Menstruation and Mood change: Facts and solutions

Dr. AbirodhRanabhat

Girl: Mum, I am so worried because I got bleeding from my vagina. I don’t know what is that? 
Mum: Oh!!! Don’t worry my daughter, it’s a normal process called as menstruation. Now you are grown up. 

Many girls during her first menstruation doesn’t know anything about the normal vaginal bleeding and are worried. So it is highly recommended to give menstrual knowledge for the growing females before their menses start. 
Introduction about menstruation
The average females will experience their menses within the age of 11 to 14 years and lasts for about 5 to 7 days. The period between two menstrual cycles may vary from 21 days to 45 days. Menstruation is a normal bleeding from vagina every month as a periodic cycle so that it is also called as menstrual cycle or periods. Medically four primary hormones like estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone are responsible for menstruation. Various physiological and psychological changes are seen during menstruation in women. Some of the common signs are:
     Abdominal pain or pelvic cramping
     Lower back pain
     Breast tenderness
     Fatigue and nausea
     Food cravings and headaches 
     Mood swings and irritability

Most of the females experience above mentioned signs but the intensity may vary according to individuals. Out of them, mood swing and irritability is very common and may lead to psychological disorders and personality changes if got severe. Estrogen and progesterone play a vital role in emotion and mood change in women. So, most of the women get depressed, anxious, irritable and frequent mood swings after menopause due to the low level of these hormones. Various other factors like stress, growing age (Puberty), hormone imbalance (Hypothyroidism), psychological disorders, pregnancy, and menopause can cause mood swings and irritability in women. 
Menstrual mood swing
About 90% of the women experience mood swings one week or so before their periods start and may last up to the first or second day of menstruation because of dramatic change in hormone levels in the body. These symptoms change every month and for some, it gets worse with growing age whereas some of them will improve with age. Sudden and unexplained change in the mood without any reason is known as a mood swing. You might wake up in a great and jolly mood but you become angry and irritable after one or two hours with no reason.

Some of the signs of mood swings are:
     Irritability and anger with no reasons
     Anxiety, depression and tensions
     Crying alone 
     Being over sensitive
     Excessive mood instability
     Fatigue, breast tenderness and sleep disturbances

Even though there is no absolute cure for mood swing during menstruation but diet, medications and exercises can help most of the females to reduce the symptoms. It has been proved from various studies all around the world.
Some remedies to reduce menstrual mood swing:
     Reduce caffeine, stop smoking and alcohol intake before menses.
     Decrease refined sugar and sweets before periods.
     Avoid monosodium glutamate added products like fast junk foods, noodles, burgers etc.
     Eat fish oil and fish products more during or before menstruation
     Calcium, magnesium and vitamin rich diets like dairy products, cheese, tofu, soybeans, peas, lentils, peanuts, seafoods, spinach, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, fruits etc.
     Drink hot water with ginger and brown sugar before sleep during periods.
     Aerobic exercises, jogging, swimming, walking, jumping.
     Yoga, meditation.
     Bathing feet with hot water will help for sound sleep.
     Take a deep breath if you feel like you are having disturbed mood during menses.
     Some of the medicines like painkillers, benzodiazepines, OCPs and antidepressants if sever can be used.

Finally, it is recommended that if anyone is having unstable mood swings vigorously and her daily life events like work, study, daily schedules are affected due to mood swings then you should immediately consult a doctor without hesitations so that it will not get worse in the future. 

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