Anxiety and menstruation: what to do if you feel anxious?

The pre- and post-menstrual period is particularly prone to high hormone fluctuations, and can result in a strong sense ofanxiety during menstruation. This pre- or post-menstrual anxiety is one of the recognized symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). When it presents these characteristics only during this part of the cycle, it is referred to as PMDD: premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Period anxiety: a sign of premenstrual syndrome

Anxiety is in fact a symptom of menstruation that can cause mood disorders of varying degrees of severity. This aggravated premenstrual syndrome is generally marked by the following symptoms:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • menstrual anxiety
  • feelings of panic
  • emotional instability
  • irregular flow
  • uterine pain
  • irritability...

There seems to be a link between hormonal variations in progesterone and estrogen during the menstrual flow and the chemical mechanisms of anxiety. For a few days, the women concerned may feel as if they are experiencing a real depression.

What are the symptoms of menstrual anxiety?

Anxiety generally manifests itself during menstruation, with unstable moods, depressive thoughts, high anxiety and general nervousness. Pre-menstrual anxiety can start with simple distressing or depressing thoughts and escalate to physical symptoms such as cold sweats, nausea, accelerated heart rate...

How can I combat anxiety before and during my period?

There is no real 100% effective treatment for anxiety and menstruation, or for premenstrual dysphoric disorder: we don't know exactly what causes it, but the first clue is a drop in serotonin levels (known as the "happy hormone"), traditionally linked to an increase in anxiety. The main way to combat anxiety during the menstrual cycle is therefore to increase serotonin levels by various means.

Relaxation methods

In the face of anxiety, it's advisable to take up a sporting activity, clear your mind, relax and practice meditation and simple relaxation exercises: closing your eyes, breathing... But also relaxation activities in general: the key word is to try to regain control over your stress levels (avoid being late, getting into panic situations or situations that trigger irritability, etc.).

A healthy, balanced diet

An impeccable lifestyle and good health are key to reducing the effects of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, between periods and anxiety. Eating a diet rich in fatty acids, omega-3s, magnesium and calcium can help, as can reducing your intake of salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee, etc. Avoid stimulants and pamper your body!

Taking a hormonal contraceptive pill

A useful treatment for pre-menstrual anxiety is to take a hormonal contraceptive pill. In fact, whenovulation is blocked, there are no variations in hormones, and this can calm your premenstrual anxiety attacks. What's more, knowing that your stress is linked to your hormone levels may be enough to help you rationalize your symptoms and cope better.
If, on the other hand, you're already on the pill, contact your GP to check whether it's still right for you!

The right sanitary protection for peace of mind

In the same spirit of calming period anxiety and avoiding unnecessary stress that could exacerbate your symptoms, use the sanitary protection that suits you best! Menstrual panties are a very practical way of coping with post-menstrual anxiety: you don't have to think about putting them on, they're not an intra-vaginal device with a risk of toxic shock syndrome, and there are no stock-outs... In any case, the important thing is to find the form of protection that's least stressful for you on a daily basis.

What to do if anxiety persists after the period?

Since premenstrual dysphoric disorder anxiety is linked to menstruation, symptoms should disappear within a few days. If, despite these changes in your lifestyle, you don't notice any change between anxiety and menstruation during your cycles, it may be useful to be prescribed treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

On the other hand, if your anxiety or depression persists outside your menstrual period, then it may not be premenstrual anxiety, but a more general condition or another illness. In this case, psychotherapy can help you better understand yourself, take care of your mental health and find an appropriate response.

Period anxiety FAQs

Why do I feel anxious before my period?

Menstruation is a time of great hormonal upheaval. So it's common to experience mood swings, menstrual anxiety and emotional instability. When these symptoms become too severe, manifesting themselves as severe anxiety or panic attacks at every moment of your menstrual cycle, we call it premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This condition can then punctuate your psychological state during this period.

How to avoid stress during your period?

To avoid stress before, after or during your period, you need to follow a few common-sense rules: avoid stressful situations, practice relaxation, enjoy yourself to boost your serotonin levels, take part in sporting activities, maintain the healthiest possible lifestyle and diet, take care of your body... If that's not enough, contact your GP or gynecologist to consider treatments for anxiety!

Can stress affect menstruation?

Stress has a detrimental impact on the whole mental and physical sphere. It undeniably influences menstrual cycles. In fact, it's a vicious circle: the more you stress as your menstrual cycle approaches, the more marked your premenstrual syndrome will be! You may experience mood swings, stomach aches or fatigue that are more severe than usual.

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