Mood Disorders and Your Period
We all have those days on our cycle where we just want to curl up in bed and hibernate – which after doing some research, is pretty common during menstruation. Because it’s considered a ‘yin’ time in traditional Chinese medicine, rest and relaxation during your period is essential. Nevertheless, if you’re experiencing up and downs in your mood as well as particular physical symptoms, it could signify something greater at play.
We’ve all heard of PMS, but what exactly is it? It’s an mix of psychological and physical symptoms including: depression, anxiety, irritability, bloatedness and mastalgia (painful breasts). In order to be diagnosed as PMS, these symptoms should be occurring in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (read – 7 to 10 days before your period begins) and can continue into the first couple days.
PMS can occur for many reasons, some of them including:
Nutrient deficiencies (like vitamins B6, E and A, calcium, and magnesium)
Blood sugar imbalance
Environmental factors, such as exogenous estrogen from plastics and other chemical exposures
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is thought to be an extreme form of PMS. Similar to PMS it consists of a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, however PMDD will cause extreme shifts in mood that can disrupt work and damage relationships.
Symptoms also begin right before your period starts, and may continue into your cycle. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, however, at least one of these emotional and behavioral symptoms stands out:
Sadness or hopelessness
Anxiety or tension
Marked irritability or anger
While we all commonly experience symptoms of PMS, in order to ‘diagnose’ it we should be recording our symptoms for at least 2 cycles using a symptom chart. Similar to all treatments with your Naturopathic Doctor we work on discovering why this is happening and work on correcting any deficiencies. If you notice that you’re beginning to observe some of these symptoms, track it on paper or a period app so you can relay you findings to your ND.
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, first line treatment of these disorders don’t require any pharmaceuticals. Depending on the severity of PMS, treatment options can include exercise, vitamins and cognitive behavioural therapy.
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