What Is the Connection between the Menstrual Cycle and Mood Swings?

Erin J. Hill

The primary connection between the menstrual cycle and mood swings is that shifts in mood are common during the period leading up to menstruation and during a woman's period. This is mostly due to fluctuations in certain hormones found in a woman’s system during this time. Some women have physical symptoms in combination with these mood swings as part of a condition called pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

Drastically changing hormonal levels can lead to mood swings in women.
Drastically changing hormonal levels can lead to mood swings in women.

Many women have some issues with their menstrual cycle and mood swings, and this is considered normal. During the days leading up to menstruation and sometimes during the first few days of it, women may feel irritable, sad, or even giggly. These emotions may come and go at random and some women even go through cycles of one after another. Sometimes taking an over the counter medication can help alleviate mood swings to some extent.

Symptoms related to pre-menstrual syndrome should be short-lived.
Symptoms related to pre-menstrual syndrome should be short-lived.

Aside from there being a connection between the menstrual cycle and mood swings, women who suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome may also experience physical symptoms. These can include cramps, bloating, fatigue, and headache. Some women also report experiencing tender or sore breasts and skin changes, such as oiliness or acne.

Many women experience cramps during the menstrual cycle.
Many women experience cramps during the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms related to pre-menstrual syndrome should be short-lived. Most women only experience them for a few days at most, although some may deal with them longer. Maintaining a normal sleep cycle, eating healthily, drinking plenty of fluids, and exercising even during menstruation can often help alleviate many symptoms related to PMS. For some women, however, mood swings and physical symptoms may become a problem.

Shifts in mood are common during the period of time leading up to menstruation and during a woman's period.
Shifts in mood are common during the period of time leading up to menstruation and during a woman's period.

There are some who experience a very severe form of PMS. These women may have mood swings, depression, and severe physical symptoms that affect their daily lives. Extreme irritability and anger are also common. Treatment may be needed to help.

Many treatment options exist for PMS. One common example is the use of hormonal birth control pills. Many women report experiencing fewer symptoms while taking them, and there are types available that are formulated to help with even severe mood swings and other symptoms. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, so those who need them should seek medical attention.

Natural hormonal therapies may also help with PMS. Progesterone is one common example, although there are some herbs and homeopathic remedies which have been found to have a beneficial effect on a woman’s cycle. For instance, evening primrose oil is commonly used to help women with PMS and menopause because of its stabilizing effects on hormones.

Water weight gain, bloating and irritability are among PMS' symptoms.
Water weight gain, bloating and irritability are among PMS' symptoms.

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