Let's be honest: being on your period is not exactly a barrel of laughs. From painful tummy cramps to raging anger, tiredness, and everything in between, it's the least fun part of the month for many, without doubt. One thing many of us find is that we can get super emotional around the time of our period. So why do we cry so much before our period, and during it, and is there anything we can do prevent it (if we want to)?
If you're anything like me, the week running up to your period will be emotional hell. From crying because you spilt some juice to shedding a few tears over a dodgy commute, everyday things can feel really challenging. And if you actually find yourself with an emotionally distressing situation on your hands, you can forget it. So why is this?
Well, unsurprisingly, it could all be down to fluctuating hormones. While experts at the NHS are unsure about the exact reasons why we get so emotional around the time of our periods, it is thought that the rise and fall in oestrogen in particular can cause mood swings, as Everyday Health reports. There is even a suggestion that our hormones can interrupt brain chemicals such as serotonin, according to Everyday Health. Feelings of depression and anxiety can be a result of low serotonin levels.
While there's no quick fix for managing these emotion levels, the NHS advises being particularly diligent before and during your period in maintaining things like the amount of sleep you get, your diet, and your exercise levels. They also suggest taking mild painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease any pain your may be experiencing as a result of your menstruation, and attending yoga classes to try and reduce your stress levels.
It is pretty normal to experience these symptoms as part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS); indeed, reports show that around 90 percent of us suffer some kind of PMS side effects, according to Huffington Post. But what about if you find yourself suffering more acutely before and during your period?
Well, you could actually be experiencing a more severe form of PMS called Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is basically an amped up version of PMS which can occur one to two weeks prior to menstruation, and can have serious impacts on your daily life and your overall wellbeing. People suffering with PMDD may experience bouts of anxiety and depression, and feelings of extreme fatigue. In more severe cases, it can even become as bad as having suicidal thoughts, according to the mental health charity Mind. PMDD has even recently been listed as an official mental health condition in the DSM-5 (one of the main manuals that doctors use to categorise and diagnose mental health problems), Mind reports.
Mind reveals that those who suffer with PMDD probably do so because they are particularly sensitive to hormonal changes, or because they are genetically predisposed to the condition.
The recommended treatment for PMDD includes taking antidepressants and trying talking therapy, as well as making positive and healthy lifestyle changes. There is definitely no quick fix, but there are ways to lessen symptoms and people who can help. You can head over to Mind to find out more about PMDD, where there is also a great list of resources if you're feeling low or are struggling.