Apart from painful cramps and physical discomfort, another annoying drawback of Periods is ‘Mood Swings.’ Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can lift your mood and then drop it right away without a warning.
Feeling sad, irritated, anxious, annoyed and depressed a week before periods is very common and unfortunately unavoidable (but manageable). Not every, but a large number of women suffer a mild to severe premenstrual mood disturbance impacting their daily lives. For most females, the monthly cycle is a breeze, although, for others, it is totally devastating.
But you know what’s the good news? Life is all about balance, and so are your mood swings before and during periods. Some simple efforts to manage stress levels and promote happy hormones are all you need.
What Hormone Causes PMS Mood Swings? Premenstrual Mood Disturbance and Hormones
Women go through different hormonal changes during the Luteal Phase, or the second phase of their menstrual cycle. During the middle of their menstrual cycle, women experience a drop in their sex hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone.
Since the decrease in these hormones affects neurotransmitters in the brain (particularly dopamine and serotine), women experience a range of side effects. From food cravings to sleep issues, cramps, and sudden changes in mood, these side effects are termed Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and PMDD symptoms.
Hacks To Lift Mood Before and During Periods: Dealing with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
No matter how harsh PMS hits, there’s always a way to deal with them. Here are some hacks and tips that will help you uplift and manage your mood swings due to periods:
- Indulge in walking, jogging, comfortable yoga practice, or any other form of exercise regularly. As our body moves and is involved in any physical activity (even dancing), it releases Endorphins, also known as the ‘Feel-Good’ chemicals that act as a natural mood lifter. Exercising also reduces stress hormone levels known as Cortisol, which, when combined with Endorphin release, results in calming effects in the mind.
- Include complex carbs and Omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet. Complex carbs usually take longer to break, help in maintaining steady blood sugar levels, and contribute to sustained energy the whole day. At the same time, Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in the neurotransmitter functioning of the brain, showing positive effects on mood.
- Ensure getting adequate sleep since sleep disturbance can increase Cortisol and impact dopamine and Serotine, resulting in irritability and mood swings. A good night’s sleep also contributes to emotional resilience and restores energy levels throughout the day.
- Drink atleast 8 to 9 glasses of water as it increases the blood flow, relaxes the cramped muscles and helps with period cramps. Dehydration during periods can lead to the feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Not only this, but dehydration can impact cognitive abilities, especially during hormonal changes. Whereas hydration promotes regular brain functioning leading to a stable and precise mindset (and mood).
- One of the best ways to lift mood and handle mood swings during periods is by practicing meditation and deep breathing exercises. A good session of meditation brings awareness into your mental and emotional state by building a connection between body and mind. In fact, meditating regularly reduces the overall stress and anxiety levels, making it easier to navigate through mood changes. Similarly, deep breathing triggers our body’s relaxation response and reduces stress production. Practicing slow and deep breathing also contributes to mood stabilization.
- Reduce your daily intake of sugar and caffeine, especially right before and during periods. Sugar and caffeine-rich food and beverages can fluctuate insulin levels, contributing to irritability and mood swings. Caffeine is also linked to anxiety. Therefore, instead of them, switch to herbal teas, lukewarm water, dark chocolate (sugar-free or the one with less sugar), nuts, and avocado.
- Incorporate gentle body massages and warm baths in your period care routine. Gently massage your abdominal and lower back area with any suitable oil or lotion. Messaging helps in regulating blood circulation contributing to overall physical and mental comfort. Or, take warm water baths (add salt to your bath water) for a soothing effect.
Besides following the above hacks, try consulting your gynecologist for professional guidance. Especially if you experience severe mood swings during periods, a gynecologist may advise personalized treatment, including medicines, therapy, lifestyle modification and counselling.
- Rafique N, Al-Sheikh MH. Prevalence of menstrual problems and their association with psychological stress in young female students studying health sciences. Saudi Medical Journal. 2018;39(1):67–73.
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