Do you sometimes wonder, “Why am I so emotional on my period?” Here are some things you should know about period emotions and how to keep them in check.
Emotions are a natural part of life. We all feel the gamut of emotions, from happiness to anger and everything in between. But have you noticed that your emotions tend to be closer to the surface right before your period than at any other time? If you’ve ever wondered, “Why am I so emotional on my period?” you have joined the rank of millions of other women who ask themselves the same question!
Period emotions are often unpredictable and intense. One minute we may be smiling while we lick chocolate cake batter right out of the bowl. The next minute, we might be crying unexpectedly at a cheesy advertisement on TV.
Though these uncontrollable mood swings may be embarrassing and frustrating, we should try not to get overwhelmed by them. Changes in our hormone levels are most likely responsible for our mood symptoms. For most women, the mood swings associated with regular periods fade away within a few days of menstruation. Here’s a brief guide to common emotional symptoms associated with hormonal fluctuations and tips for how you can feel less alone and less overwhelmed by your emotions each month.
Why Do I Get So Emotional on My Period?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what causes our mood changes right before and during our periods. While we know hormonal changes and emotional changes go hand-in-hand, why is that the case? What is it about our fluctuating hormones that causes us to break down in tears at the slightest provocation?
Throughout our menstrual cycle, our hormone levels vary. Progesterone and estrogen are two of the main hormones responsible for the physical and emotional changes that occur throughout our menstrual cycles. About halfway through our cycle, a drop in these two hormones stimulates ovulation. This hormone drop can also trigger emotional and physical symptoms in the days leading up to our period. Incidentally, changes in our female hormones can also cause us to be more emotional than usual during pregnancy. Crying at even mildly sad (or happy) things is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms.
How Do Hormones Affect Emotions?
Are you wondering about the link between anxiety and your period, or depression and your period? You should know that as many as 75% of women experience feelings of anxiety, irritation, or depression right before their periods. So you should never feel alone when you’re experiencing any of these things.
As we mentioned earlier, the drop in estrogen and progesterone levels that occurs about halfway through your menstrual cycle triggers a series of events that may include low mood, premenstrual exacerbation, breast tenderness, and other emotional and physical symptoms. Changes in estrogen and progesterone can also reduce serotonin production. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate your mood and is sometimes called “the feel-good chemical.” When you have low serotonin levels, you’re more likely to feel depression even when there’s nothing to be sad about.
Another thing that can have a big impact on our emotions and mental health is birth control. Taking a hormonal birth control pill every day can alter our hormone levels and lead to imbalances. If you’re currently taking birth control and you experience severe PMS symptoms every time you take the placebo pills, it’s probably time to consider another method of birth control.
Is It Normal To Cry on Your Period?
Crying on your period is almost a rite of passage into womanhood. Most women have done it, and some of us do it every month. Crying for seemingly no reason is a common result of monthly mood changes. That fact might not make you feel less embarrassed when it happens to you, but it should help you feel more normal.
While crying is a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many women, some women may experience more severe mood changes each month than others. Severe depression, pain and anxiety that occurs in the days leading up to your period could be indicative of premenstrual syndrome (also known as PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Unfortunately, experts don’t yet know exactly what causes severe monthly PMS symptoms. It turns out the female body is somewhat mysterious like the old stereotype suggests. Even though we don’t yet know the exact mechanisms behind severe period pain, mood changes, menstrual cramps, and other PMS symptoms, research suggests that these symptoms may be minimized in some women by balancing hormone levels.
Let’s take a closer look at how PMS symptoms differ from regular period symptoms. Women with premenstrual syndrome may experience the following:
Strong period cramps
High blood flow
Constipation or diarrhea (you may even feel like you have irritable bowel syndrome)
PMS can interfere with daily life by making it difficult for impacted individuals to function when they’re experiencing their most severe symptoms. As unpleasant as PMS is, there is another female condition that is even worse. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a lot like PMS, only more severe.
Women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder may experience:
Sharp and sudden mood swings
Loss of appetite
Feelings of hopelessness
Low sexual desire
PMDD symptoms can be so severe that the women who experience them have extreme difficulty functioning normally at work and at home. If you think you may have PMDD, it’s time to schedule a visit with your physician. There may be medications and treatments available to help minimize your monthly symptoms so you can live a more normal life.
How Can You Take Care of Yourself on Your Period?
PMS emotions are real. We know. We’ve felt them. They’re also nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Instead of beating ourselves up when we’re already feeling down, what if we paid closer attention to our mental health in the days leading up to our menstrual period? What if we took better care of ourselves during the hardest days of the month instead of feeling embarrassed about our mood swings? Maybe if we did that, we’d feel less depression and emotional pain during our periods.
If you aren’t sure how to take care of yourself on your period, here are a few suggestions:
Eat salmon and other types of fatty fish when you’re experiencing cravings instead of gobbling down ice cream and cookies. Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acid, which has been shown to reduce feelings of depression.
Avoid salty foods when you’re feeling bloated. Salt triggers your body to retain more water.
Try a gentle session of yoga when you’re starting to feel emotional during your period. Yoga boosts serotonin levels naturally and can help you feel less stressed out.
Try taking a walk when you start to get feelings of depression. Fresh air and sunshine can work wonders for your mood.
Distract yourself from negative emotions by watching a comedy.
Try aromatherapy with soothing fragrances such as rose and chamomile. These fragrances may ease depression and foster a sense of well-being.
As women, we are in a unique position to support one another because only we know what other females go through every month. One way to support the women in your life through their monthly challenges is by talking to them and letting them blow off steam. Honest, non-judgmental communication can work wonders for emotional and mental health. For more life tips written by women, for women, visit Mixhers resources and browse through our selection of informational articles.
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