Menstrual cycle and mood

How to Deal with Premenstrual Mood Swings

Track your symptoms

If you don’t already, start keeping track of your menstrual cycle and your emotions throughout its different stages. This will help you confirm that your mood swings are indeed linked to your cycle. Knowing there’s a reason you’re feeling extra moody can also help keep things in perspective and offer some validation.

Having a detailed log of your last few cycles is also handy if you want to bring up your symptoms with your doctor. There’s still some stigma around PMS. Having documentation of your symptoms might help you feel more confident about bringing them up. It can also help your doctor get a better idea of what’s going on.

You can track your cycle and symptoms using a period-tracking app on your phone. Look for one that allows you to add your own symptoms.

You can also print out a chart or make your own. Across the top, write the day of the month (1 through 31). List your symptoms down the left side of the page. Put an X in the box next to the symptoms you experience each day. Note whether each symptom is mild, moderate, or severe.

To track mood swings, make a note when you experience any of these symptoms:

  • sadness
  • sudden, unexplained changes in your mood
  • crying spells
  • irritability
  • poor sleep or too much sleep
  • trouble concentrating
  • lack of interest in your daily activities
  • tiredness
  • low energy

Hormonal birth control

Hormonal birth control methods, like the pill or patch, can help with bloating, tender breasts, and other physical PMS symptoms. For some people, they can also help with emotional symptoms, including mood swings.

But for others, hormonal birth control can make mood swings worse. If you go this route, you might have to try out different types of birth control before you find a method that works for you.

If you’re interested in the pill, opt for a continuous one that doesn’t have a week of placebo pills. Continuous birth control pills can eliminate your period, which sometimes helps eliminate PMS, too.

Natural remedies

A couple of vitamins may help relieve PMS-related mood swings.

A clinical trial found that a calcium supplement helped with PMS-related feelings of sadness, irritability, and anxiety.

Many foods are good sources of calcium, including:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • leafy green vegetables
  • fortified orange juice and cereal

You can also take a daily supplement containing 1,200 milligrams of calcium, which you can find on Amazon. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It can take about three menstrual cycles to see any symptom improvement while taking calcium.

Vitamin B-6 might also help with PMS symptoms.

You can find it in the following foods:

  • fish
  • chicken and turkey
  • fruit
  • fortified cereals

Vitamin B-6 also comes in supplement form, which you can find on Amazon. Just don’t take more than 100 milligrams a day.

Lifestyle changes

Several lifestyle factors also seem to play a role in PMS symptoms:

  • Exercise. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes more days of the week than not. Even a daily walk through your neighborhood can help with feelings of sadness, irritability, and anxiety.
  • Nutrition. Try to resist the junk food cravings that can come with PMS. Large amounts of sugar, fat, and salt can all wreak havoc on your mood. You don’t have to cut them out completely, but try to balance out these foods with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This will help keep you full throughout the day and help avoid drops in blood sugar, which can make you irritable.
  • Sleep. Not getting enough sleep can kill your mood if you’re weeks away from your period. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, especially in the week or two leading up to your period. See how not getting enough sleep affects your mind and body.
  • Stress. Unmanaged stress can worsen mood swings. Use deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to calm both your mind and body, especially when you feel PMS symptoms coming on.

Medication

If other treatment options aren’t helping, taking an antidepressant may help. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common type of antidepressant used to treat PMS-related mood swings.

SSRIs block the absorption of serotonin. This increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Examples of SSRIs include:

  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac and Sarafem)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)

Other antidepressants that work on serotonin might also help treat PMS mood swings. These include:

  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)

Work with your doctor to come up with a dosage plan. They might suggest you only take an antidepressant during the two weeks before your symptoms tend to start. In other cases, they might recommend taking them every day.

Why you get emotional before your period

(Q) I get terribly depressed and teary before my periods, to the point where little things that go wrong make me unreasonably angry. My period itself is fine; it’s just the bad mood beforehand that’s a problem.
(A) Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD) is a variant of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While 20 to 40 per cent of women find PMS has a negative impact on their daily life, the three to eight per cent with PMDD are so affected it can cause all sorts of adverse affects on their life.
It occurs in the second half of the menstrual cycle and symptoms generally disappear when menstruation begins. Symptoms include feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness, mood swings, teariness, irritability, anger, anxiety, food craving, binge eating (particularly of sweet or starchy foods) and disrupted sleep.
Medical treatment usually involves antidepressants but some natural remedies can help in conjunction with proper treatment and medication.
PMDD is more common in women who drink a lot of caffeine, so cut down on energy drinks, cola and coffee. Also reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates. Instead, eat plenty of vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds.
Women who exercise regularly suffer less from PMS and PMDD. Aerobic exercise such as cycling and jogging is preferable as it increases serotonin, the “happy” hormone.
Vitamin E has been found to reduce all PMS and PMDD symptoms, so take 500mg daily. Calcium also helps regulate hormones, so aim to take 1200mg daily. Invest in the herbal supplement vitex agnus-castus, which is believed to decrease prolactin levels, a possible cause of PMS and PMDD.
It’s important to continue and maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle throughout the month, so their full effects can be felt when your energy levels are low or depleted.
That said, don’t dismiss the episode as purely hormonal. When emotions are not so intense, it may be worthwhile to work through this issue with a GP, psychologist or health care practitioner.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 131 114, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. In an emergency, call 000. For a correct treatment plan, book an appointment with your GP.

For more information on mental health and treatment options, visit Beyond Blue, Black Dog Institute, Lifeline, RUOK or Headspace.

GRANA The Cramp Interrupter

When I get my period, I’m really moody and I just want to tell everyone (even guys), “I’m on my period, leave me alone!” Should I?

Here’s the thing about having your period: it is totally normal to feel a little moody, cranky, or “on edge” before and during your period. Most women experience some mood symptoms, although in general, they are fairly mild. However, having your period does not give you the right to take out your moodiness on others, and you certainly don’t want to say or do anything that could harm relationships with people you care about! That said, I think it is totally okay for you to tell people that you have your period or PMS. It may actually help them interpret your behavior – they will take your moods less personally if they know it wasn’t “something they did.” However, if you can, try to communicate your concerns with respect and kindness. There’s a big difference between telling someone “leave me alone!” and letting them know that you need a little space right now to deal with your crankiness without inflicting it on others. Finally, if your mood symptoms get bad enough that it is possible for you to be around others without lashing out at them, you should definitely contact a healthcare professional or your school counselor. For some women, PMS irritability can be quite severe and unmanageable, and in these cases treatment is usually required.

What your energy level is like from week to week in your cycle

05 Nov What your energy level is like from week to week in your cycle

Posted at 11:27h in energy, exercise, hormonology guide, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 by Gabrielle Lichterman

Ever wonder why you wake up brimming with energy one day, but then on other days can’t shake off a brain fog no matter how many cups of caffeine you chug?

One key reason is what your hormones are doing that day. When estrogen is rising, so, too, does your pep. When estrogen falls, your energy goes south with it. But, then there’s the whole matter of progesterone, which can nix your zip even on days when estrogen is climbing!

Confused? Not to worry. Here’s your Hormonology Guide to Energy that shows you exactly what your energy level will be like each week of your monthly cycle.

This way, you can plan your week or month better by syncing up high-intensity activities with high-pep days and low-intensity activities with low-pep days.

Or, when you can’t sync up your activities with your monthly cycle, you can anticipate the hormonal hurdles affecting your energy and compensate for them.

Or, you can simply have peace of mind knowing that when your pep is flying off the charts or you’re more tired than a sloth after a big lunch, it’s just your hormones.

Okay, ready to find out all about your energy? Here’s what you can expect from your pep each week of your cycle:

Week 1: Slow lift-off, buzzy finish
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
There’s no doubt about it–for many women, the first few days of your period can be a real drag on your energy level. That’s because you’ve got a few things against you: Though estrogen is climbing, it starts off super-low; iron loss during menstruation can put you in a stupor; and, the pain of menstrual cramps deals the final blow to your pep.

However, within a few days (maybe even sooner), you’ll notice your energy start to take off as estrogen slowly rises.

You’ll feel this zippy effect even faster if you take an iron supplement and/or eat iron-rich foods to make up for the iron loss and if you quiet menstrual cramps with your favorite menstrual cramp remedy.

By the end of your Week 1, most of you will be feeling a full surge in estrogen-fueled energy.

And some may actually feel a bit too buzzy–perhaps, having a bit of jitteriness or an on-edge feeling–from the sudden rise in this hormone. If that’s the case with you, obviously it’s wise to steer clear of stimulants, like caffeine and nicotine. If you need to take the edge off, try exercising, sipping chamomile tea, meditating and/or yoga, which all help usher in soothing calm.

Week 2: High-flying
Day 8 to Day 14 (or ovulation day in your cycle)
This is the week of your cycle when physical and mental energy peak thanks to high estrogen and a short spike in testosterone.

While this sounds awesome, it’s more of a good news/bad news situation:

The good news: You can speed through tasks faster, tackle mentally or physically challenging project with more ease, stay up late and get up early (or pull an all-nighter) and generally push the limits of whatever you want to do.

The bad news: This soaring mental energy can make you way more easily distracted, making it difficult to focus all this energy on one project–and see it through to the finish without starting another one and another one and another one…and then not completing any. So, your challenge is to rein in your brain and use tools to keep you on task, such as writing reminders on sticky notes around you or setting alarms on your phone or computer to ensure you reach certain points of a project by specific times.

Do you rarely if ever experience a surge in pep during your Week 2? It could be due to a hormone imbalance or other health issue, an overwhelming amount of stress or a vitamin or mineral deficiency. If you and your health care provider can pinpoint the cause–and find a fix–you can enjoy this high-energy phase, too.

Is nothing wrong with your health, stress is low and you still don’t experience a spike in energy? Then, you could be a “hormonally opposite” woman.

Week 3: Screeching halt
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (that’s Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
Grab your hanky and wave bye-bye to all that soaring energy you enjoyed in the first half of your cycle. A sudden–and steep–dip in estrogen coupled by a rise in sedating progesterone is slamming the brakes on your pep.

Depending on your sensitivity to this hormonal combination, you could feel a tad sluggish and foggy or you could feel so sapped, you’re thisclose to a nap all day long.

Chances are, you’ll poop out way sooner than you did in your Week 2, so don’t plan too many late nights unless you also plan to ingest copious amounts of caffeine or take pre-emptive naps in the middle of the day (which may not even help keep your eyes open past 10 pm).

If you’re doing a high-intensity activity that requires more mental or physical oomph than you have, try going for a brisk walk, eating a bit of dark chocolate, sipping a caffeinated beverage or forcing yourself to do something really fast (like reading out loud or typing a letter). All are study-proven ways to clear the cobwebs and up energy. (For some reason, I have a feeling 99% of you made a mental note about the “dark chocolate” recommendation. Just a hunch.)

Week 4: A less foggy finish
Final 6 days of your cycle
Your premenstrual week is so often maligned. Well, I’m going to give you one really good reason to look forward to it: Your body’s level of progesterone dips this week of your cycle–and this means you’re less foggy and tired than you were in Week 3 of your cycle.

Oh, you’re not hopping over shopping carts in a single bound or entering sailor knot competitions just yet. Estrogen is also on the downswing, which keeps your energy at low levels.

However, freed from the tiring shackles of progesterone, you may feel like you can get more accomplished and feel a bit more clear-headed.

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The importance of tracking physical and emotional symptoms related to the menstrual cycle

When it comes to charting your fertility, there are several key biomarkers that are most commonly used. Depending on your specific fertility awareness-based method (FAbM), you may be charting multiple fertility signs (waking temperature, cervical fluid, etc), or even just one. What many don’t realize is that our bodies can tell us much more than just when we are fertile. Oftentimes, these “other” symptoms fill in the blanks when it comes to identifying hormonal imbalances. At the very least, realizing that certain symptoms are cyclical can make coping much easier by allowing you to prepare and know that there is an end in sight.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I hear many physical and emotional complaints surrounding certain times of the menstrual cycle. Tracking these occurrences can help identify if the physical and/or emotional symptoms are hormonally influenced, an underlying disease pattern that has not been identified, or current symptoms are changing (worsening or improving). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common example, with symptoms ranging from anxiety, irritability, weepiness, mood swings, breast tenderness, and cramps. Just a few other symptoms that may be cyclical with the menstrual cycle are: headaches, migraines, pain patterns related to conditions like endometriosis, hives that increase in severity during the luteal phase, and gastrointestinal issues related to hormones.

So why do these challenging symptoms occur in a cyclical manner? Throughout the menstrual cycle, your hormones fluctuate and can have peaks. Symptoms related to these hormones may worsen during these peaks or when the hormones are at an elevated level. For instance, as estrogen rises around ovulation, sometimes more physical and/or emotional symptoms may worsen. Some women experience anxiety for several days during this part of their cycle, and this may be especially so if you already have higher than normal levels of estrogen to begin with. There are also physical conditions like endometriosis (a condition where the endometrial tissue can expand outside of the uterus and attach itself onto other organs or places in the body) where an increased irritation or pain will be experienced because of these hormonal influences. For some women, even the frequency of hives increases dramatically during the luteal phase.

Tracking extra symptoms may seem cumbersome at first, but the information gained can go a long way towards helping you and your medical provider identify conditions and focus on specific areas in need of further medical testing. Additionally, it will let you know if there is an improvement or worsening in symptoms, which can be very helpful in knowing if your treatment protocols are working as intended or when it’s time to seek medical help. I encourage my charting patients to track a number of symptom variables including: when during the cycle the symptoms occur, what makes them better or worse, the severity, and if applicable (for example pain), the location. As an example, some women will have cramps before menses begins: noting the severity, the quality of pain, location, if the pain radiates to another location (like from the low back radiating to the thighs) can really help you and your provider identify a treatment plan and track improvement or lack thereof.

Several other symptoms to consider tracking include:

  • Acne: You will want to track the type, severity and location. Acne can have many causes including hormonal ones.
  • Anxiety: This can happen around ovulation and in the luteal phase or just prior to menses. Women who notice a cyclical nature to their anxiety may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance such as estrogen dominance.
  • Depression and/or aggressiveness: These behaviors can also be related to hormonal changes.
  • Other mood issues to consider tracking include: lack of concentration, desire to be alone, and sex drive. In women who experience PMS, the menstrual cycle can influence the emotional and cognitive processes thereby affecting the reaction time and processing of emotional conflict.
  • Other physical issues to consider tracking include: loss of appetite, fatigue, bloating (which can be increased in the luteal phase), and constipation (which can be worsened in the luteal phase).

Knowledge really is power! Even if you don’t feel your symptoms are significant enough to work with a provider and seek treatment, understanding a certain issue is cyclical and only occurs during portions of your cycle can provide a great deal of relief and peace of mind both in allowing you to prepare and knowing it will soon end. You may also feel empowered to seek help if you can track an increase in severity or length of symptoms in a visual and tangible way on your chart.

This Is Why You Feel the Way You Feel Before, During, and After Your Period

Getty Images

In case you forgot everything you learned in middle school health class, there’s a reason for those phantom cramps that (seemingly) sneak up out of nowhere, and why it feels like you lose 50 pounds every time your period ends. And, truth be told, it’s fascinating stuff. If you’re ever wondering why you feel kind of blue for no apparent reason, or where those chin zits are actually coming from (no, the world isn’t conspiring against you), refer to this straightforward guide to all your period symptoms. Because the better you understand your body, the easier it is to take care of.

And remember, period symptoms can differ by age, environment, and individual. So use this as a handy jumping-off point, but talk to your doctor or gynecologist if you’re experiencing unusual pain or irregularity—or if you’re just generally curious to know more.

Days 1 to 7

What’s Happening to You: You’ve got your period, so both estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest point of the month. Your body is busy flushing out blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus and your bloodstream carries high levels of prostaglandin (a group of lipid compounds that cause inflammation in order to heal damaged tissue and infections).

What You Might Be Feeling: Those prostaglandins coursing through your veins cause several uncomfortable things to happen: Your uterus contracts causing cramps and your blood vessels constrict, which can cause headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea (great).

How to Deal: Ibuprofen (found in Advil and Motrin) should be your best friend. Take two with lots of water, then lie down for anywhere between a few minutes to half an hour while the pain starts to dissipate. Keep hydrating throughout the day to help things, um, flow more easily. Some women find heat packs or hot water bottles really soothing too.

Days 7 to 13 (or Starting as Early as Day 4 for Some Lucky Ladies)

What’s Happening to You: Your period is over—tuck those tampons away until next time. Estrogen is rising while your uterus starts to rebuild its lining again. Meanwhile, the egg keeps maturing in its follicle.

What You Might Be Feeling: Like a million bucks.

How to Deal: Enjoy!

Days 14 to 20

What’s Happening to You: It’s ovulation time, which means your estrogen levels are peaking and the follicle releases the egg into the fallopian tube (only one egg—not two—is released in one cycle). As the egg travels down the fallopian tube, your uterus lining continues to build up. In the event that a sperm arrives and fuses with the egg, the fertilized embryo would need this thick surface to attach to.

What You Might Be Feeling: During ovulation, progesterone levels rise, creating a pretty frustrating domino effect on your mood, face, and body. Along with causing bloating and crabby moods, it stimulates sebum and closes up skin pores, which leads to breakouts.

How to Deal: Things probably aren’t going so great right now. Unfortunately, the best tips for this time of the month seem counterintuitive to what you feel like doing (eating junk food, turning the lights off, curling under the covers, and listening to sad music). But as much as you can, avoid super-salty foods to lessen bloating and try to work up a sweat every day. Exercise endorphins really do help temper moods.

RELATED: When Do You Ovulate: Facts on the Ovulation Cycle

Days 21 to 25

What’s Happening to You: Unless a sperm successful fuses with the egg and starts developing into a fetus (aka you’re expecting!), it’s time for your uterus to purge its built-up lining once again, and for your hormone levels to take a dip.

What You Might Be Feeling: In addition to the previous few days’ ups and downs, now you’re likely stricken with fatigue, hunger, distractedness, and more bloating. It’s not fun, but it does mean your period is right around the corner—and it’s always cool to be able to read the signs your body’s giving you.

How to Deal: Be kind to yourself, drink lots of water, and keep getting regular exercise to stay balanced. Some studies also suggest calcium can play a role in alleviating bad moods, so it doesn’t hurt to get your daily amount.

Days 25 to 30

What’s Happening to You: Somewhere in this span of time, hormone levels drop to and your period will start.

What You Might Be Feeling: Right as your cycle comes to a close—so in the few days leading up to your period—you might experience some extra bloating, breast tenderness, and sporadic cramping.

How to Deal: If you get major cramps during your period, don’t be afraid to reach for the Ibuprofen a few days before it arrives. It’s actually easier to get ahead of the pain rather than to chase it once it starts.

Note: We’re using a 28-day calendar, but it’s completely normal for your menstrual cycle to last anywhere from 21 to 35 days.

Day 1 of your period marks the first day of your menstrual cycle. Many women believe their cycle starts at the end of their period, but this is not the case. On Day 1 of your cycle, estrogen levels are at an all-time low. Estrogen is a good thing; it’s associated with increased activity of serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain.

The average period lasts about five days — although anywhere from two to seven days is considered normal — and yields about 35 millilitres or just over an ounce of liquid.

As your estrogen levels slowly increase, you may feel more relaxed than you have over the last few days when PMS symptoms may have been wreaking havoc with your emotions.

By Day 7, your period is probably gone, and your mood should have returned to normal. In fact, you may be feeling a surge of energy as your ovaries release more and more estrogen. Higher levels of estrogen also make you feel more sociable, optimistic and motivated.

Estrogen levels will continue to rise from Days 8-11, and by Days 12-13, they’re at an all-time high. These high levels of estrogen give you more confidence, make your skin glow, and probably make you feel flirtier. It isn’t a coincidence: These high estrogen levels set off a surge of hormones that result in ovulation on Day 14.

The egg’s only goal is to get fertilized, so all kinds of things are happening with your mind and body around ovulation. Keep in mind that your libido is extra high, and you’re more adventurous and impulsive as your hormone levels max out and you start to search for a mate.

Research actually shows that women are attracted to men with more masculine facial features at this time in their cycle as they are subconsciously seeking a virile partner. Men also find women more attractive when they are ovulating.

But unless you’re trying for a baby, be sure to use contraception as you are highly susceptible to pregnancy. In fact, you’re most fertile one to two days before ovulation, so be sure you’re covered then as well. There’s a sudden drop in estrogen immediately after ovulation, which can make you feel irritable or emotional for a couple of days until estrogen and progesterone levels start to rise again.

The main purpose of progesterone at this point in your cycle is to help make your uterus a nice, comfortable place for an egg to implant. The combination of increased estrogen and progesterone levels often leads to breast tenderness.

If the egg hasn’t been fertilized, your ovaries will slowly stop producing estrogen and progesterone near the end of Week 3.

As progesterone and estrogen levels drop, some women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, which can include irritability, anger or sadness. Some women experience mild PMS, others severe and some not at all.

Your body may be more susceptible to pain, so you’d be wise to avoid waxing, tweezing or getting tattooed at this time.

Hungry? At this point in your cycle, your estrogen — and therefore serotonin — levels are bottoming out. That means you’re craving carbohydrates, which increase serotonin. Luckily, your metabolism is working a little faster leading up to your period, which means you may consume 100 to 200 more calories guilt-free — but don’t overdo it.

Ouch! Many women experience menstrual cramps a day or two before their period begins. Your body has begun producing prostaglandins, which help your uterus contract. Over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen can really help as can heating pads and hot water bottles.

PMS — people love to joke about it, and you’ve probably experienced it in some form or another. But did you know that there’s more to the “syndrome” than those few grumpy, chocolate-craving days before your period? Turns out, your menstrual cycle affects your body and spirit all month long.||||||

“Estrogen and progesterone do a very complicated dance throughout your cycle,” Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, an ob-gyn in Beverly Hills, Calif., tells HealthySELF. “It’s not merely the estrogen, but the balance between the two hormones, as well as other factors such as lifestyle, diet, stress, habits, other medical conditions and culture that affect us and make us who we are during our fertile and menstruating years.”As you may know, your monthly cycle is divided into four phases. Here’s what’s going on during each one, how it can affect you and what you can do to ease any symptoms:

Menstruation – The good news is, as the days go on, your mood lifts, and as your PMS hunger and cravings dissipate, you lose the bloat. “For many, this is when relief of PMS starts,” says Gilberg-Lenz, “for others it’s when the pain begins.” Cramps, heavy bleeding and fatigue can be a problem; Gilberg-Lenz recommends rest, fluids and mild exercise. Heating pads, hot water bottles and old fashioned castor oil packs applied to the belly are also very soothing — for both your mind and body.

Follicular Phase – Whether or not you’re trying to get pregnant, the follicular phase is all about fertilization; estrogen levels are on the rise as your body works to select the perfect egg. Some weight gain can happen during this time (think one-quarter to one-half pound), but Gilberg-Lenz says during this phase of the cycle, most women are emotionally symptom-free. “As the brain starts to ‘tell’ the ovary to get ready to ovulate, estrogen slowly rises and a feeling of well-being and calm prevail,” she explains.

Ovulation – “Time to make a baby!” says Gilberg-Lenz. “Vaginal juices are flowing, blood flow increases and cervical mucous is ready to catch a swimmer.” During this phase, she says, many women feel more easily aroused, interested in sex and just plain sexy, so enjoy it … responsibly!

Luteal Phase – Progesterone peaks after ovulation in anticipation of a possible pregnancy and falls off if one is not achieved, explains Gilberg-Lenz. “Some women notice a dip in mood, bloating and breast tenderness as they approach their period.” In other words: PMS. “Regular habits like a healthy whole foods diet, lots of water, exercise and good sleep really can aid in regularizing this time of the month,” Gilberg-Lenz. “Yoga, stretching and meditation also can help to balance body, mind and spirit, and maintain your mood and perspective.”

Finally, keep in mind that Gilberg-Lenz says there is no such thing as “normal” when it comes to how your cycle affects you. “We are all unique within the confines of a broad outline or pattern,” she explains. But if a symptom is disrupting your life and making it difficult or impossible to maintain relationships, go to school or work, then it’s time to seek medical advice.

Related Links:

New Excuse to Eat Chocolate

What to Eat to Beat PMS

Must-Know Side Effect of the Pill

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What Causes Extreme Mood Shifts in Women?

Many conditions and lifestyle choices can cause women to experience severe changes in mood. These include:

Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms that occur in women 1 to 2 weeks before a period. In addition to mood shifts, PMS can cause fatigue, changes in appetite, depression, bloating, and more. The majority of women — 90 percent — experience some PMS-like symptoms before their periods. The severity of these symptoms may change from month to month. They may get worse or improve with age.

It’s unclear why this premenstrual period causes these symptoms. Researchers suspect that shifts in the hormone estrogen are most likely to blame. In the days and weeks before a period, a woman’s estrogen levels rise and fall dramatically. They level out 1 to 2 days after menstruation begins. These shifts may affect mood and behavior.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe and rare type of PMS. PMDD affects up to 5 percent of women of childbearing age. Symptoms of PMDD include extreme shifts in mood, severe depression, extreme irritability, and more.

Lifestyle treatments alone are rarely enough to treat PMDD. Many women will combine alternative treatments — like stress management and dietary changes — with medication in order to find relief from symptoms, including extreme shifts in mood.

Stress

Stress and worry impact your body and health in a variety of unhealthy ways. One such area can be your mood. Frustrations, worry, and a constant state of stress can lead to severe shifts in mood, along with other psychological issues.

Psychiatric causes

Psychological disorders and behavioral conditions can affect disposition and cause symptoms like shifts in mood. These disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder, and more. Treating these conditions will most likely ease the symptoms of extreme mood shifts and any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

Hormone imbalances

Estrogen may play a role in PMS-related shifts in mood, but other hormones can affect mood, too. Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is a common hormone disorder. It can affect mood and cause other symptoms.

Puberty

Puberty is a time of emotional, physical, and psychological changes in a child’s life. Mood shifts and unexplained emotional reactions can be common during this phase of life.

Pregnancy

Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can lead to changes in emotions and mood. Plus, pregnant women often experience physical changes and emotional stress that can make issues like mood shifts and emotional outpourings more severe.

Menopause

Another major transition in life, menopause, is associated with a period of mood shifts. As levels of estrogen fall, many women experience a variety of symptoms, including changes in mood, hot flashes, insomnia, and reduced sex drive. Some doctors will provide perimenopausal women with hormone replacement drugs to help the ease into the low-estrogen phase of life.

How to Handle Your Girlfriend’s Moodiness

Would you describe your girlfriend as being moody?

Does she go from being in a good mood with you, to being a bitch or throwing a tantrum as though she hates you and you’re the worst boyfriend on Earth?

Does she sometimes appear happy about something that you’ve done, only to be unhappy about it when you do it on another day?

If your girlfriend is moody and seems to love you one minute and then hate you the next, the good news is that it is NORMAL. Why?

Most Women Enjoy Being Emotional

Generally speaking, women tend to be more emotionally sensitive and moody than men.

A woman can be as serious and emotionally sensible as a man in the workplace, but in her private relationship at home, she might be very moody and throw tantrums around her man.

One of the reasons why a woman will throw a tantrum and be moody around her man is to test his confidence and emotional strength.

Will he crumble and become emotionally sensitive when she teases him? Will he panic if she acts like she is losing interest in him? Will he get angry or aggressive because he can’t control his emotions?

If a woman throws a tantrum and her man then loses control of his emotions, she then loses some of her feelings of respect and attraction for him.

However, if he can remain calm and not become overly-emotional about what she is saying or doing, then he is showing her that he is a strong, masculine man who isn’t going to be thrown off course by a woman.

…and guess what?

That makes her feel more respect and attraction for him.

The more respect and attraction that a woman feels for you, the more deeply she falls in love with you.

A woman will love you more deeply when she can see that no matter what she says or does, you remain emotionally strong and masculine and don’t lose control of your emotions or become insecure.

When she can trust in you to be the stronger one in the relationship, it allows her to relax into being a feminine, emotional woman around you.

The more feminine and girly your woman feels with you, the more sexually attracted she will be to you. However, if you are constantly trying to get her to stop being moody and be more like a man, her sexual desire will quickly die away.

You’ve got to let women be women, while also ensuring that you be the masculine man that she needs you to be.

Masculine men don’t waste time gossiping about others on the phone like a girl and they don’t get angry, annoyed or emotional when a woman tests them by throwing a tantrum.

Masculine men are focused, driven and on a mission.

They spend the majority of their time making things happen (e.g. building a career, arranging to meet up with friends in person, following through on life purpose goals, fixing things, etc), rather than going around in emotional circles like a girl.

She Doesn’t Want You to “Fix” Her

When a man has a problem, he will either discuss it with others to work out a solution or he will come up with a solution on his own, fix it and then get on with life.

However, when a feminine woman has a problem and discusses it with her man, she usually doesn’t want him to start offering solutions or to fix it for her. In most cases, she just wants to talk about how she feels about it.

Most women are intelligent and aware enough to come up with perfectly good solutions on their own, so they don’t need men to tell them what to do. When your girlfriend brings up a problem that she is having, she usually just wants you to listen to her rant on about it.

She doesn’t want you to fix it.

It might seem weird to some men that most women simply want to talk about how they feel about a problem, rather than fixing it, but that is women for you.

It’s just the way that most women are – they enjoy getting all emotional about things.

As a man, you might prefer to only discuss problems in a logical, problem-solving manner and might not see the need to get all emotional about it. If that’s the case, then you are a very masculine man (a good thing).

Yet, make sure that you don’t ever expect the same approach to life from your girlfriend. If you try to get her to behave like a man, she will lose touch with her femininity around you and thus will lose touch with her sexual attraction to you.

How to React to Your Girlfriend’s Mood Swings

One of the keys to successfully maintaining the attraction of a woman and keeping the spark alive in a relationship is to mix it up.

Don’t always respond or react in the same way every time she gets into a bad mood, throws a tantrum or starts an unnecessary argument. Here are 9 ways to handle or deal with her mood swings:

  1. Laugh at her.
  2. Tickle her.
  3. Pretend to get angry at her. When you see that she is shocked, laugh and then either walk off, smack her on the ass or just stand there looking at her with a smile.
  4. Walk out of the room without saying a word or showing any emotion. She’ll likely follow you and demand a response, to which you can then laugh at her.
  5. Wrestle her to the ground and then kiss her all over.
  6. Change the subject to something completely random and off topic.
  7. Pretend that she is boring you and say, “Yaaaaawn…you finished?”
  8. Scream louder than her and then start singing or laughing.
  9. Pretend that you’re upset and act like you’re seeking pity.

When a woman throws a tantrum, has a mood swing or starts an unnecessary argument, what she is almost always hoping to experience is the full variety of your personality in response.

While we men tend to like things to be sensible, rational, logical and functional, women like to mess up the flow. She wants to see if you have the masculinity to remain in control of who you are, while also allowing her to be a woman.

The more that you can remain in control of your emotions, the more she will respect you, feel attracted to you and be excited to be in love with an emotionally strong, masculine man.

Moody by Nature

Unlike us men, women are affected by hormonal cycles (i.e. their period, ovulation, etc) that can lead to natural mood swings.

That doesn’t mean you should just put up with bad behavior, but instead you should understand that she’s going to come in waves. That’s just how women are.

Many modern women put on a front and act like they are as sensible, emotionally stable and emotionally tough as men are, but statistically, it just isn’t true.

For example:

  • According to a global survey conducted by Dove Cosmetics, 96% of women don’t consider themselves to be beautiful.
  • Women experience depression at twice the rate of men in the USA.
  • In the UK, 40% of women will require treatment for depression at some point in their life compared to only 10% of men. In other words, women are a lot more depressed than men. Almost half of the women you meet will have suffered depression at some point in their life, or will be depressed when you meet them. She might put on an act of being happy, but she’s just a fragile, emotionally vulnerable girl on the inside.
  • Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared to men.
  • 60% of the people who have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorders) and phobias are women.

As you can see from the statistics above, women have a lot more “emotional problems” than men do. It’s just how it is.

Understanding your girlfriend’s mood swings means simply accepting that she won’t always respond to everyday challenges the same way as you do – and that’s okay.

She is a woman and you are a man – accept that and love her for it.

She will be more temperamental than you and that is okay. She will likely be more difficult to talk to during an argument because she will become overly emotional and irrational and that’s okay too.

Let her be moody and let her be a dramatic woman if she wants to.

Love her for it.

Laugh about it.

Smack her on the ass for it.

Smile when she is moody and she will love you for it.

You can’t stop a woman from being moody and you can’t tell her to stop being up one minute and down the next, just like she can’t tell you to stop being an emotionally strong, sensible man.

Imagine if she told you that she wanted you to be moody, cry like her, care a lot more about shoes and make up and have more of a desire to talk about all the “drama” going on between your friends.

You’d likely tell her she was crazy for wanting you to be more like a woman.

Likewise, she will think the same of you if you expect her to think, talk, feel and behave like you do.

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‘Why am I so moody with my husband?’

Alternatively it may be depression, a health problem, or stress in other areas of your life that are causing your current situation.

Your GP is a good place to start. They can rule out if any health problems are contributing to your moods. They can also refer you to a therapist (without charge) on the NHS. They can help you identify what triggers your moods and find more effective coping strategies to deal with them. There may be a waiting list for such a service so you can self refer to a counselor via BACP (this will be a paid for service but most counselors offer a sliding scale of fees). MIND is also a good place to get information about mental wellbeing and support for you and your husband.

You may find relationship therapy helps you and your husband communicate more effectively and give you both tools to cope.

If your moods are expressed through you being abusive (physically or emotionally) to your husband then couple therapy may not be suitable and you might find seeing a relationship therapist individually is more appropriate. In such a case your husband may also find support via the Men’s Advice Line.

Identifying ways in the short term to deal with your moods while you are seeking additional help may be useful. For example going for a walk, distracting yourself with music or another activity you enjoy, or verbalizing how you are feeling and what you need to get through the current situation.

It may take time for you to work through what is going on and it might be painful and difficult. Explaining to your husband you are seeking help may enable him to feel more supportive. He is not your counselor and should not have to put up with you behaving badly towards him. But he may find things easier to cope with if he can see you taking action to help yourself.

Petra Boynton is a social psychologist and sex researcher working in International Health Care at University College London. Petra studies sex and relationships and is The Telegraph’s agony aunt. Follow her on Twitter @drpetra.

Email your sex and relationships queries to: [email protected]

Please note Petra cannot offer individual responses or answer every single question.

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