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Gapianne, article la dépression pendant les règles : tout ce qu'il faut savoir
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I feel depressed: is it because of my period?

Among the different symptoms linked to the imminent arrival and menstruation, we find a range of mood fluctuations, from irritability to anxiety through depressive episodes. Nice, isn't it? If you feel depressed a few days before or during your period, it is entirely possible that your period is to blame! How is a drop in morale a symptom of PMS, what are the factors that increase this drop in morale around the time of your period and what to do in the event of depression linked to your period: we're talking about it!

Yes, low morale is a symptom of PMS

Low morale is one of the symptoms you may experience in the days before your period arrives or during your period.

Remind me what PMS is!

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name given to all the symptoms linked to the onset of periods in menstruating people.

Depending on the cycles of the latter, PMS can start one to two days before the period until just after ovulation, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle , i.e. 14 days before the period, and generally lasts until the first few days. rules. 20 to 40% of menstruating people suffer from PMS (1) but other studies speak of 90% of women affected (2) (yes, the figures are far from precise because the subject is still relatively little studied!).

PMS brings together many symptoms, physical and psychological:

  • Physical symptoms of PMS: menstrual cramps , chest tenderness and pain, catamenial migraines, leg pain, hormonal acne, bowel problems/bloating;
  • Psychological symptoms: mood swings / irritability, fatigue, low morale / depressive episodes, anxiety / paranoia / anxiety attacks

Low morale is one of the psychological symptoms of PMS

If we often refer to periods as irritability (or even hysteria), low morale or even depressive episodes are a symptom fairly regularly mentioned by menstruating people. However, it is difficult to find figures on this.

Before going further on this subject in the following parts, two points to remember here about the symptoms of PMS.

On the one hand, depressive episodes are not a specific symptom of PMS: they can be linked to other pathologies or even to depression: we give you, in this article, ways to respond to them, but we recommend that you start by meeting a healthcare professional.

On the other hand, the symptoms linked to PMS can be very fluctuating depending on the menstrual cycles: monitoring your menstrual cycles and the associated symptoms is interesting to know yourself better. To do this, you can use menstrual cycle tracking applications .

6 Factors Why You Feel Depressed Before or During Your Period

Ok, so be it, episodes of a big drop in morale can be linked to periods. But why ? What are the factors that explain this feeling? We've found 6 factors that can explain the down you feel when your period is approaching!

Fluctuations in sex hormones linked to the menstrual cycle

The first factor that would explain the drop in morale, or even the depressive episodes that you experience as your period approaches, is the fluctuation of hormones in your body that you experience with each cycle.

Estrogens, progesterone, LH and LSH: these hormones organize your menstrual cycle . Their level changes according to the phases of your menstrual cycle and estrogens and progesterone thus turn out to be present in very small quantities at the end of the luteal phase, just before your period: it is also their very low level which restarts a new menstrual cycle.

And it is entirely possible that this very low level of these two hormones is also the cause of your low morale.

How to act against hormonal changes linked to periods?

If hormonal fluctuations regularly depress you every time you have your period, the first response is to turn to your doctor. He will be able to examine you, listen to your symptoms and prescribe additional tests, particularly hormonal ones, if he thinks it is necessary. He may also redirect you to an endocrinologist (the doctor specializing in hormones).

The first solution to smoothing out hormonal fluctuations linked to periods is to take hormonal contraception. Because it distributes hormones throughout your body, it limits fluctuations and can help your body stabilize.

If this solution does not suit you – because you do not want to take hormones or because you are trying to have a baby – you can opt to take food supplements. They will not have specific effects on your hormones but will allow you to control the symptoms that result from their fluctuations.

🌈 On our e-shop, we have selected Serenity Booster food supplements from the Sova brand for you. Designed for menstruating people with PCOS who are sensitive to their hormones, they are suitable if you feel a strong drop in morale linked to your hormones during your period. Its key ingredients are saffron to maintain a state of relaxation and mental as well as physical well-being, ashwagandha to help with relaxation and pantothenic acid. The latter contributes to the normal synthesis and normal metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and certain neurotransmitters.

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Fluctuations in serotonin linked to the menstrual cycle

The second factor that can explain your low morale as your period approaches is the fluctuation of serotonin in your body .

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that transmits signals between neurons in the brain. It plays an essential role in the regulation of various physiological and mental functions, including mood, sleep, appetite, libido and pain perception.

However, it turns out that estrogens have a role in the synthesis of serotonin in the brain (3): when estrogen levels are low, serotonin levels can vary, leading to mood disorders.

We are also starting to treat menstruating people who suffer from PMS with serotonin supplementation.

Fatigue

The third factor that can cause a drop in morale or even a depressive state is fatigue.

We recently mentioned it in an article on fatigue and periods: periods and more broadly PMS are responsible for an increase in fatigue in many menstruating people.

But fatigue can totally lead to dark, sad thoughts: tired, we don't feel able to bounce back and respond to the requests we receive on a daily basis.

How to act against period-related fatigue?

Period-related fatigue can be due to different factors, such as the stress associated with them or the discomfort and pain that bothers you during this period.

To limit this fatigue, we have offered you several tips and solutions in the article mentioned previously. Among the products that can make a difference to your fatigue, our preference goes to hormonal balance food supplements from the Gyneika brand, sold on our eshop 🌈. They are designed to alleviate symptoms linked to hormonal imbalance. They are formulated around three key ingredients: ashwagandha to promote hormonal balance, magnesium bisglycinate to reduce fatigue and stress and chasteberry to promote hormonal balance and contribute to comfort during the cycle.

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Physical discomforts

The fourth reason that can explain the drop in morale you feel when your period approaches is the physical discomfort you experience due to your period.

It's not easy to be at your best when you suffer from abdominal cramps or experience terrible migraines. It tires you out, demotivates you, makes you want to curl up in a ball under a blanket and wait for the pain to go away!

How to act against physical discomfort linked to periods?

This is a very big question! Everything will depend on the discomfort felt. Painful periods (abdominal cramps and lower back pain), catamenial migraine, painful breasts, painful legs during periods: the pain linked to menstruation is numerous and the answers are just as numerous.

🌈 If CBD is not a 100% miracle solution – is there really one? –, it will however be able to respond to many of the pains that bother you. You can take it

Physical changes

The approaching periods can also be characterized by physical changes which can take a toll on morale.

We necessarily think of hormonal acne which can be very difficult for many people who menstruate throughout their lives (and particularly during adolescence) but also of water retention and intestinal bloating which causes swell the belly!

How to act against bodily changes linked to periods?

Everything will of course depend on the symptoms that upset you during this not-fun period! Beyond the rebalancing food supplements that we have offered you, which will tend to limit the effects you feel, you can respond specifically to each of the symptoms you feel.

🌈 As for hormonal acne, for example, we have selected the Oh my period treatment from Nidéco for you. You can use it in addition to or instead of your day cream from 15 days before the date of your period in order to limit hormonal acne.

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Genetic

The last factor that can lead to major sluggishness when your period arrives: genetics. We are not all in the same boat when it comes to PMS! For some, periods are a walk in the park, for others, they are pure hell!

💡 Did you know? The symptoms of PMS are generally hereditary: it is very possible that what you are experiencing today, one of the women in your family has already experienced before. This is in no way a way to reassure you but it can give you topics for discussion and solutions: how did the women in your family manage these difficult times?

What if you suffer from PMDD?

Last point that could explain this significant drop in morale that you feel during your period: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (also called PMDD).

PMDD refers to a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. It affects 5% of menstruating people (3). The symptoms observed are of the same nature as those generally associated with PMS, but there are more of them felt (generally menstruating people do not have all the symptoms) and they are more intense. They can be so debilitating as to prevent affected women from leading a normal life. In the case of the symptom of low morale, we can, in certain women, find ourselves facing real depressive episodes, or even, in the most extreme cases, suicidal thoughts.

What to do if you think you have PMDD?

PMDD is not to be taken lightly! If you think that your symptoms related to your period are very (too) severe and especially if they prevent you from living your life normally each month, consult your doctor or gynecologist about this. These professionals will be able to listen to you, conduct additional examinations and support you in screening for this disorder.

There is currently no treatment to “cure” premenstrual dysphoric disorder. However, treatments exist to mitigate the effects, such as taking hormonal contraception (to smooth out hormones) or serotonin supplementation, already mentioned a little above.

🌸Not all health professionals are aware of PMDD today. Do not hesitate to meet several professionals to be sure of having a complete diagnosis as well as solutions. We have put together for you, with your help and more broadly that of our community, a directory of caring and attentive professionals.

What to do if you're feeling depressed during your period to cheer yourself up?

Do you get depressed every time your period approaches? Here we share some nice solutions to help you take a step back and do yourself some good ❤️

Follow your cycle to better understand and anticipate it

To limit the feeling of depression that attacks you just before or during your period, the first solution is to take a step back . The idea here is that you will suffer more from your low morale if you take it head on without knowing why it appears than if you know that it is due to your period and that it will gradually fade over the days to come.

To successfully reason with the emotions you feel, our first tip is to follow your menstrual cycle . The more you know about it – how long it lasts, what symptoms you experience, how long your period lasts… – the more you will be able to rationalize what you are experiencing. The more you will be able to anticipate it and take time off when your period approaches or on the first day.

To track your menstrual cycle, you can use a notebook or opt for a menstrual cycle tracking app , such as Clue. The advantage of applications is that they are on your phone, close to you at all times: you can quickly write down the symptoms you are experiencing. For a minimum of three months (menstrual cycles can vary in length and symptoms), follow your cycle and note how you feel: you will gain from this experience a better knowledge of your body and may be better able to rationalize what you feel .

Accept that you are not doing well

Are you feeling down? Do you feel a drop in morale? Do you want to cry without really understanding why? You have the right.

The drop in hormones and the changes in the body that occur before and at the start of your period tend to amplify the emotions you feel on a daily basis . See to make you depressed even if everything is going, more or less, well.

It's okay, but that doesn't mean you have to deny what you're feeling. Accept that you are not doing well:

  • Agree to say no, to decline invitations;
  • Take a few days of teleworking, or even time off, if you can;
  • Request time off work if necessary and you feel mentally exhausted;
  • Do activities that make you feel good, whether it's a massage planned at the last minute or a night of TV under the covers! Do what makes you feel good ❤️

Agree to ask for help

Last but not least: be willing to ask for help.

Ask your friends and/or your partner for a helping hand: don't take everything personally and share what you feel if it makes you feel good. On the one hand, it will make your life easier. On the other hand, it may prevent you from exploding (and then feeling guilty) when the tension and stress are too great!

And if the effects on your life are too significant, that your PMS becomes unbearable, do not hesitate to go for a consultation. Your attending physician can support you, as can a psychologist. There is no shame or taboo in having bad periods: many menstruating women experience these difficulties. It's important to talk about it and seek medical help if it becomes too complicated.

What if it's really too hard?

Are your dark thoughts even more intense than usual? Please note that there are emergency solutions to respond and support you:

  • The national suicide prevention number, 3114 : toll-free number, you will benefit from listening and resources if you do not know how to cope – do not hesitate to call if you feel the need ;
  • Psychiatric emergencies: you may not know this, but a majority of hospitals have psychiatric emergencies with psychiatrists authorized to respond to emergency situations and significant distress.

PMS or real depression, make the difference!

If a depressive state can appear occasionally due to periods, it would be wrong to place all the responsibility for the discomfort that menstruating people may feel on PMS and periods. You can combine complicated PMS and depression!

Duration, an important criterion to take into account

It is difficult to differentiate a temporary drop in morale from a real depression. The thoughts and effects are similar and it can be difficult to take a step back from your feelings when you experience them!

However, one point may attract your attention: the duration of this drop in morale.

Although a drop in morale can be very intense due to PMS or periods, it generally begins a few days before the period and ends with the end of the period. Depression will not be linked to periods and may last longer.

That being said, PMS can start 14 days before your period and periods can last up to 7 days, the notion of duration can be complicated to gauge and take into account!

How to react ?

We have said it: it is difficult to differentiate a one-off depressive state from a depression that sets in over the long term . Especially since you may have a tendency to force yourself to be well in order to continue moving forward at all costs!

If you feel down during your period, a little before or generally, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor . In France, they are fully authorized to manage depression, to answer your questions and to treat this illness. Your doctor may also recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist to support you if he or she deems it necessary. Please note that you can also consult these mental health professionals without having previously gone to a general practitioner.

Sources:

  1. https://www.allodocteurs.fr/entreprises-gynecologie-regles-quest-ce-que-le-trouble-dysphorique-menstruel-28379.html
  2. https://www.neonmag.fr/sante-psycho/menstruations-le-monde-du-travail-sadapte-enfin-556793
  3. https://www.revmed.ch/revue-medicale-suisse/2010/revue-medicale-suisse-258/syndrome-premenstruel- envie-de-sucre-et-serotonin

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