How to Manage your Mood Swings
Morgane Leten - Nutrition & Fertility Coach
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, can make you wildly emotional. One minute, you might be ready to scream in anger and the next minute, you’re sobbing over a laundry detergent advert.
For some women, PMS can cause wild, uncontrollable mood swings ranging from crying spells to angry outburst and anxiety attacks, then back to feeling completely calm, sometimes all in one day! Fun times, right?!
In this post, we’ll tell you a bit more about what causes mood swings, how to manage your mood swings and the best supplements for a healthy menstrual cycle.
What Causes Mood Swings?
Mood swings tend to strike during the week before your period. These premenstrual syndrome mood swings can be unpredictable and are a result of your changing hormones. Before your period, estrogen takes a nosedive. This causes the levels of serotonin in your brain to drop and serotonin – also known as the happiness hormone – is what helps keep you smiling.
In addition to feeling low and moody, you might also experience anxiety as part of PMS-related mood swings. Other symptoms include things like irritability, depression, fatigue and insomnia. You may also feel like you can’t think clearly or react well to stress. There’s no sugar-coating this, ladies. It sucks.
Experts still aren’t sure about the exact cause of PMS but they say it is likely caused by hormonal changes during the second half of your cycle.
When you ovulate (about halfway through your cycle), your body releases an egg which causes estrogen and progesterone levels to drop. A shift in these hormones can lead to both physical and emotional symptoms. Cue: premenstrual syndrome mood swings.
These hormonal changes also impact serotonin levels. This is a neurotransmitter that helps regular your mood, sleep cycle and appetite. When your serotonin dips, it can make you feel sad, irritable and cause sleep disturbances and food cravings – all common PMS symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of PMS
According to experts, you should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms if you suspect you’re suffering from premenstrual syndrome.
Emotional and Behavioral Signs
- Low mood
- Random crying spells
- Mood swings
- Unexplained anger
- Food cravings
- Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
- No interest in socialising
- Trouble focusing
- Low or no sex drive
Physical Signs and Symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Sleepiness and fatigue
- Weight gain
- Sore breasts
- Acne flare-ups
- Trouble pooping – diarrhea or constipation
For some women, PMS symptoms can be so bad that they impact their daily life. But the guud news is that regardless of the severity of your symptoms, they usually go away on their own within a few days. Phew!
However, for a small number of women, the symptoms persist and can be debilitating. This form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD signs and symptoms include severe depression, mood swings, anger, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension.
Can The Pill Help With Mood Swings?
Is there a way to manage PMS mood swings? For some women, hormonal birth control methods like the pill, the vaginal ring or the patch can help with the emotional symptoms of PMS like mood swings. But for others, hormonal birth control can actually make mood swings worse!
Doctors are often quick to prescribe the pill for PMS-related symptoms, but it is important to remember that the pill contains artificial hormones that suppress some natural hormonal patterns in your body such as ovulation. Remember, the pill doesn’t address the root cause of your PMS. It’s just a quick fix, which is not ideal in the long term. Consider making some changes to your diet or exercise routine first to see if you can improve your PMS symptoms and support your menstrual cycle.
Scared of quitting the pill? We got you! Read this article to help you take the first steps.
If you do decide to get back on the pill to try to help reduce your mood swings or other menstrual issues, it’s important to understand how it impacts your body.
What Can You Do About Mood Swings?
There’s no magic pill that can take away your mood swings, but the Guud news is that some simple lifestyle changes may have an impact. Here are our suggestions:
- Try to reduce stress. Mood swings before your period aren’t caused by stress, but if you’re already stressed, things are just going to get worse. It’s not always possible, but try to avoid planning or participating in stressful events in the week leading up to your period. Planning to move? Taking a driving test? Looking after your kids solo while your partner is away? See if you can move these things out a week or two! You’ll be thankful you did!
- Get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and during this time, endorphins are in short supply. Even short bouts of exercise can release these feel-good chemicals that help boost your mood. Short on time? It doesn’t need to be an hour-long cycling class. Do 30 burpees in your living room or a short 15-minute circuit of jump squats, jumping jacks and push-ups. Just get your heart rate up and your mood is bound to follow.
- Sleep! Not getting enough sleep at any point in your cycle is a mood killer, but it’s especially bad in the week before your period. Try to get at least 7-8 hours a night, especially in the week leading up to your period.
- Try to avoid caffeine and sugary foods. These may bring you up, but it’s only temporary. You’ll crash later and feel the impact. Nourish your body with healthy food instead.
- Go for a balanced diet. Studies have shown that certain foods that contain magnesium and healthy fats (omega-3) contribute to normal psychological function, which can have an added value on your mood and mind.
What About Natural Remedies for Mood Swings?
We just said it above. There are vitamins and minerals that contribute to normal psychological function, your energy levels and your hormones. Therefore, make sure you have a balanced diet. Still have questions? Talk to us. We can help you.