Health & Wellness

Q&A: What do I do to stop experiencing strong mood swings during my periods?

For many women, mood swings are an unavoidable part of their menstrual cycles. As you become more comfortable with your cycle, and know how to predict the moodiness that may accompany it, it is likely that you will find ways to keep your emotions from getting out of control. For instance, some women find that they need to get a little extra sleep, exercise more, or just give themselves some “TLC” when they know their period is about to start.

For other women, these mood symptoms are significant enough to interfere with their day-to-day lives and relationships. If this is the case for you, I strongly suggest that you speak with your healthcare provider. He or she may recommend that you be evaluated by a mental health professional to make sure that you do not need treatment for pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, or “PMDD,” a more severe form of PMS. The good news is that PMDD can be treated effectively with medication, counseling, or both.

So, although some moodiness is a normal part of the menstrual cycle for most women, you shouldn’t have to suffer with extreme moodiness during your periods. If you can’t seem to keep your moods under control, definitely consult with a health professional who will be able to help you to do so!

I deal with pre-menstrual mood swings, too. Not fun, is it? (Probably not very fun for the people who have to live with us, either) There are two things that really help me. First, I make sure to stay active and eat healthfully. Junk food just leaves me feeling bloated and lazy -- I need the good nutrition and physical activity to keep energized and positive. Secondly, I constantly remind myself that my grumpiness and sensitivity are related to my period -- they're not “real” emotions, so to speak. It is worth mentioning that some women experience more severe pre-menstrual symptoms. If your mood swings are really interfering with your life, then mention it to your healthcare provider.

Unfortunately, and to my utter dismay, there isn’t an off switch for our mood swings, but there are ways to cope with them. I know it seems so useless for me to provide coping methods, but at least it’s a baby step in the right direction. For some, chocolate works, as cliché as it may seem. For me, personally, music is the cure. The louder the music is, the less things I’ll hear that’ll irritate me. And of course, what always helps is a lot of “me” time. I find that the more I’m alone when I’m having mood swings, the more bearable it is. Because when you’re out and about and moving quickly between moods, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot more things that are likely to set you off.