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June 11, 2020 3 min read

Menstruation and Its Connection with Mental Health:

Understanding menstruation is easy, as it is a biological process that almost every female goes through at least once a month. This process involves a few phases that lead to menstruation. Menstruation is more than just bleeding for a week or so. It has a strong connection with the mental and physical health of a person and produces strong fluctuations in hormones. The PMS, also known as the Pre Menstrual Syndrome. PMS has a lot of symptoms that are directly related to the physical and mental health of a person which affects them on a deeper level. The most prominent hormonal imbalances in a female’s body during menstruation is serotonin and dopamine.

A lot of women experience a decrease in mood and are less happy and energetic during their period. Low energy or depression during menstruation has a direct link with a person’s brain activity. During the phase of ovulation, the hormone levels fluctuate at an alarming level which causes the serotonin levels in the brain to get disturbed, hence making a person feel depressed or sad. It is perfectly normal for women to feel depressed during the period as more than 75% of women experience this regularly.

 

Depression or General Period Blues?

When we talk about having depression after the periods, it is linked with the Post Menstrual Syndrome. However, there is no medical treatment of PMS that is observed. Chances are that the Post Menstrual Syndrome responds to increase the production of serotonin in the brain.

A lot of us confuse depression with sadness or other disorders. When we talk about depression around periods, we unintentionally talking about PMDD, which is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is a condition that occurs before periods and its severe form of PMS. It contains all the symptoms of PMS but in an extremely dangerous manner that requires immediate medical treatment. The symptoms include:

  • Severe fatigue.
  • Increased palpitations and shortness of breath.
  • Paranoia and issues with self-image.
  • Memory problems.
  • Increased bloating.
  • Headaches
  • Back pain.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Lack of libido.
  • Easy bruising.
  • Heightened sensitivity.

These symptoms resemble the severe form of PMS and hence require immediate medical help. All these cause a person to feel blue or mentally low which is why most people confuse it with depression. A depressive episode should have at least two symptoms in two weeks in which one of them should be a loss of pleasure or depressed mood. This criterion is given by DSM-5.

Final Thoughts:

Depression or depressive symptoms occur after the periods end too. It is known as Post Menstrual Depression. It is also very common for depression to follow up with anxiety, so after the period ends, the emotional uneasiness and imbalance that occurs resemble anxiety too. It is also said that Post Menstrual symptoms are more severe than PMS. However, this term is not very common since it has not been highlighted very much in the media and among the public. The awareness of this issue has room for improvement.

As stated by a few specialists, Post Menstrual Syndrome is caused by the increase in the estrogen and progesterone hormones which causes the imbalance in the brain. The reason this may happen aside from the imbalance in the brain is that there is an increase in a sugary diet. If you need a guide on what to eat and foods to avoid during your period click here. Only 20-40% of women face this issue which is why it is less common and less known to people. That being said, more people should seek medical advice if this sounds familiar to you. Finally, it is important to be aware and track your menstrual cycle to notice the patterns you experience.

ariel morgan
ariel morgan


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