Most of us have heard of premenstrual syndrome: becoming irritable, anxious, or moody right before your monthly cycle. Some of us experience it, some of us don’t. Some of us get it worse than others. And sometimes, these symptoms can be extreme, distressing, or impair your ability to go about your everyday life: in which case, it might be premenstrual dysphoria. Premenstrual dysphoria involves significant mood swings (such as suddenly crying for no reason, or being really sensitive), anger, low mood, anxiety, or tension. It may also involve: fatigue and lack of energy; difficulty concentrating; changes to appetite or sleep; losing interest in usual activities (like seeing friends or going to work); feeling overwhelmed; and physical symptoms like breast tenderness, bloating, or weight changes. These symptoms are often worst in the days before your period, and get better as your period progresses.
If you find yourself getting marked symptoms and struggling in your life each month right before your period, it is worth noting which symptoms appear and when each month. This can help clarify if the issue is premenstrual dysphoria, premenstrual syndrome, or something else. You can do this with a checklist found here (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1015/afp20111015p918-fig1.pdf) and taking the findings to your doctor or psychologist. It’s good to record symptoms for at least a couple of months.
And this is the part that might surprise you: research indicates that multiple treatments can help relieve significant premenstrual symptoms. These include medical intervention (such as medication), hormonal intervention (such as contraception), psychological therapy (specifically, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), and there is even preliminary evidence that changing your diet can help. If premenstrual symptoms are a problem for you, try seeking holistic treatment through seeing your doctor, a psychologist, and dietitian.