In one day you can go from an angry outburst to a crying spell, followed by an anxiety attack. These changing emotions which seem so familiar and plague you often are known as mood swings. They are announcing the arrival of the upcoming storm in your life; your monthly periods. Learning how to control mood swings is the best way to eliminate any discomfort caused by them.
Mood Swings & PMS
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a period of a few days prior to the onset of monthly menses during which women experience a myriad of emotions and physical symptoms due to hormonal changes. Mood swings and PMS invariably go hand-in-hand.
You can often sense the onset of mood swings, but cannot quite put a finger on them till they have passed. Other psychological and physical symptoms during PMS may vary from woman to woman, but mood swings are almost universally experienced. These are usually minor shifts in the mood which do not cause any harm to the person experiencing them or those around. Women experiencing period mood swings find it discomforting, but it rarely causes any long-lasting damage.
Psychological Symptoms Experienced Before Periods
There are no specific parameters for the types of mood swings during periods regarding their time of onset, the duration for which they last, or the exact emotions experienced. Women may experience any type of emotions in varying intensity.
Women may experience the following emotions before or during their periods:
- Sadness of varying degree
- Feeling of loneliness
- Mental exhaustion
- Mild paranoia
- Feeling ecstatic
- Experiencing a sudden urge to cry/laugh
- Anger of varying degree
Other than the symptoms highlighted above, a whole other range of psychological symptoms may also be caused by mood swings during periods.
Almost every girl has got her calendar planned around her periods; and what better indication of periods than the onset of mood swings? Have you ever wondered why you get mood swings around the time of your periods?
What Are The Causes Of Mood Swings?
“Oh it’s just the hormones firing up again.” How many times do women say this about themselves or hear it from someone else? Any situation that causes emotional upheaval for women is conveniently blamed upon her hormones or periods. Yes, hormones indeed play an important role in determining a woman’s state of mind. But this alone doesn’t depict what causes mood swings. Here is a list of other factors which along with hormones are responsible for period mood swings.
1. Changes In Hormonal Levels
Estrogen and progesterone are the two hormones which rule the physiology of women. Their blood levels change throughout the month depending on the date of menses and alter the functioning of almost all other body systems. Elevation and lowering of estrogen occur rather rapidly just before menses, which is directly responsible for mood swings.
2. Associated Mental Stress
Most women go about their daily routine while juggling numerous tasks at once. It is not a rare sight for a woman to be managing domestic chores and an office meeting at the same time. The stress of daily life is different for each woman. The intensity of this stress and each woman’s individual capacity to bear with it are known to control mood swings during periods.
3. Oral Contraceptives
Many women depend on oral or injectable medicines as a contraceptive. These medicines are a combination of chemically synthesised estrogen and progesterone. Regular consumption of such contraceptives will alter the natural hormonal cycle of the body. This has a direct impact on period mood swings.
4. Pre-Existing Psychological Disturbance
Mood swings tend to heighten the emotional sensitivity of women during PMS. Presence of any other psychological or emotional disturbance will trigger the onset of mood swings faster. Women who are battling depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder should take special care when they develop mood swings during periods.
Other factors like lifestyle, physical activity throughout the day, socio-economic status also tend to influence the onset and presence of period mood swings.
How Does It Feel Like To Have Mood Swings?
Mood swings make a person emotionally vulnerable to the slightest of triggers. When the mood swings are a result of PMS the vulnerability increases multifold. It is difficult to put in words what a woman undergoes when she experiences mood swings. Commonly experienced mood swings during periods are explained in detail below.
1. Mental Fatigue
There is a lack of enthusiasm and desire to perform even day to day activities. This may disrupt the daily routine for some women.
2. Difficulty Concentrating
Inability to focus on the tasks in hand leads to incompletely or incorrectly done work. This may trigger mood swings of slightly more intensity.
There is general disinterest in activities which are normally enjoyed. There is no desire to indulge in one’s hobbies either.
Unexplained feelings of sadness for no apparent cause is commonly encountered by women experiencing period mood swings.
Everyone has issues in life to which they are emotionally sensitive. This sensitivity is heightened during or before periods. The emotional reaction to certain stimuli increases considerably in such cases.
6. Feeling Of Being Overwhelmed
Women often feel overwhelmed by seemingly insignificant issues before their periods. These issues may not elicit much response from people in a different situation. Small tasks like getting routine chores completed may cause women to feel overwhelmed if their periods are due.
7. Feeling Irritated
Giving snappish responses to innocent questions, lashing out at others without good reason, getting provoked by minor stimuli are often experienced by women who are about to get their periods.
Mood swings can cause considerable discomfort since they wreak havoc with one’s emotions. Learn how to avoid this discomfort by reading the next section of this article.
Natural Remedies For Mood Swings
When your mood is not good, all you want to do is tuck yourself in a blanket and not leave your bed at all. Sadly, this cannot be done every time you are in a bad mood. When you need to get a task done but just don’t want to do it, all you need is a quick fix to change your mood. Here are some easy DIY tips to help you during your mood swings.
Performing a workout regimen suited to your system will help to enhance blood circulation and pumping of serotonin. Serotonin helps to promote positive and happy thoughts. Active blood circulation helps to flush toxins out of the body which helps to feel fresh and energetic. You are more likely to be in better control of your mood when you perform regular exercise.
2. Dietary Modification
Increasing intake of calcium, vitamins and proteins helps to relieve symptoms of mood swings. If you are experiencing mood swings as a result of PMS, avoid food that contains empty calories. Increase intake of eggs, dairy products, fresh fruits, and vegetables. A person’s mood is dependent on their blood sugar level. Try to eat food which keeps your sugar levels to optimum to avoid irritability or fatigue.
Performing day-to-day tasks and routine work is often stressful due to their repetitive nature. The stress is likely to trigger mood swings. Indulging in meditation, yoga, drinking herbal infusions are known to have a calming effect on one’s mind as they help to release stress. Women often find this helpful during their PMS. Meditation is even helpful in learning how to control mood swings.
4. Break The Routine
Is the mess at your work desk or in your bedroom increasing your irritation? Are you tired of thinking about what to cook for dinner, yet again? Take a break and leave these tasks for a while. Indulge in some painting, take a walk, read a good book or do anything you like. This will help you to return to your work with a fresh mind and reduce your stress.
5. Talk Therapy
Sometimes all you need is to talk to someone. PMS and mood swings can leave one feeling utterly confused, lost and even disappointed with oneself. Speak your mind out to your friends, siblings, parents or anyone whom you consider close. Talking is the best form of venting out. It helps to remain calm and collected.
These basic and easy to perform activities help in alleviating anxiety, panic, depression, and other emotions associated with mood swings. However, more drastic steps may be required to control mood swings at times.
Medical Treatment For Mood Swings
Simple modification in different aspects of one’s lifestyle often helps to overcome the difficulties caused by mood swings during periods. If mood swings worsen despite this it may be a wise idea to consult with a gynaecologist.
You know it is time to see a doctor when:
- Your mood swings do not reduce despite trying natural methods and home remedies
- Your mood swings continue to increase in intensity
- You have any pre-existing psychological disorders
- There is severe physical or mental discomfort due to mood swings
- Your mood swings cause recurrent hindrance in leading a normal life
Medical treatment in the form of hormone replacement therapy, counselling, psychiatric medication will help in curbing the discomfort caused by mood swings.
Mood swings are not a psychological or psychiatric disturbance, but a physiological phenomenon controlled by female hormones. Open communication and increasing awareness about menses will eradicate the stigma that is still associated with them. Let us be more supportive of other women and help them get over their mood swings without much trouble.