Feeling Depressed Before During Or After Period
Do you tend to feel depressed before, during or after your period? Check out these helpful recommendations from our lady friends.
Do you ever feel depressed around your period, either before, during or after?
Is it normal to feel that way?
What can you do to improve your mood and energy level around menstruation?
In our most recent Q & A call, we went around the table and each shared one of the challenges we were facing in our menstrual cycles or life situations where we hoped to receive support from the group.
A couple of ladies brought up their respective challenges in dealing with sadness and depression around the time of their period.
Here are some suggestions that emerged from the participants. I hope you find them helpful on your journey as well
Quick Read Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Is Legit
- PMS and PMDD resemble each other but PMDD is way worse.
- Mood-related symptoms interfere with everyday activities and relationships.
- The exact cause is unknown, but hormones play a role.
- PMDD wont go away on its own it requires treatment.
Ever have a day when everything in your life is exactly the same as yesterday but it suddenly feels like the bottom has dropped out? When your psyche feels like a raw wound?
Thats what premenstrual dysphoric disorderor PMDDfeels like. Its premenstrual syndrome to the nth degreewhen your feelings reach debilitating extremes that interfere with your relationships or your ability to function, and sometimes even your desire to go on living.
I Was One Of The Walking Depressed Some Of My Clients Are Too
We have many of the symptoms of clinical depression, but we are still functioning.
On the surface, people might not know anything is wrong. We keep working, keep going to school, keep looking after our families.
But were doing it all while profoundly unhappy. Depression is negatively impacting our lives and relationships and impairing our abilities.
Our depression may not be completely disabling, but its real.
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Diagnosing Cramps But No Period
Remember, if you have period cramps but no blood or period it can be caused by your reproductive system, gut, immune system or may even be a sign of pregnancy. So it’s worth consulting your doctor, especially if your cramps are persistent or severe.
When you feel cramps, jot it down in a journal. What day is it? What time of the month in your cycle? Are you cramping before a period? How does it feel? How long does it last? What did you eat?
This can help your doctor better understand what might be causing your late period pains and how to best treat your pain.
Common tests your doctor might perform to determine the cause include:
- An ultrasound
- A pelvic exam
- A Laparoscopy .
Understanding different causes of cramping and their associated symptoms can help you take the appropriate steps towards regaining your health. Severe cramping is never normal. Mild to moderate cramping and lower back cramps also doesnt have to be normal with the right holistic steps.
If you are experiencing cramps related to your menstrual cycle check out my 21-day hormone revolution detox. Itll help you hit the reset button on your hormones and start moving towards a period free of cramps.
Finding A Way Forward
For Lily, finding out that she had PMDD was a lifesaver. Before I understood what was going on it was like Id spend three weeks feeling more and more panicky, like oh, its coming, and the fourth just losing my mind. But after being diagnosed, she says, things have become brighter and easier. Lilys gynecologist put her on birth control and shes learned some techniques to help her manage her emotions. Before it was like a tsunami, she says, uncontrollable and just totally devastating. Now its more like little waves. Its not perfect, but it is a lot easier and I can deal with that.
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Give Yourself Permission To Be Emotional
This is the first step â and it’s also the most important. In our culture, women are discouraged from acting overly emotional, lest we fulfill the stereotype of the “moody bitch” or the woman destabilized by her period. But think about it: why does being emotional inherently make you weak? Couldn’t it actually also be a strength to be regularly confronting oneself?
“Society looks down on women being emotional, because clear-headed rational decision-making is prized, but our emotions provide important information that cannot always be deduced using pure logic,” Sueskind tells Bustle. “Emotions can alert you to pause and reflect before proceeding with a particular course of action, allowing you to make more thoughtful decisions you are likely to feel good about down the line.”
Now’s your time to embrace and confront the things you may have been too happy to notice the rest of your cycle, when your estrogen and serotonin levels are higher. “It is normal to feel things. This is an opportunity to feel them deeply and then let them out. Scream into your pillow,” Dr. Holland suggests. It also helps to give your feelings a name, whether by journaling or talking with friends. The point is, accept the fact that you’re feeling emotional, don’t bottle it up.
Crying During Anxiety Attacks
Its also not uncommon to feel like crying before, during, or after an anxiety attack. Many people feel impending doom, as though they are about to die. They respond by crying because thats a natural response to a feeling of intense dread along with the physiological reaction that occurs during a panic episode.
After an anxiety attack is over, others may still experience the intense emotions, often regarding the helplessness, they felt during the attack. Panic attacks are so intense that, when theyre over, the need to cry is natural and expected. Not everyone cries after anxiety attacks, but the intensity makes it natural to feel like crying.
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How Is Pmdd Managed Or Treated
Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of these treatments to help manage PMDD:
- Antidepressants to help manage your brains serotonin levels.
- Dietary changes, such as cutting back on salty, fatty or sugary foods and caffeine.
- Over-the-counter pain medicines to ease cramps , headaches, breast tenderness and other physical symptoms.
- Regular exercise to improve mood.
- Stress management tools, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation.
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“I’m overly emotional for the week before my period. Saying that makes it sound like it’s not that bad but I get so distraught that my fiance has actually scheduled it in his phone as ‘blood sport’ to remind himself what’s coming. I’m thankful that he’s patient because I also feel like everyone hates me that week, too.” Kenlie T., 36, New Orleans, LA
“All month long I’m fine and feel even and calm and then suddenly, the week before my period, I can’t handle even the tiniest little thing. My irritability goes through the roof and I feel like I have no friends. It really makes me sad.” Jessica S., 28, Broomfield, CO
“I know my period is coming because all of a sudden all of my joints hurt, especially my knees and ankles. I also get crazy gnarly cramps and once I even had a cyst that ruptured while I was on a date and the guy had to take me to the hospital! It was so embarrassing. Thankfully my husband now is very understanding when this time rolls around each month. The worst part is people who just think I make this stuff up. Some months are better than others and sometimes the pain is completely debilitating! My emotions are also a rollercoaster. Anytime I see something cute or inspiring, I burst into tears.” Ivie C., 21, Rexburg, ID
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If You Can Take A Mental Health Day
On that note, if you’re just feeling like utter emotional sh*t, consider working from home, or giving yourself permission to take a mental health day.
“I vote for this anytime you can get away with it. We work too much, too long, too often,” Dr. Holland says. “Take a page from France and realize you don’t need to be available 24/7. And if you are, then you should be entitled to take off a full 24 now and again. HR and your boss should know by now that downtime makes you more productive, not less.” Watch a movie that will give you a good cry, journal, organize your home, bake â just give yourself permission to do whatever feels kindest to yourself.
You’re More Susceptible To Pain And You’re Experiencing More Of It
Physical pain is never a pleasant thing to endure. Think about someone who has a splitting headache or a gnarly stomachache. Do you find them to be a joy to be around? Are they smiley and up for anything? No, of course not. They’re probably easily annoyed by your antics and just want to be left alone. Not only are you dealing with cramps before and during your period, but hormonally, as Dr. Holland explains in Moody Bitches, “your pain tolerance is at its lowest point during PMS. Not a great time to go to the dentist or get waxed.” It’s a double whammy.
Dr. Dweck reminds us that being in pain can “make people irritable,” so don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling emotional as you’re reaching for the Midol â nobody is happy-go-lucky when they’re experiencing discomfort. Put on an electric blanket and sip on some chamomile tea to relax yourself through the pain.
Key Points About Pmdd
PMDD is a much more severe form of t premenstrual syndrome .
The exact cause of PMDD is not known.
- The main symptoms that distinguish PMDD from other mood disorders or menstrual conditions is when symptoms start and how long they last.
- Symptoms of PMDD are so severe that it affects your ability to function at home, work and in relationships.
- Aside from a complete medical history and physical and pelvic exam, there are very few tests to diagnose the condition.
- Over the course of a year, during most menstrual cycles, 5 or more of the following symptoms must be present:
- Depressed mood
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Insomnia or feeling very sleepy
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
Pinpointing The Cause Of A Missed Period
Of course, the first thing you should do if your period is late is to take a pregnancy test, which can be accurate as early as the first day of your missed period. If it’s negative and you don’t get your period in a few days or you completely skip it that cycle, or if you’re having chronic problems with menstruation, make an appointment to see your gynecologist.
She’ll likely do a repeat pregnancy test. If it’s negative, she’ll move on to some basic evaluations such as asking you about your medical history, doing a pelvic exam, and taking blood samples to check your hormone levels.
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“My PMDD manifests in both mental and physical symptoms. From the time I got my period at age 12, I’ve had extreme cramps and heavy bleeding. I’d leak at school through a super maxi pad every class so I’d tie sweatshirts around my waist and have to scrub my clothes when I got home. It was super humiliating. I’d have to take six to eight ibuprofen at a time to deal with cramps, and if I didn’t I’d end up on the floor sweating like I had the flu. Sometimes I’d even throw up. This meant I ended up spending a lot of time sick in bathrooms and knew where every restroom was at all times. Birth control helped manage the PMDD and other issues, but as soon as I was done having kids, I had a hysterectomy. That was the best thing I’ve ever done.” Mandy P., 39, Mendon, UT
Is Depression The Problem
Amenorrhea caused by chronic stress and depression is called hypothalamic amenorrhea. If you tend to eat more or less than usual when you’re depressed and have gained or lost weight, that also could play a part in your menstrual irregularities.
If your doctor has determined that depression is behind your late or missed periods, getting back on track will be a matter of finding an effective way to reduce your stress and treat your depression.
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Your Serotonin Levels Are Diminished
Strangely enough, the hormonal changes you experience also influence how the chemicals in your brain function. “Neurotransmitters in the brain probably have something to do with PMS symptoms,” Dr. Dweck says. Research suggests that serotonin drops when your period starts, due to all the hormonal fluctuations. Low amounts of serotonin in the brain are associated with depression, irritability, and intense cravings for carbohydrates, which is pretty much PMSing in a nutshell. In her book Moody Bitches, psychiatrist Dr. Julie Holland explains,
Lower estrogen levels cause serotonin levels to drop precipitously a few days before menstruation, which may be the basis of many PMS symptoms. Low levels of serotonin are implicated in depression, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder … you’re even more physically sensitive to pain than usual, and more emotionally sensitive to criticism. You’re less resilient in the face of stresses and feel sadder, hungrier, and more scared, tearful, and angsty.
On top of all that, as levels of estrogen and serotonin rapidly fall, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid also start to disappear when your period arrives. These are two chemicals that boost your moods, put a pep in your step, and reduce anxiety. Without them, you don’t exactly have a recipe for calm, cool, and collected on your hands.
You’re Not Exercising Regularly
It might not feel like it, but your period is a good time to beef up your exercise routine. It fights bloating, helps with digestion, and reduces the intensity of menstrual cramps. More importantly, though, working out can put you in a good mood. “Exercise enhances feel good chemicals,” Dr. Dweck insists. Research shows that the blood flow and increased heart rate keeps away fatigue and floods your brain with happiness-inducing endorphins you desperately need at this time of the month.
Choose what aerobic activity suits you best. It could be weight training, swimming, yoga, or even a stroll outside at sunset. Lower impact movements will probably be best for you when you’re bleeding. Don’t feel like you have to push yourself to the limit to get the results. Remember, you’re shooting for more energy and better moods, not a world record.
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