Between 20 and 30% of women who have menstrual cycles experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause physical and emotional pain, and while it is a common condition, experts do not completely understand PMS. It is believed that hormonal changes during the cycle contribute to emotional changes and mood swings.
Mood Swings and PMS
During PMS, the body goes through hormonal changes that directly affect behavior and emotional state. As a result of PMS, a woman can suffer from sudden mood swings.
PMS and mood swings can be stressful for you and for the people around you. A small percentage of women suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more severe version of PMS and can be detrimental to one's health. Women who experience PMDD are thus more likely to have intense mood swings.
Signs of PMS
Keeping a diary of your periods and keeping track of where you are in your menstrual cycle will help you understand PMS better. PMS usually occurs a few days before menstruation, when the uterus undergoes hormonal changes to prepare for the shedding of its lining.
Emotional symptoms of PMS include:
- Feeling like crying
- Changes in sexual desire
- Exacerbation of existing mental health conditions
- Poor memory
Doctors usually diagnose a woman with PMS when she has at least one of these emotional symptoms accompanied by physical symptoms for seven to ten days and for three consecutive cycles.
Physical symptoms of PMS include:
- Tender breasts
- Body aches
- Upset stomach
- Joint and muscle pain
Treatment for Mood Swings during PMS
Depending on the severity of the mood swings, there are several things that can be done to lessen the effect of them. If you experience mood swings, keep track of what different moods and emotions you feel, what time of day, and what you think triggered the change; it is a good idea to take note of your mealtimes and food choices as well. This will help you understand why you are having mood swings.
Hot baths, aromatherapy, sex, and other activities that relax the body can help and let your body and mind cope with the hormonal changes that happen during PMS. Additionally, eating healthy and exercising regularly will help lessen the effects of PMS symptoms and improve overall health and well-being. To control mood swings in the heat of the moment, try deep breathing by inhaling fully for five seconds and the exhaling for five.
If symptoms persist for a long time and lifestyle changes are not doing enough to help, see your doctor. You know your body best, and your doctor can help you find a solution.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2008). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved December 22, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20020003
- Office on Women's Health. (2014). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Retrieved December 22, 2015, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html