Feeling Depressed Before Your Period
Cramps and cravings may be the more famous PMS symptoms, but feeling depressed ahead of your period is also common and can be even more difficult to handle. Many of us have experienced those pre-period days where everything suddenly feels hopeless or overwhelming.
This is normal. But that doesnt mean you have to just deal with PMS depression each month. Theres a biological reason behind these emotions, as well as ways to get relief from the sadness and physical symptoms that impact our mood.
Solutions For Dealing With Pms Depression
Many women experience complete relief from PMS depression once their periods begin, but there are also lifestyle changes you can make to reduce symptoms.
Nutrition is a great place to start. A diet high in whole foods including grains, fruits and vegetables can help you feel better all month long. Watch how much salt, caffeine and alcohol you consume because these can all worsen PMS symptoms. Vitamins formulated for menstrual health are another easy way to support a healthy menstrual cycle overall .
Exercise is proven to be a mood-booster and helps with physical symptoms as well. Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises can help you reduce stress and get better sleep. If aches and pains have you feeling down, over-the-counter medication may help or you can get natural, targeted relief from cramps with heat patches.
Feelings of depression before your period can range from mild to severe enough that its best to seek professional help. If you think you may have PMDD, contact your doctor. Medication such as birth control or antidepressants may be necessary to regulate your hormones. If you are unclear whether your feelings of depression are related to your period, try using a period tracker to follow when the symptoms begin and end to get more insight.
Your Symptoms Are All Emotional
PMS includes a whole host of physical symptomslike breast tenderness, bloatingalong with emotional symptoms like mood swings. “When it crosses over to where the symptoms are mostly emotional and are really interfering with your life, that could be PMDD,” says Patricia J. Sulak, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Texas A& M Health Science Center College of Medicine and the director of the adolescent sex education program at Scott & White Clinic and Memorial Hospital, in Temple.
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Can Birth Control Make You Anxious
Did you know that theres been a well-documented relationship between hormonal birth control use and anxiety? I have a whole article on birth control and mood swings that goes deeper on this topic.
The pill specifically depletes the body of nutrients, notably B vitamins that are required to produce serotonin and GABA, which again is critical for preventing anxiety and panic attacks. Its one of the reasons experts think that many women on hormonal contraception experience an increase in anxiety and depression.
In fact, mood disorders are one of the most common unpleasant side effects women cite for discontinuing the use of the pill.
In addition, birth control can shift the gut microbiome, lead to inflammation, and provides synthetic hormones that dont appear to offer the same benefits as the ones we make when it comes to brain health. This is an area where we need a lot more research to understand the correlation between birth control and mood symptoms.
In my best selling book, Beyond the Pill, I talk about ways to reverse these side effects and support your body on birth control. I also teach you all about your hormones and how to optimize them so you can live both anxiety and symptom free.
If you’re on birth control now, looking to transition off, or have already stopped then grab my free support guide to help you on your journey.
Track Your Monthly Symptoms
Keep a track of each of your symptoms each month, their severity and on which days they occur via a daily log.
This exercise is very helpful in helping your doctor diagnose PMDD, and will also help you predict the days on which you are most likely to experience symptoms. This will make sure you are not caught off guard, and can help prepare for them.
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Estrogen As An Antidepressant
Estrogen treatment is widely believed to improve depressive symptoms in menopausal women,- but study results are inconclusive because of large variations in study design and measures, hormonal status and diagnosis of the subjects, the estrogen compound, dose, and duration of use, and failure to find an effect greater than the placebo response.-
Burt et al identified six studies that included perimenopausal women for estrogen treatment of depressive symptoms. Only two studies were placebo-controlled only one of these showed significant improvement with estradiol compared with placebo after 4 months of treatment, but the treatment advantage over placebo was not sustained after 12 months of treatment. In an uncontrolled study of women judged to be depressed or not depressed on the basis of the Beck Depression Inventory, only the group that was not depressed responded to standard replacement doses of conju-gated estrogen. Pharmacologic doses of estradiol showed improvement greater than placebo in women diagnosed with depressive disorders and in a study of postmenopausal women with scores signifying mental distress . Conclusions cannot be drawn from the conflicting results of these studies, which are limited by designs that do not clearly identify essential variables, such as menopausal status and diagnosis of depression, and also lack comparability in the form and dose of estrogen treatment.
Why Do I Feel Depressed When I Have My Period
When my period comes, I feel ill and depressed. I don’t want to do anything. My period is heavy and I don’t go to school because of the cramps. It rules my life and I can’t go out at all. Please help. Vicki*
It’s normal to have the blues or feel sick before and during a period. As hormone levels rise and fall during a girl’s menstrual cycle, it can affect the way she feels, both physically and emotionally. This is known as premenstrual syndrome and it can make a girl feel like hiding in bed with the covers over her head.
Luckily, you can do a few things to ease PMS symptoms. Try eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting back on processed foods like chips and crackers. Reduce the amount of salt you eat and drink more water. Say no to caffeine and yes to foods with calcium and whole grains. And get plenty of sleep at night.
Occasionally, PMS symptoms might include feelings of extreme depression and hopelessness. If this is the case, speak with your doctor it may be a sign something else is going on.
Heavy bleeding every so often, especially at the beginning of your period, is probably nothing to worry about. But if you soak through a pad or a tampon in an hour or less, call your health care provider, who can check you out to make sure everything’s OK.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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How To Treat Anxiety
Dr. Hall and Dr. Ross have a few recommendations for feeling better when your anxiety has been triggered. Two holistic approaches are to overhaul your diet and lifestyle.
According to Hall, an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in animal products can help ease the anxiety-inducing effects of PMS. She also recommends avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Staying active with exercise and taking time outs with mindfulness practices, such as yoga and meditation, can also help your body to find balance. Getting enough sleep every night is also crucial.
Similarly, Dr. Sanam Hafeez, an NYC-based neuropsychologist, says research shows that calcium and vitamin B6 are effective in alleviating physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. “Eating complex carbs also helps with PMS,” she says.
Natural Ways To Reduce Anxiety Before Your Period
No matter what the root cause of your anxiety, there are several ways to minimize its effects while you figure out how best to treat it.
While medications like Xanax are often prescribed and effective in the short term, they can be extremely addictive and difficult to withdraw from should you choose to discontinue use. There’s no shame in leveraging medication to get relief. And at the same time, I’d encourage you to investigate why you have anxiety in the first place.
Even if you do choose to go the pharmaceutical route the following natural recommendations can help tremendously as well. And remember, always talk to your doc about your medications before changing or discontinuing them.
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Pmdd Gives Me Severe Depression Every Time I Get My Period
Before I was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, I spent a lot of time in medical offices, exam table paper crinkling under my butt, crying about my period.
I wasnt in physical pain, but I was severely depressed and having thoughts about harming myself even though I felt fine just days before. A few doctors suggested talk therapy, my therapist suggested I see a doctor, and the antidepressants my psychiatrist prescribed didnt help. Every month, I knew what was coming, but I could never fully prepare myself for the sadness, the uncontrollable sobbing, and the flood of disturbing thoughts that came without warning. My period was ruining my life, and it was embarrassing. As an adult woman, I felt that I should be able to get through the day without dissolving into tears because my period was making me sad.
But for me and an estimated 5% of other people who have periods, its not that simple.
Living with PMDD can feel like a constant struggle against depression, anxiety, and pain, with few options for long-term relief. Theres no month where Im ready for it. Theres no month where its easier, said 27-year-old Morgan Coffey, who was diagnosed with PMDD at 16, when she started experiencing severe depression during her period. It never gets easier, is the worst part, Coffey said.
*Name has been changed
Could It Be Pmdd
Theres feeling a little tense or worried before your period, then theres severe anxiety that can leave you feeling emotionally smothered, dizzy, or straight up sick to your stomach.
If youre dealing with the latter, you might have premenstrual dysmorphic disorder , which is more serious than your basic case of PMS.
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Premenstrual Syndrome And Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Many women experience symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome . In some instances the mood symptoms and emotional components of PMS are the most troubling. To women in such cases, PMS is often referred to as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder .
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a more severe form of PMS, affecting 5-10% of women in their reproductive years. In contrast to PMS, PMDD is characterized by more significant premenstrual mood disturbance that can seriously impact relationships and impair functioning. Many women with PMDD experience clinical levels of depression or anxiety during the week or two before each menstrual cycle. It is not uncommon that the emotional symptoms of depression anxiety and irritability can seriously interfere with normal functioning and relationships.
Common symptoms include: irritability, depressed mood, anxiety, or mood swings. Mood symptoms are only present for a specific period of time, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms emerge one to two weeks before menses and resolve completely with the onset of menses. Women with PMDD should experience a symptom-free interval between menses and ovulation. An estimated 40% of women who seek treatment for PMDD actually have a premenstrual exacerbation of an underlying mood disorder rather than PMDD. Therefore, it is important for patients to be carefully evaluated for the presence of an underlying mood disorder in order to develop the best treatment plan.
For more information:
You’re Extremely Irritable Anxious And Cry Easily
Even if you dont have depression, you could still be a victim of PMDD if you are irritable, anxious, and cry easily. But how do you know if your irritability level is normal or not? Who hasnt had a day where her nerves are wound a tad tighter and everyone is annoying?If your annoyance level rises to the point where youre lashing out at your family or co-workers, you may have moved beyond PMS. And while you may be weepier than usual before your period, you shouldnt be concerned unless you are regularly crying over nothing.
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You Feel Easily Overwhelmed And Out Of Control
When youre juggling family matters, work obligations, and more, who wouldnt be overwhelmed? But when that feeling threatens to engulf you, take noteit may be PMDD. “My patients tell me theyre easily discombobulated when they need to get the kids off to school,” says Dr. Currier. “They feel overwhelmed with their typical day-to-day schedule.””Ive even had a couple of patients tell me in tears that the week before their period was when they were most apt to scream ator even think about hurtingtheir children,” Dr. Sulak adds. “They get to the point where they feel completely out of control.”
Does Hormonal Birth Control Help Or Make It Worse
This works very much on a person-by-person basis. Some hormonal birth control pills help reduce bloating, breast sensitivity and other physical symptoms, as well as minimising emotional symptoms like depression and anxiety. Others, however, have been known to make symptoms even worse. It often takes a few tries to find a method of contraception that works for you and doesnt negatively affect your cycle and PMS symptoms. Always speak to your doctor about the options you have.
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Can Estrogen Cause Anxiety In Women
Estrogen is so important for so many things without it, we wouldnt have our female curvesbut its so critical to have just the right amount of estrogen: not too much, not too little.
Estrogen levels can affect both anxiety and depression.
If you have estrogen dominance, for example, you can have symptoms of irritability. High estrogen + low progesterone = irritability AND anxiety. Fun times.
If thats you, its a sign that something is imbalanced. It’s not a sign that you’re broken, or crazy, or any of that negative stuff that gets passed around society. Its a sign and a symptom, and an opportunity to heal your hormones and heal your body.
Check out my popular Balance Womens Hormone Support formula if youre struggling with estrogen dominance. And be sure to scoop up a copy of my free hormone balancing diet too. Paired together, these tools can help you effortlessly find that perfect amount of estrogen for you.
Insufficient Response To Serotonergic Antidepressants
The overall response of PMS/PMDD patients to SSRIs is approximately 60% in controlled trials, but up to 40% may not have sufficient response. No strong predictors of response have been identified. An expert consensus group recommended the common clinical practice of shifting to a second SSRI when the patient has an insufficient response or is intolerant to the initial SSRI. Augmenting an SSRI with other medications has not been tested in PMS/PMDD studies. Switching to another class of medication that has shown efficacy for PMS/PMDD, such as anxiolytics or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, is suggested, but there are no data that indicate whether nonresponders to an SSRI will respond to another class of medication. Nonresponse may also be due to other comorbid disorders. A thorough review of the diagnosis and adjustments of the premenstrual doses of medication for the primary disorder should be considered before pursuing other treatments for PMS.
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Why Does Pmdd Happen
While the exact reason for PMDD is yet to be discovered, studies have pointed to certain potential causes.
A recent research conducted by the National Institute of Health found that the cells from women suffering from PMDD react differently to fluctuations in reproductive hormone levels than in women without PMDD.
This heightened sensitivity affects the brains chemical and neurological pathways that regulate the mood and feeling of well-being, possibly leading to depression around period.
Is It Normal To Feel Depressed Before Your Period
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Depression During Period: Everything You Need To Know
Feeling depressed before and during a menstrual period is common. Experts believe that these emotional changes occur as a result of fluctuating hormone levels.
Most people who menstruate will experience some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome , including moodiness and headaches.
However, some individuals can develop more severe symptoms, such as depression and anger. Hormones can also cause people to feel nauseated during their period.
Severe PMS symptoms may indicate another condition, which is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder . Additionally, existing mental health conditions may temporarily worsen during a menstrual period.
In this article, we explore why some people feel depressed during a period. We also list home remedies and treatment options.
Hormonal changes during the second half of the menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase, may cause a low mood and irritability in some people.
After ovulation, which occurs midcycle, the levels of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to fall.
Rising and falling levels of these hormones can affect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Examples of these neurotransmitters are serotonin and dopamine, which are both chemicals that influence mood, sleep, and motivation.
Low levels of serotonin and dopamine can cause:
- food cravings
All of these are common symptoms of PMS and PMDD.