Hormone health: Premenstrual Depression

By: Here To Help

Hormone health: Premenstrual Depression

Following our monthly topic of depression, I’d like to talk briefly about how to cope with depression as a symptom of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which may occur as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. PMDD is characterized by more severe symptoms than PMS, to the extent of impairing daily functioning.

5 – 11 days before a menstrual cycle begins, a woman may experience a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild irritability, feeling bloated, irritability, changes in sex drive, to severe anxiety and depression. Usually, these symptoms subside with the arrival of the period.

The chances are that you or someone who know is affected to some degree of PMS. For some women, these hormonal changes can wreak havoc on their well-being, impacting their personal and professional lives and making them feel that they are a different person for at least a week out of every month.

Here are some tips to help alleviate depression as a premenstrual symptom:

  • Track your symptoms

This is potentially the most potent tool and the first step to take. With data, you can track patterns and gain insight. Use an app on an android phone such as Eve, Flo or Clue. These have been designed for ladies to track their menstrual cycles and log any symptoms.

Alternatively, use a journal and write down the symptoms as they occur.

  • Keep a journal

Along with or instead of using an app, keep a journal of how you are feeling. Try to list at least one thing you are grateful for every day. Don’t be afraid to explore how you are feeling and what may have led to that emotion. In mapping out our feelings, we can gain a perspective on what might be exacerbated by hormones versus what could be a more concrete reason for distress.

  • Tackle Perfectionism

It is one thing to want to do things well, but another to demand perfection. Consider the law of diminishing returns. Do we really need to do things 100% correctly for all that we do, or would some of that time and energy be better invested in something else? Perfectionists may procrastinate or feel anxious about projects, then beat themselves up for not starting something, or chastise themselves for not doing things perfectly. Add a heady hormonal fluctuation, and a nosedive into depression may ensue.

  • Take care of yourself, always

Go back to basics: eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise and don’t skimp on sleep. Drink ample water. Ask your partner to look after your kids once in a while, or hire a babysitter so that you can take time for yourself. Identify causes of stress in your life and apply some practical problem-solving. Brainstorming solutions on paper can be a surprisingly quick and simple way to find solutions.

  • Find support

Don’t suffer in silence. https://iapmd.org/facebook-groups/ is an excellent starting point for online support groups. Find a doctor who takes you seriously. Some doctors may be dismissive, but there is help out there. There are hormone treatments, anti-diuretic and anti-depressants that can help.

  • Consider supplements

Evening primrose oil, omega fatty acids, and magnesium are just some supplements which may offset low moods. It’s tempting to have a trolley dash in a health food store, but it will be difficult to identify what is working if you take a lot of things at once. Not many herbal remedies have extensive, rigorous research conducted on them. Do your research, ask your friends and apply some common sense.

Navigating your hormonal health is possible. Self-awareness and self-acceptance are crucial. A few books which may be useful are:

  • It’s Your Hormones – Geoffrey Redmond.
  • The Ultimate Hormone Balancing Guidebook – Dr. Cobi Slater
  • Wild Power – Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer

You can download and Print a PMS symptom tracker here

PMS Symptom Tracker




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