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A Woman's Guide to Managing PMS Mood Swings

Don't hate, regulate.

A Woman's Guide to Managing PMS Mood Swings

Why are you so upset? Are you PMSing or something?”

Did your eyes just roll? Ours too. Not only is this question never asked in good faith, it often reduces perfectly warranted emotional responses to the moons, tides, and that time of the month. The ancient idea that people who menstruate flail around in a storm cloud of their making is just that: ancient. 

And! Yes, the truth is that sometimes, PMS can affect moods. 

Three out of four menstruators experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or a “collection of physical and emotional symptoms that precede your period.” One of those symptoms is mood swings, or fluctuations in mood caused by hormone levels dropping, rising, and doing what they do. Whether you’re a little more irritable or enduring major depressive episodes prior to your cycle, fluctuating emotions are no fun to experience. Yes, it’s a common phenomenon that doesn’t make you any less of a rational human being — but it can be really easy to feel ashamed of it. And to that we say: no more. 

If you’re struggling with dysregulated emotions during your cycle, here are some ways to stop fighting yourself and start fighting back. 

Switch up your routine

We promise this isn’t a cop-out! It’s not your fault you’re experiencing mood swings—but making a few tweaks to your day-to-day might help manage them a bit better. 

Mood swings are the result of hormonal fluctuations. A 2023 NIH study found that the drop in estrogen that occurs during the luteal phase of your cycle leads to plummeting levels of serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. In short? Less estrogen = less happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, and sleep. So, not only are you chemically less happy, you’re also poorly rested. With that knowledge, here’s how we attack back: 

Get intentional about your sleep

In the 1-2 weeks preceding your period, chase the snores like never before. Shut down for the night earlier than you should, turn off your devices, and try to get at least 9 - 10 hours of sleep—seriously. Experiencing some insomnia? Try a cup of tart cherry juice, which contains tryptophan and melatonin to help regulate sleep, or banana peel tea

Reduce stress

Constant stress could be contributing to your zigzagging moods. Whether it’s a situation you can’t stop obsessing over or that co-worker, find ways to create distance between yourself and things that ratchet up your cortisol levels daily. Meditate, jot down your thoughts in a journal, find a creative outlet or a great therapist—the options are endless. 

Eat for your cycle

Your diet can sometimes be your best weapon against hormone fluctuations—and the best way to make yourself and your body feel better. If you don’t know what “eating for your cycle” means, take a look at this how-to guide. Go ahead and snack on something that brings you comfort. If there’s any time to feed your soul, it’s now. 

Add a supplement or two

In the fight against dysregulated emotions, your body may need an extra boost—that’s where a supplement routine might come in. There are a ton out there, so make sure you consult with your doctor about which ones are the best fit for you and your cycle. But if you just so happen to be looking for the first gummy vitamin tailored specifically to help alleviate PMS, we’d suggest FLO PMS Relief.  

Consider medical intervention

Premenstrual syndrome can be debilitating—and what looks like PMS can sometimes be premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe condition. Both conditions may require medical intervention.

If you feel completely out of control when it comes to your emotions during your cycle, it’s likely time to consult your primary care physician, an OB GYN, or endocrinologist. Your doctor may suggest hormonal birth control, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or other medications. Either way, be forthcoming and open about what you’re experiencing in your body—if you think it’s something serious, there’s a good chance it is. 

Be KIND to yourself

Read that again: be kind to yourself. Regulating emotions during your cycle is an incredibly difficult task. If you need permission during this time to feel a little bit off, here it is. We’re giving it to you. 

Forgive yourself for snapping, laying in bed a bit longer, or not being 100% present in every conversation. The tampon commercials might make it look easy, but menstruating is not a walk in the park (or a tennis match wearing all-white). Surround yourself with things that bring you joy, take space when you need it, and give yourself a break.

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