PMS Anxiety: What It Is and How to Deal With It

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a common problem that many women experience. Symptoms can include mood swings, bloating, cramps, and anxiety. For some women, PMS can be quite severe and cause a great deal of discomfort. If you are struggling with PMS-related anxiety, there are steps you can take to manage it. In this blog post, we will discuss what PMS anxiety is, as well as offer some tips for how to cope with it.

Defining Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear. It is a normal human emotion that we all experience at times. However, when anxiety is severe and persistent, it can become a problem. It can interfere with our daily lives and cause significant distress.

Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. Some people may experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, or trembling. Others may feel more emotional symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, or difficulty concentrating. And still, others may have trouble sleeping or experience changes in their appetite.

Defining PMS

PMS, commonly known as Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, is a group of symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman’s period. It is estimated that PMS affects anywhere from 20-40% of women of childbearing age. Symptoms can vary in severity and may include bloating, cramps, fatigue, mood swings, as well as anxiety. For some women, these symptoms are mild and cause little disruption to their lives. However, for others, the symptoms can be severe and have a major impact on their daily routine.

Relationship Between PMS And Anxiety

There is a strong link between PMS and anxiety.

  • Since PMS witnessed a rise in the primary sex hormones such as estrogen, it is believed that this may be one of the reasons behind PMS-related anxiety. This hormone fluctuation can result in changes in brain chemistry, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
  • Other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are also thought to play a role in the development of PMS symptoms. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. A decrease in serotonin levels has been linked to depression as well as anxiety. GABA is a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the nervous system. A decrease in GABA levels has further been linked to increased anxiety.
  • In severe cases, women may also develop PMDD, commonly known as Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. This is a more severe form of PMS that can cause significant distress and interfere with a woman’s ability to function in her daily life. This can also lead to anxiety and depression.
  • PMS symptoms, by themselves, are difficult to deal with. But when you add anxiety to the mix, it can be even more challenging. This is due to the fact that anxiety can magnify the effects of PMS. For example, if you are feeling bloated and crampy, anxiety may make these symptoms feel even worse.
  • If a menstruator has a pre-existing anxiety disorder, PMS can make their symptoms worse. For example, if someone experiences panic attacks, they may find that their panic attacks become more frequent or more intense during the days leading up to their period.

Signs And Symptoms Of PMS Anxiety

Some several signs and symptoms may indicate that you are struggling with PMS-related anxiety. These can include physical, emotional, and behavioral changes.

Physical symptoms

  • Upset stomach
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Emotional symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of overwhelming worry or stress
  • Anxiety or dread
  • Irritability or moodiness

Behavioral changes

  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Avoiding people or situations that trigger anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep patterns (such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or increased need for sleep)
  • Changes in appetite (such as increased hunger or cravings for certain foods)

An individual may experience differing intensities and frequencies of different symptoms depending upon the nature of their conditions.

Treatment For PMS Anxiety

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating PMS anxiety. The best course of action will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how they are impacting your life.

Diagnostic Tests

This may be done to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. It is typically conducted by a primary care physician or gynecologist.

  • Lab tests: Your doctor may order blood work or other lab tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. These may include tests for thyroid problems, diabetes, or anemia.
  • Imaging tests: In some cases, your doctor may order imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
  • Mental health evaluation: This will be conducted by a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker. They will ask you questions about your symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors. They will also ask about your medical history and family history. This evaluation is important in order to make an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

Medication

There are a number of medications that can be used to treat PMS anxiety. These include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are a type of antidepressant medication that is often used to treat anxiety disorders. Examples of SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs are another type of antidepressant medication that is often used to treat anxiety disorders. They work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Examples of SNRIs include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Anxiolytics: Anxiolytics are a type of medication that is used to treat anxiety. They work by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Examples of anxiolytics include benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam [Xanax] and diazepam [Valium]) and buspirone (Buspar).
  • Birth control: Birth control methods can help regulate hormones and reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. They work by preventing ovulation and altering the levels of hormones in the body. This helps PMS anxiety by reducing the fluctuations in hormone levels that can trigger anxiety. Some common birth control methods are:

Pill: This is a type of birth control pill that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin.

Mini-pill: This is a type of birth control pill that contains the hormone progestin.

Patch: The patch is a small, adhesive patch that is worn on the skin. It releases the hormones estrogen and progestin into the body.

Ring: The ring is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. It releases the hormones estrogen and progestin into the body.

NOTE: If you decide to undertake medication for anxiety or PMS, it is essential to stay in regular touch with your healthcare provider for getting a valid prescription to access these drugs. They will also help you monitor the side effects and efficacy of the medication on your body and suggest appropriate alterations for maximum benefits.

Therapy

If you are struggling with PMS anxiety, therapy can be an effective treatment option. Therapy can help you identify and manage your anxiety symptoms. It can also provide you with tools and strategies for coping with PMDD or other PMS symptoms. Some common therapy techniques include:

  • Hormone therapy: This may be an option for women with PMDD. Hormone therapy can help to regulate hormone levels and reduce the severity of symptoms. This works by either taking birth control pills or using a patch, ring, or injection. It helps three out of four women by lessening irritability, depression, and mood swings.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that can be used to help a person manage their anxiety. CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and also behaviors.
  • Dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that focuses on helping you manage emotions. This can further help manage PMS anxiety by teaching you how to cope with the intense emotions that can be associated with PMDD or other PMS symptoms.
  • Interpersonal therapy: Interpersonal therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on relationships as well as communication. This type of therapy can be helpful in managing PMS anxiety by teaching you how to better communicate with your partner or family members about your symptoms.
  • Support groups: Support groups provide a space for people to share their experiences and connect with others who are going through similar things. This can be a valuable resource for dealing with PMS anxiety.

If you think you may be struggling with PMS anxiety, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Self Help Tips

There are a number of self-help tips that can be useful for dealing with PMS anxiety. These include:

  • Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also help to improve your mood. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
  • Yoga: Yoga is a type of exercise that can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It involves a series of stretches and postures and can happen in a group or individual setting. This can help manage PMS anxiety by helping you to focus on the present moment and promoting relaxation.
  • Visualization: Visualization is a technique that involves picturing yourself in a peaceful place. This can help to relax the mind and body and reduce anxiety.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body. This can help to improve your overall sense of well-being and reduce anxiety.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on being present in the moment. This can be helpful in managing PMS anxiety by helping you to focus on the here and now rather than worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future.
  • Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Some common relaxation techniques includes activities such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization.
  • Diet: Eating a healthy diet can help to reduce stress and improve your mood. Foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be especially helpful in managing PMS anxiety.
  • Herbal supplements: Herbal supplements such as chamomile or lemon balm can help promote relaxation. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements to make sure they are safe for you to take.
  • Avoid caffeine: Caffeine can increase anxiety and make it difficult to sleep. If you are struggling with PMS anxiety, try avoiding caffeine or limiting your intake to no more than one cup of coffee per day.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety. Make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Manage stress: Stress can trigger or worsen anxiety. Try to find healthy ways to manage stress such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
  • Talk to someone: Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or other support systems can be helpful in managing PMS anxiety. Moreover, talking about your symptoms can help you feel less alone and may even help you find new coping strategies.

Conclusion

PMS anxiety is a real and valid condition that can be difficult to deal with. If you think you may be struggling with PMS anxiety, it’s important to reach out for help. There are several resources available to you, including your doctor, mental health professionals, support groups, and online forums. Don’t suffer in silence – get the help you need to manage your symptoms and live a happy, healthy life.

If you are searching for a start towards mental health treatment, Mantra Care’s therapeutic services are available from all across the world. We have a team of expert mental health professionals offering effective online therapy at pocket-friendly rates. Contact us to book a session and kickstart your wellness journey today!

A Word From Mantra Care

Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.

Leave a Comment

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free