The pre- and post-menstrual period is particularly prone to high hormone fluctuations and can result in a strong sense of anxiety during menstruation. This anxiety before or after menstruation is one of the recognized symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). When it presents these characteristics only during this part of the cycle, it is called PMDD: premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Periods and anxiety: a sign of premenstrual syndrome
Anxiety is indeed a symptom of menstruation that can cause mood disorders of varying degrees. This aggravated premenstrual syndrome is generally marked by the following symptoms
- a depressive state
- Anxiety during menstruation
- feelings of panic
- emotional instability
- irregular flow
- uterine pain
It seems that there is a link between the hormonal variations of progesterone and estrogen during the menstrual flow and the chemical mechanisms of anxiety. The women concerned may feel as if they are experiencing a real depression for a few days.
What are the symptoms of period anxiety?
Anxiety usually manifests itself during the woman's period, with unstable moods, depressive thoughts, high anxiety and general nervousness. Pre-menstrual anxiety can start with simple anxious or depressing thoughts and can be accentuated by physical symptoms such as cold sweats, nausea, increased heart rate...
How to fight against anxiety before and during your period?
There is no real 100% effective treatment for anxiety and menstruation or premenstrual dysphoric disorder: we do not know exactly what causes it, but the first clue is the drop in serotonin levels (called thehappiness hormone) and traditionally linked to an increase in anxiety. The main way to fight against anxiety during the menstrual cycle is therefore to increase serotonin levels by different means.
In the face of anxiety, it is advisable to practice a sporting activity, to clear one's mind, to relax and to practice meditation and simple relaxation exercises: closing the eyes, breathing... But also relaxation activities in a general way: the key word is to try to regain control over your stress level (avoid being late, putting yourself in situations of panic or that trigger irritability, etc.).
A healthy and balanced diet
An impeccable lifestyle and good health are the key to reducing the effects of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, between periods and anxiety. A diet rich in fatty acids, omega 3, magnesium and calcium can help you, as well as reducing your consumption of salt, sugar, alcohol and coffee. Avoid stimulants and pamper your body!
Taking a hormonal contraceptive pill
A useful treatment for this anxiety before your period is to take a hormonal contraceptive method. Indeed, whenovulation is blocked, there are no hormone variations and this can calm your premenstrual anxiety attacks. Moreover, knowing that your stress is linked to your hormone levels can be enough to rationalize your symptoms and live with them better.
If you are already on the pill, however, contact your doctor to check whether it is still suitable for you!
Adapted sanitary protection for peace of mind
In the same spirit of appeasing between menstruation and anxiety and to avoid undergoing unnecessary stress that could exacerbate your symptoms, use the sanitary protection that suits you best! Menstrual panties are in this sense a very practical protection against anxiety after menstruation: you put them on without thinking about it, they are not an intra-vaginal device with a risk of toxic shock syndrome, they do not run out... Anyway, the important thing is to find the protection method that stresses you the least on a daily basis.
What to do if the anxiety persists after the period?
Since the anxiety of premenstrual dysphoric disorder is related to menstruation, the symptoms should disappear a few days after. If, despite these changes in your lifestyle, you do not notice a change between anxiety and menstruation during your cycles, it may be useful to be prescribed a treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
On the other hand, if your anxiety or depression persists outside of your period, then it may not be premenstrual anxiety, but a more general condition or other illness. Psychotherapy can help you understand yourself, take care of your mental health and find an appropriate response.
The FAQ of anxiety during menstruation
Why do we feel anxious before our period?
The period around your period is a time of great hormonal upheaval with each cycle. It is therefore common to experience mood swings, menstrual anxiety and emotional instability. When the symptoms become too important and materialize by a strong anxiety or crises of anguish at each moment of its menstrual cycle, one speaks then about premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This state can then give rhythm to your psychic state during this period.
How not to stress when you have your period?
To avoid stress before, after or during your period, you have to follow some common sense rules: avoid stressful situations, practice relaxation, enjoy yourself to increase your serotonin level, practice sports, have a healthy lifestyle and diet, take care of your body... When this is not enough, you have to get in touch with your doctor or gynecologist to consider treatments to deal with the anxiety!
Can stress affect my period?
Stress has a negative impact on the entire psychological and physical sphere. It is undeniable that it influences menstrual cycles. It's a vicious circle: the more you stress as your menstrual cycle approaches, the more pronounced your premenstrual syndrome will be! You could then experience mood swings, stomach aches or fatigue more than usual.
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