Can Your Period Make You Depressed?

Can your period make you depressed? Yes, it can, and it is called Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS) and the severe form is called Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Our periods can affect our lives in so many ways and I have listed the symptoms of PMS and PMDD so you know what you are dealing with.

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I’ve also listed ways in which the severity can be lessened. I, for one, know all about the effects on my mind just before my period, and my previous self-harm incidents all happened just before my period. The correlation between the timing and my suicidal attempts many years ago is apparent, and I write this article so that somehow it might help another avoid the same situation I was once in.

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So can your period make you depressed enough to want to end things? In my case, yes, but I also have bipolar disorder, and when combined, it can be lethal. Hopefully, you only have one thing to deal with, but don’t let anyone dissuade you that the effects of an incoming period are all in the mind; it is not; the symptoms of PMS and PMDD are real.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

  • Tension and an anxious being, feeling as though something is not quite right.
  • Your mood is maybe depressed.
  • You may have crying spells, which might be unusual for you.
  • Anger and becoming irritable, you might snap at someone for the slightest thing.
  • Cravings for certain foods or your appetite might increase.
  • You might have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
  • Social withdrawal, trying to shut the world out.
  • You might have trouble concentrating, and work might suffer.
  • It is possible you will not be interested in sex for several days.
  • You might have a range of physical symptoms such as achy joints and muscles, headaches, sore boobs and water retention, including bloating.

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

  • As above but intensified.
  • Mood changes so severe you can go from OK to suicidal.
  • Poor self-image.
  • You might get paranoid, confused and forgetful.
  • Feeling out of control is common, and not understanding why.
  • Intense anger and hostility
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm.
  • Physically, you may find alcohol will make your PMDD worse and exacerbate your feelings; you might also experience constipation or diarrhoea.
can your period make you depressed

As you can see, for those who suffer from PMS or PMDD, our monthly plans can get out of whack because of our period. In my case, the 9 days before my period, I am a mess; the older I got, the worse they became. I am looking forward to menopause; believe me, I will around the block shouting for joy when the time arrives.

So, can your period make you depressed? Sure, as water is wet, it can, and the above symptoms are often overlooked by medical practitioners. Another reason why I have written this post. It may be your depression is cyclical, and if you keep track of your periods and your moods, you may find a correlation between the two.

How to Manage PMS

  • You might want to consider the pill for the physical symptoms, as it can help with this; I can remember when I was on it, I had no physical symptoms. Then I got too old for the one I was on and came off of it, and since that time, my physical symptoms have been horrid. So think about going on the pill if you are medically able to do so. But we are all different, and it might not help you as it did me, or it could work wonders.
  • Eating lots of calcium-rich food is said to help, and you can find this in dairy products or take a calcium supplement. It won’t affect straight away. You have to give your body a chance to work with it. After three periods, the effects should be noticed if it is going to work for you.
  • [AF] You can buy calcium supplements from my favourite supplier Piping Rock, an online supplement shop.
  • Vitamin B6 is also said to help, and you can find this in fish, chicken and turkey and for those of you who are vegan, you can find it in fruit and cereal which has been fortified with it. You can also buy supplements with B6 or all the B vitamins if you would prefer.
  • Exercise and nutrition will play a role in managing symptoms; the healthier you are, the more control over PMS you will have. Taking daily or weekly exercise will increase your tolerance levels, and exercise is a natural mood booster.
  • Although sleep can be impacted during PMS, you will want to make sure you get enough of it. I use Melatonin to help me sleep; you can find the article here.
  • Try and lessen the stress in your life before a period, don’t make plans five to seven days before if you know those plans will cause you undue stress, like selling your home. Work meetings or even having your kids friends over for a gathering around the dinner table can all be stressful if you have PMS.
  • If your PMS is bad bordering on PMDD, you can take anti-depressants. I used to take a low dose during the month and increase the dose as my period approached, all under the medical supervision of my doctor.

How to Manage PMDD?

  • The above will help PMDD, too, but you will benefit from the care of your doctor to a greater extent. They might prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines to help with the pain.
  • You might also consider taking a magnesium supplement.
  • The first step is always to see your doctor; I spent years not going and thought it was PMS when in fact, it was PMDD. Before you see them make sure you have all your information from a period tracker, you can download the apps for free. Make sure you have these to hand, or you could go old school and plot them on a graph. Your doctor may send you to see a psychiatrist for further treatment.

I hope I have shown the symptoms of PMS and PMDD and why some women get depressed before their period; if your depression continues after your period and does not disappear, you may have depression and not PMS. In both cases, could you speak to your doctor for their guidance, please?

Peace & Blessings


i'm not a doctor

Lou Farrell

Welcome to the mental health blog of Lou Farrell. I am a writer and copywriter who pens all manner of articles relating to mental wellness and mental illness. I write about my own experiences and the knowledge I have gained over the years as someone who has bipolar disorder. I hope you enjoy the website :-)

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1 Response

  1. simplyalexjean says:

    This is such a great post with lots of information, many years ago I learned how to use essential oils and certain foods to help balance my hormonal swings during my period and it really made a difference! Thanks for sharing.

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