Can Menstrual Period Cause Anxiety?

There are some symptoms related to menstrual period. And these can vary from woman to woman. These symptoms can include changes in physical or/and emotional. Anxiety can be one of emotional symptoms associated with menstruation. In other words, ‘yap’ – menstrual cycle can have contribution to cause anxiety.

It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious at some point in lives, particularly true if it occurs due to reasonable reason.

But if you often feel excessive anxious before menstruation, and also followed with more severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), you may develop a health condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

What actually is anxiety?

Having occasional anxiety is not a problem. But it can be a problem /disorder when you have it too often (particularly without reasonable reasons) and you lose control on it.

People with anxiety disorders often have excessive, intense worry about certain things such as everyday situations. This excessive worry can be followed with irrational fear. As a result, these irrational feelings can be potential to interfere with daily activities.

image_illustration95There are some types of this emotional disorder. These include [1]:

  1. Feeling of intense, excessive, and unrealistic anxious – and this worry can strike with no trigger factor. This kind of anxiety disorder is classified into generalized anxiety disorder.
  2. Anxiety due to certain phobia such as height (flying) or certain animal.
  3. Feeling of excessive anxious related to society (social phobia).
  4. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), it is usually triggered by a traumatic event such as natural disaster and losing someone you love a lot.
  5. OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). It is can be characterized by constant fears that can make you to do unusual routines. For instance, people with OCD due to excessive anxious to germs can often excessively wash their hands throughout the day.
  6. Panic disorder. It is characterized by excessive anxious of terror that can strike suddenly, unpredictably (without any warning), and repeatedly.

Is it normal to have anxiety before and during period?

In fact, emotional /behavioral symptoms such as anxiety and depressed mood can be a part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) [2]. Though not all women experience these symptoms, but there are many menstrual women who can have them before, during, or few days after menstruation.

As long as you are still able to control your anxiety, there should be nothing to worry – particularly true if your anxiety comes with reasonable reason.

But when you have lost control on it, and it gets worse – it’s better to see your doctor for help. Losing control of feeling excessive anxious before period can be a symptom of PMDD, as noted before.

What is PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)?

PMDD is a disorder in which women in the days prior to their menstruation has a significant problem associated with their emotional such as irritability, anxiety, or depression. These problems can be severe enough which then eventually can interfere with your work or relationships with others.

Actually, the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be the symptoms of PMDD, but these symptoms are more severe (particularly for mood-related symptoms). To have PMDD, you need to have a least one emotional-related symptom.

Like in PMS, the exact cause of PMDD is also unclear. But generally, hormone changes triggered by menstrual cycle may be the major answer.

According to NIH (the National Institutes of Health), premenstrual dysphoric disorder affects about 3-8 percent women of childbearing age. Many times, women with PMDD can experience some of the following conditions:

  1. SAD or seasonal affective disorder.
  2. Depressed mood, particularly severe depression.
  3. And anxiety – typically, this anxiety is more severe than women with common premenstrual syndrome.

Furthermore, experts also believe that some lifestyle factors may increase the risk of PMDD. These include lack of physically activity (becoming a sedentary /physically-inactive individual), too much consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and overweight /obesity.

In addition, if you have a family history of PMDD (especially if your mother have a personal history of PMDD), you may be at greater chance of developing the same condition [3]!

How does menstrual period cause anxiety?

Again, generally we can blame the hormonal changes triggered by menstrual period as the possible major answer. For in-depth information about the hormonal fluctuations of your estrogen and progesterone in each cycle of your menstruation, visit this section!

A study found that there may be a link between the levels of serotonin and PMDD. Serotonin is a kind of chemical in the brain that has function to help support the transmission of the nerve signals [4].

But what is the connection between serotonin and your menstrual cycle?