The list of what many women go through during their monthly menstrual cycle makes for grim reading. From diarrhoea to the most gut-wrenching cramps, migraines, acne breakouts and many more, they endure some of the most traumatising and recurrent pains all year long. And that’s just the physical aspect of things.
The mental pressure of menstruation
So many women find that about a week to their period, they are sad for no explainable reason; or they’re anxious, tired, angry, teary, forgetful, unusually absentminded etc. These symptoms make up what is known as Premenstrual Syndrome, and up to 75% experience its discomfort to varying degrees.
And why the heck does this happen?
Many experts believe that premenstrual syndrome could be linked to hormonal fluctuations that happen during the menstrual cycle. Once eggs are released, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. The result of this drop is the manifestation of the physical and emotional changes mentioned above.
The reduction in estrogen and progesterone levels also influence serotonin levels. Mind you, serotonin is what regulates your mood, sleep cycle, and appetite. So whenever you’re experiencing trouble with sleep, sharp mood swings, sadness and unusual food cravings some days to your period, just know that those are just your hormones doing their thing.
All the hormone-influenced mental health issues mentioned above may be worse as women who have pre-existing mental health conditions approach their monthly flow.
So for women already battling with clinical depression, anxiety and/or other mental health conditions, don’t be surprised if you relapse or if the condition worsens for a few days leading up to your period.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Per Healthline: “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is very similar to PMS, but its symptoms are more severe. Many people with PMDD report feeling very depressed before their period, some to the point of thinking about suicide. While recent research estimates about 75 percent of women have PMS during their reproductive years, only 3 to 8 percent have PMDD.”
What to do when you experience any form of menstrual depression
From a generic perspective, lifestyle and nutritional adjustments could help a bit. So, a more conscious intake of balanced meals, cancelling alcohol, sugar, fatty food and other unhealthy foods and substances would be great. Exercising would be great as well.
But ultimately, this may only make a significant difference when you combine them with prescription or other directives from a licensed medical doctor.
Although it is said that [calcium] supplements may also help, it is important to speak to a doctor before taking supplements to treat premenstrual depression or any other condition.