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Mood Swings? Its not you! Its your PERIODS

As most women get all irritable during their “time of the month” – just like that the elation vanishes within seconds and then one begins to crave for food and whatever else the mood may be, accordingly the person tends to sway and the reason being PERIODS, period. At times, all one wants to do is scream but there is this overwhelming numbness that wears them out.

A combination of emotions varying from hopefulness to hopelessness, optimism to pessimism, calmness to a sense of irritability and over sensitiveness and to top it all, depression and anxiety just adds on to it, few days before and during one’s menstrual cycle may put individuals in a difficult stance where they are an emotional wreck and it is not their fault.  It is hard to control them, mostly because it is hormonal. That one week of the month can be strenuous but it differently affects individuals’ “PMS-ing.”

 WHAT IS PMS?

PMS, Premenstrual Mood Syndrome or can also translate into Period and Mood Swings can cause one’s emotions to completely run wild. The usual physical and emotional distress that a menstruating individual experience a few days before and during their cycle is called PMS. While emotions are crucial to human interaction; mood swings affect how one functions and interacts with others around but it is still quite unclear as to why women have mood swings before and while having their “TIME OF THE MONTH.”

But there a few causal facts about hormonal changes, chemical changes in the brain, and just depression that can possibly cause emotional dysphoria. There are few home remedies and conservative remedies that can help ease this painful and emotional dystrophic experience.

 In extreme cases, when it becomes close to being UNBEARABLE both physically and mentally, it is literally called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), where it completely makes an individual incapable of even getting up from their beds. According to recent research, it is estimated that about 75% of women experience PMS during their reproductive years and approximately 3% to 8% have PMDD.

Women who have a family history of women suffering from postpartum depression or depression, in general, are prone to experiencing PMDD. Premenstrual Exacerbation is another condition where individuals who are already suffering from existing psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder – becomes worse before or during their periods. The most common trend that has been seen in women who are being treated for their PMS tend to have either depression or anxiety.

WHY SO EMOTIONAL? 

Many experts are trying to do more research to find the exact cause of PMS, but it is most likely linked to hormonal changes that occur in women during their reproductive years.

The hormones that are involved are estrogen and progesterone and a dip or a rise affects the individual’s emotional stability. The ratios of these hormones may also impact the levels of serotonin. During ovulation, estrogen peaks and then suddenly drops right after ovulation, it doesn’t stop right there, both estrogen and progesterone peak. The ratios of the levels of hormones play a role in determining those wacky mood swings. Dr. Livoti puts it this way, “Then estrogen levels drop like a rock and begin rising slowly before dropping again just before menstruation starts,” and sudden peaking and dipping could potentially be the cause of it all.

Furthermore, Dr. Livoti also claims that “Stressful situations, such as a divorce or job loss, don’t cause PMS, but they can make it worse,” as they may lead them to overthink and which may further lead to anxiety and it may prove to be disastrous as mentioned above. Levels of serotonin are disrupted when there a dip in the levels of estrogen, and it is associated with severe irritability, stress, depression, and carbohydrate cravings, all of which are symptoms of PMS. This fact about serotonin needs to be researched further.

SYMPTOMS OF PMS 

Some of the common symptoms of PMS are listed below but different women suffer differently and the list can be endless. It could be physical symptoms or emotional symptoms.

Physical symptoms 

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Binge eating or craving for certain types of food
  • Tenderness or swelling of breasts
  • Muscle or Joint pain
  • Weight-gain due to fluid retention
  • Diarrhea
  • Intolerance to alcohol
  • Flaring up of acnes

Emotional/Behavioural Symptoms 

  • Panic attacks
  • Spells of weepiness or crying
  • Edginess or anxiety/tension
  • Anger or conflict with family, friends, or at the workplace
  • Prolonged irritability
  • Difficulty focusing or lack of interest in usual activities
  • Pessimistic thoughts about being worthless or hopeless
  • Withdrawing from social gatherings
  • Change in libido
  • Craving for Carbs
  • Depression Mood
  • In extreme cases, the intrusion of suicidal thoughts may take hold of the mind of the person PMS-ing

Most of these symptoms don’t last long, they vanish after menstruation and if they tend to last longer, one must consult their physician as it may be some other mental or physical illness.

Treatment of PMS 

Dietary and lifestyle changes can indefinitely improve one’s chances at easing the whole PMS experience. Conservative treatments like relaxation therapy, exercise, eating well with proper vitamin and mineral supplements may help relieve symptoms leaving the PMS-ing individuals with almost no side effects.

Exercise walking for 30 mins and Yoga can drastically change the way one feels, breathing exercises may help soothe the mind and body, especially during PMS. It is also important to resist junking as carb or sugar rush can create a mess of emotions leading to mood swings. At best avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.

Try to balance it out by eating healthy, eat fruits to replenish one’s body, and refreshes your mind. Veggies and whole grains can help balance the blood sugar to avoid any drops which may cause irritability. Finally, SLEEP is fundamental when it comes to one’s overall well-being, be it physical or mental.

If PMS symptoms persist even after implementing healthy conventional treatment, then one must see a physician and consult to consider prescription medication. Also having a support system in place is important.

Having a close circle of folks whom one can trust and fall back on when one feels not so well emotionally either due to PMS or otherwise. It definitely helps to have the right people around, who love and support no matter what the situation may be, this may include the physician as well. It is very important to keep one’s doctor well informed to ensure that the right kind of treatment is given.

P.S. READ Vaginas: An Owner’s Manual by Dr. Carol Livoti, it helps to get to know your vaginas better to be better prepared to face the storms of menstrual mood swings, menopause, etc. This book is one of the best female education books that is easy to read as it is witty, funny, and honest about feminine issues.

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