I always hear girls complain about period cramps and bloating, but when I get my period, I get really emotional and it’s horrible. I don’t just do silly things like cry during commercials. I feel genuinely depressed and miserable and lonely, even though I have friends and a boyfriend. Sometimes I start to feel really anxious, like I can’t do anything right and I’m worried about everything. I always get super angry, too, and I just feel mad at people for no reason – it makes me start fights and I know it’s irrational but I can’t stop! I don’t know what to do. I’m not this emotional any other time except when I get my period. It’s ruining my relationships and making me feel terrible. Is this normal? How can I deal? I’m already on the birth control pill.
Your period can do a lot of annoying things to your body – including making you overly emotional. PMS doesn’t just mean cramps, bloating, and headaches; it can also mean strong emotional reactions that are otherwise very unlike you. However, there is a line between normal PMS emotions and abnormal ones. To find out how to deal with this reaction, I contacted my friend Dr. Sherry Ross – for advice. She’s from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period package you need in your life ASAP). She fills us in on how to try to avoid these negative symptoms.
Dr. Ross says, “Normal and common emotional changes caused by PMS include mood swings, depression, crying spells, irritability, and anxiety. As long as these emotional symptoms are manageable through lifestyle changes and aren’t affecting your work or personal life, they are not a cause for concern.” So, yes, it’s pretty normal to experience feelings of depression, anxiety, and irrational anger when you’re about to get your period. We’ve all had those PMS days where we can’t manage to get out of bed, so we miss class or work. But if your emotions prevent you from doing anything, or make you attempt something suicidal, or actively mess up your life in some way every single month, then yes, something might be wrong.
Dr. Ross added, “The majority of symptoms caused by PMS can be treated with diet, exercise, and avoiding certain foods. There are some things you can try doing that, even if they seem weird, might help you control your emotions.” These suggestions from Dr. Ross include:
1. Taking vitamins such as calcium, Vitamin’s E, D, thiamine, magnesium, and Omega 3 Fish Oil pills.
2. Eating healthy foods including fresh fruits, veggies, proteins like fish and chicken, and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and brown rice. You might crave salty items, but excess salt will make you bloated, tired, and drain your energy.
3. Green tea is a great natural diuretic and can serve as a comforting beverage.
4. Exercise! It might be the last thing you want to do when overwhelmed by PMS, but regular exercise four to six times a week for a minimum of 30minutes is useful. It keeps cramps away, but it also releases endorphins and is a natural way to lift your mood.
5. Try acupuncture, yoga, or meditation to control mind mood changes and other emotional side effects of PMS.
If none of these things work at all, and you feel like your emotions are taking over, see a gynecologist and/or a therapist. You might need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. You might just need talk therapy. And maybe you need to switch birth control pills – the Pill should, ideally, help control your emotions, not make them worse. If it is, you might be getting too much estrogen.