Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects many women of childbearing age. Most women feel mood changes in the days before their menstruation.
While menstrual symptoms like irritability, anger, and mood swings are a monthly bother for most women, severe PMS can be emotionally devastating for some.
Fortunately, treating PMS with medication and lifestyle changes can help you control mood changes and other emotional difficulties. These symptoms will disappear after menstruation starts.
Does PMS affect emotions?
PMS can cause wild, uncontrollable mood swings in some women. They may go from crying spells to angry outbursts and anxiety attacks, then back to a stable emotional state all in one day. Some of the most common symptoms of PMS include:
Feeling nervous and anxious
Alternating sadness and rage
Why are my emotions altered around my menstrual cycle?
Emotions are altered due to the rise of your hormones, specifically estrogen, throughout the menstrual cycle. These hormonal peaks are thought to cause mood swings and other menstrual symptoms.
Can mood swings be extreme during periods?
Yes, mood swings can be at their peak or extreme, and PMS is considered severe when this occurs. About 3 to 8% of menstruating women have a more severe condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). These women become seriously depressed a week or two before their periods. With PMDD, major depression and extreme irritation are the foremost symptoms.
How do I know if I have PMDD?
While you need to visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis, you must have at least five of the following symptoms around the time of your period to be diagnosed with PMDD;
Deep sadness or despair, with possible suicidal thoughts
Lasting irritability and anger, which may include frequent outbursts at loved ones
Feelings of tension or anxiety
Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
Trouble thinking or focusing
Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
Food cravings or binge eating
How can I treat PMS?
Consume small, frequent meals
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sweets
Learn how to manage stress
Talk to your doctor about which approaches might work best for any moderate or severe emotional PMS symptoms you're experiencing. Don't self-medicate, as it could be dangerous.