular, aerobic exercise has been said to lessen the emotional and physical symptoms of PMS and even PMDD.
- Take a Supplement: Taking supplements or vitamins for PMS symptoms can be helpful in reducing the number of mood swings you experience. Try to find one that includes B vitamins as well as magnesium and calcium for best results.
- Reduce Your Stress: Stress can be a major source of worsened PMS symptoms. Try finding ways that you can better manage your stress throughout the month to help reduce mood swings while on your period. Things like yoga, meditation, or even talk therapy can all help to keep your stress levels to a minimum. But also, be aware of what works for you in your own unique situation.
- Oral Contraceptive: If all else fails, an oral contraceptive can be used to reduce more severe PMS symptoms.
Having A Better Period
Having a better period sounds like a great concept if you can achieve it, so if you have felt helpless at the hands of your monthly visitor, it’s time to try some of these tips and tricks. Employ one or more of these lifestyle changes to help regulate your hormones and gain control of your mood swings.