Most women experience mood swings during menstruation. No one really knows exactly what happens in the body to cause this emotional roller coaster. However it is thought to be linked to changing levels of hormones throughout the menstrual cycle specifically estrogen. Estrogen levels begin to rise slowly just after a women’s period ends and it peak two weeks later. The levels then drop suddenly and rise slowly again before dropping once more just before the period. These fluctuations of the hormone are assumed to be the root cause of mood swings.
Signs & Symptoms associated with Periods:
Not all women experience mood swings but amongst those who do, the range and severity of symptoms can vary. The most common emotional symptoms are: irritability, anger, depression, crying, over sensitivity, feeling nervous, anxious and alternating sadness and rage. The symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before your period starts and continue for the first few days that you have your period. Irrespective of severity of symptoms, after bleeding begins, they will fade away.
Between 3-8 % of menstruating women have an even more severe condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). These women become seriously depressed a week or two before their periods and the extreme mood swings start disrupting their work and damaging their relationship.
How can mood swings be treated?
Diet and lifestyle changes- Regular exercise often reduces premenstrual symptoms. Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, bicycling, or swimming are recommended. Eating small portions throughout the day instead of 2 heavy meals can also reduce menstrual related mood swings. A heavy meal with high carbohydrate concentration is likely to cause blood sugar fluctuation which can make mood swings worse .Avoiding caffeine and alcohol may ease symptoms, too. Getting enough sleep and using relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga also may help.
Medications- Antidepressants and birth control pills help in preventing or minimizing symptomsbut should be taken only after your doctor has reviewed your symptoms. A thorough medical evaluation may determine if symptoms are due to PMDD or some other condition.
So, although some mood swings are a normal part of the menstrual cycle for most women but if you can’t seem to keep your moods under control, definitely consult your gynaecologist.