PMS and PMDD: Managing Mood Swings and Emotional Symptoms

Aditi Sharma

10/5/20233 min read

brown eggs on white textile
brown eggs on white textile

We've all heard jokes about "that time of the month," but for many women, premenstrual symptoms are no laughing matter. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and its more severe version, premenstrual mood disorder (PMDD), can cause a whirlwind of emotions that leaves you feeling overwhelmed. In this blog post, we'll look at what PMS and PMDD are, their associated emotional and mood symptoms, and some practical tips to help you manage the rollercoaster of feelings.

Understanding PMS and PMDD

First, let's clarify what PMS and PMDD actually are. PMS refers to a range of physical and mental symptoms that typically occur in the days or weeks before your period. These symptoms may include irritability, bloating, chest pain, and mood changes. PMDD, on the other hand, is a more severe form of PMS, characterized by intense physical and emotional symptoms that can significantly disrupt daily life.

Mood Swings and Emotional Symptoms

Now let's move on to emotions. Mood swings and emotional symptoms are prominent features of PMS and PMDD. Here's a closer look at what you can experience:

  1. Irritability and anger: Do you find yourself lashing out at your loved ones or coworkers for no apparent reason? It's no wonder that PMS and PMDD turn you into an irritable volcano, ready to erupt at the slightest provocation.

  2. Sadness and depression: Are you feeling depressed? Many women with PMS and PMDD report experiencing feelings of sadness or even depression in the days before their period. The emotional rollercoaster can be exhausting.

  3. Anxiety and stress: Anxiety may also appear during this time. You may feel nervous, worried about the future, or overwhelmed by daily tasks.

  4. Mood swings: One moment you're laughing, the next you're crying. Mood swings can be erratic and difficult to manage.

Managing mood swings and emotional symptoms

Now that we've painted a picture of what you might be experiencing, let's explore some strategies to help you effectively manage these emotional symptoms:

  1. Lifestyle changes:

  • Balancing diet: Focus on eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Reduce sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake as these can worsen symptoms.

  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help improve mood and reduce stress. Even a short daily walk can make a big difference.

  • Stress management: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation or yoga to avoid stress.

  1. Support system:

  • Talk it out: Don't hesitate to confide in a friend or family member about what you're going through. Sharing your feelings can bring a sense of relief.

  • Therapy: Consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in controlling symptoms of PMS and PMDD.

  1. Medication, Tracking your symptoms and Self-care:

In severe cases of PMDD, your doctor may recommend medication. Antidepressants, hormonal birth control pills, or other medications may help reduce emotional symptoms.

Keeping a symptom diary can be a game changer. By tracking emotional symptoms and their timing, you can predict when they are likely to occur and take proactive steps to manage them.

Prioritize self-care activities during this time. Take a warm bath, read your favorite book or movie, or take up a hobby you enjoy.

In short, PMS and PMDD can make life feel like an emotional roller coaster, but remember you're not alone. Many women endure these difficult symptoms, and there are strategies to help you overcome them. By making lifestyle changes, seeking support, and possibly exploring medication options, you can regain control of your emotions.

The most important thing is to listen to your body and take steps to care for yourself during this time. With the right tools and support, you can control your mood swings and emotional symptoms, allowing you to live a happier, more balanced life throughout your menstrual cycle.