Getting your period is a sign that your body is healthy and operating as it should. But this sometimes comes with some effects that can be challenging – like mood swings during your periods. With a little management, period mood swings need not throw you off your game. We’ve compiled some simple tips to help you through it, as well as advice about when to reach out for help.What causes period mood swings?
First, a few words about what causes period mood swings. Premenstrual syndrome – aka PMS – can cause a roller coaster of emotions, starting up to a week before your period. You may go from feeling like just about everything is about to make you cry to feeling like so angry you could scream – all in one day!
These moods swings are caused by the changing period hormones in your body leading up to menstruation. The dip in oestrogen is especially to blame for mood swings before your period. Oestrogen can cause the levels of serotonin in your brain to drop. Serotonin is one of the important brain chemicals that puts you and keeps you in good spirits.
Some girls also get PMS anxiety as part of their unique bundle of mood swings before their period. Read more here about PMS anxiety.What if I have very severe PMS?
While many of us experience irritability or moodiness during our periods, some girls are prone to more extreme period mood swings. This is known as PMDD – or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
If you experience five or more of the following symptoms during your period, you may have PMDD:
- Deep sadness or despair, with possible suicidal thoughts
- Lasting irritability and anger, which may include frequent outbursts at loved ones
- Feelings of tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
- Low energy
- Food cravings or binge eating
These mood swing symptoms go away after your period. If you feel these things all month long, this isn’t PMDD. Some other mental or physical issue may be the cause.What can I do about period mood swings?
In order to reduce and manage mood swings before your period and during it, there are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make:
- First, exercise! Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are your brain’s very own feel-good chemicals that boost your mood. You know that rush you get after running around or playing football with friends? That’s from endorphins.
- Next, try avoiding caffeine and sugary foods. These spike your mood, only to set you up for a crash later. If you’re already facing mood swings before your period, the ups and downs caused by sugar and caffeine can be particularly devastating.
- Last, try avoiding stress. While mood swings during your periods aren’t caused by stress, it can certainly make it feel worse. Do your best to avoid stressful activities and events before and during your period in order to give yourself a break.
- If all else fails, talk to your doctor about some medication options. Sometimes, going on an anti-depressant only around your period can help. Together, you and your physician can come up with a solution that works best for you.