Some people think PMS mood swings aren’t based on anything but your imagination. But if you’ve lived through them, you know that’s not true! Evidence shows that many women are affected by PMS – not only with physical symptoms, but also the emotional highs and lows. In other words, PMS is real and not in your head!
PMS mood swings are real. In fact, most research on PMS demonstrates that moodiness related to your period is a result of physical changes in your body. Different women are affected in different ways and at varying times during their menstrual cycles. Some research points to the 11 days before the onset of menstruation as the time when PMS mood swings are most likely to occur, with the actual start of your period marking the end of PMS blues for the month. Other research shows that moodiness in many cases doesn’t end with the onset of your period. Either way, the symptoms of PMS may include anger, anxiety, depression, irritability, social withdrawal, feelings of being overwhelmed, and sensitivity to being rejected, according to Massachusetts General Hospital’s MGH Center for Women’s Health. (Sounds like fun, right?)
Although no clear scientific cause of PMS has yet been established, this monthly moodiness is likely attributed to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone.
What you can do about PMS mood swings
There are several ways to help stabilize the PMS emotional roller coaster:
- Lifestyle changes
- Nutritional and herbal supplements
- Prescription Medications and Psychological Counseling
Lifestyle changes that may help include changes in diet and stress reduction techniques. Certain culprits in your diet can make PMS worse: insufficient vitamins and minerals, salty foods (which can lead to bloating), alcohol (which can make cramps worse), sugary foods, and caffeine. The key is to eat a healthy diet that emphasizes fruits, veggies and whole grains, so don’t even think about buying those potato chips or cookies you can’t stop thinking about!
PMS doesn’t cause stress, but stress can exacerbate PMS mood swings. Two activities that help reduce stress are meditation and exercise. Meditating for just 10 minutes a day has been shown to help control stress, improve cardiovascular health, relieve anxiety, and help you feel relaxed.
Nutritional and herbal supplements
Some research shows that calcium and vitamin B6, as well as other B vitamins, may help alleviate PMS symptoms. If you’re under age 50, doctors recommend at least 1,000 milligrams/day of calcium; for women over 50, the recommendation goes up to 1,200 milligrams. If you have a hard time consuming enough calcium-rich foods to reach these levels, you should take calcium supplements.
Serenol™ is a non-prescription herbal supplement developed specifically to relieve the emotional symptoms of PMS.* Its ingredients include:
- Extracts of pollen from a Swedish flower
- Royal jelly, a milky secretion made by bees
- Chromax® chromium picolinate, which helps the insulin in your body work efficiently to process sugar and reduce food cravings and intake
Serenol doesn’t contain any hormones, nor does it act like a hormone. In a clinical study, the ingredients in Serenol were shown to relieve PMS emotional symptoms such as irritability and mood swings.* Clinical trials have also shown that these ingredients are as safe as a sugar pill.
Prescription medications and Psychological Counseling
Since the moodiness associated with PMS may be related to underlying psychological problems, for some women, seeing a mental health professional can be helpful in treating those underlying problems.
In addition to medications to alleviate underlying psychological conditions, several other categories of drugs may be helpful:
- Hormone therapies (such as birth control pills)
- Pain relievers
- Medication for water retention (diuretics to flush out excess fluids)
Keep a mood calendar
If you keep a calendar to track your PMS symptoms along with menstrual cycle dates, it could be helpful to share it with your doctor to help evaluate your PMS. A free online calendar called MyMonthlyCycles provides an easy-to-use tool for both period tracking and symptom tracking.
Following some of these guidelines can hopefully improve your quality of life and manage the emotional aspects of PMS.