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Anxiety Before Period: Causes & Tips For Relief

Anxiety Before Period
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Menstruating women undergo significant hormonal fluctuations before their periods. It could be accompanied by troublesome symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, bloating, weight gain, and even anxiety.

Hormonal fluctuations, especially in the progesterone and estrogen hormones, characterize the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations may arise as ovulation begins and could induce mood changes, social withdrawal, and anxiety.

Anxiety before a period could be indicative of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) or premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These conditions can significantly impact the emotional well-being and daily functioning of women affected by them.

Distinguishing between PMDD and PME is essential for accurate diagnosis of anxiety before periods. Fortunately, there are medical treatments available and lifestyle changes that can help manage anxiety before period.


PMDD and PME (premenstrual exacerbation) are similar yet distinct conditions.

PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, involves severe physical and emotional symptoms experienced by approximately 5% of women during their menstrual cycle. The bothersome symptoms might subside after a few days from the onset of the period.

Hormonal fluctuations, like changed serotonin levels during menstruation, might lead to PMDD. It may be recognized by signs like depressive mood, feeling overwhelmed, severe mood swings, social withdrawal, and extreme tiredness or low energy levels.

PME (premenstrual exacerbation) refers to the worsening of signs of pre-existing mental health concerns, such as generalized anxiety disorder, during the luteal phase.

Other conditions like schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, or seizures may also prompt PME.

Anxiety Before Period

Accurate diagnosis is required for effective treatment and care to address the specific needs associated with PMDD and PME.

  • PMS

    PMS (premenstrual syndrome) affects nearly 30–80% of women with periods, with symptoms ranging from irritability and fatigue to changes in appetite and mood swings.

    The severity of PMS symptoms may vary as some women may not encounter any PMS symptoms. However, some women may experience severe PMS symptoms that may indicate the presence of PMDD.

    Here is a breakdown of the common symptoms associated with PMS:

    Psychological Symptoms Physical Symptoms Other Symptoms
    Irritability Swollen and tender breasts Difficulty with memory or concentration
    Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea Sleeping too much or too little
    Changes in appetite Cramping Loss of interest in sex
    Mood swings Bloating Headaches
    Loss of interest in sex Headaches Backaches
    Difficulties with memory or concentration A lower tolerance for light or noise
  • PMDD

    Researchers have yet to fully fathom the exact reasons behind the development of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). It is a more severe condition, sharing similarities with PMS.

    The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) suggests that serotonin levels, which change throughout the menstrual cycle, may play a part. They believe that serotonin fluctuations may induce anxiety and persistent depressive disorder symptoms, typically associated with PMDD.

    Other symptoms of PMDD may include severe irritability and anger, increased sensitivity to rejection, sudden tearfulness, food cravings or binge eating, and feelings of sadness/despair.

    The complexity of PMDD necessitates a comprehensive approach to diagnosis. It may involve a thorough evaluation of symptoms, potential hormonal imbalances, and psychological well-being.

What Are The Causes Of Anxiety Before Period?

Periods are marked by fluctuating hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone. These hormones could impact neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Such a mechanism may disrupt mood and induce anxiety before a period.

Stress, lifestyle factors, and individual differences in coping mechanisms are some psychological factors that might lead to anxiety development before a period.

For some women, the anticipation of physical discomfort or negative mood changes during their period could trigger anxiety symptoms. They may be more biologically sensitive to hormonal changes that might worsen anxiety symptoms during the premenstrual phase.

How To Get Relief From Anxiety Before Period?

  1. Home Remedies

    Managing anxiety and other signs of premenstrual syndrome may encompass lifestyle adjustments and self-care practices. These strategies aim to improve overall well-being and reduce the impact of anxiety before a period.

    Here are some effective home treatments:

    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in aerobic exercise (like brisk walking, biking, or running) could help minimize PMS symptoms, including anxiety. Physical activity aids in regulating hormone levels, improving mood, and reducing painful physical symptoms of PMS.
    • Adequate Sleep: Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night is crucial for managing anxiety and promoting emotional stability during the menstrual cycle. Following a consistent sleep schedule, limiting screen time before bed, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime may help improve your sleep quality.
    • Avoiding Smoking: Research indicates that women who smoke are more likely to experience severe PMS and PMDD symptoms. Therefore, quitting smoking might be a beneficial strategy in reducing anxiety.
    • Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as yoga, massage, meditation, and breathing exercises might induce relaxation. These relaxation practices may help calm the mind, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety symptoms associated with PMS.
    • Healthy Diet: Consume a nutritionally adequate diet rich in complex carbohydrates and calcium. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and salt, which may also help manage mood swings and anxiety before menstruation.
  2. Medical Treatments (In Clinic)

    If home-based strategies fail to provide relief, you can try medical interventions for managing anxiety and period discomfort.

    Hormonal birth control may regulate hormone levels, potentially alleviating symptoms like anxiety. SSRIs (commonly used as antidepressants) could help manage anxiety symptoms associated with PMDD.

    Anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to help women cope with severe anxiety episodes during the premenstrual phase.

    Benzodiazepines like alprazolam are fast-acting medications that can provide relief from acute anxiety symptoms. Light therapy might help uplift mood by exposure to specific wavelengths of light.

    Hormone intervention using gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists may be considered for severe cases where other treatments have not been effective.

Also Check: Does Caffeine Cause Anxiety?

When To Contact A Doctor?

Some women may find anxiety relief through self-care measures. However, persistent or severe anxiety before a period may require professional intervention to ensure proper management and support.

Scenario Action
Home remedies are ineffective Consult a mental healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment options
Daily life and activities are greatly affected Seek guidance from a doctor to address the impact of anxiety symptoms
Symptoms worsen Contact a healthcare provider to reassess the treatment plan

Factors To Prevent Anxiety Before A Period

During the premenstrual phase, women may not have complete control over preventing anxiety triggered by PMS. However, they can take steps to mitigate symptoms by addressing factors such as sleep patterns and stressors.

  • Track Symptoms: Keeping a diary or using an app to monitor anxious feelings can help identify patterns and triggers related to PMS symptoms.
  • Establish a Sleep Routine: Creating a regular sleep schedule and enhancing the sleep environment may promote better quality sleep, leading to improved overall well-being.
  • Identify Stressors: Recognizing and managing stressors could help reduce anxiety levels during the premenstrual phase.
  • Consider Supplements: Supplements like calcium and vitamin B6 may have the potential to alleviate physical and psychological PMS symptoms. These nutrient supplements might help in anxiety management.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Anxiety Before a Period Be Triggered by Factors Other Than Hormonal Fluctuations?
    Besides hormonal fluctuations, factors like stress, lifestyle habits, and underlying mental health conditions could trigger anxiety before menstruation. Understanding individual triggers and seeking appropriate support is essential in addressing premenstrual anxiety effectively.
  • Are There Any Specific Dietary Recommendations to Help Alleviate Anxiety Before a Period?
    Consuming complex carbs, calcium-rich foods, and supplements like calcium and vitamin B-6 may work for anxiety management. Avoiding anxiety triggers like alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, salt, and sugar could mitigate anxiety before a period.
  • Is There a Connection Between Premenstrual Anxiety and Other Mental Health Conditions?
    Pre-existing conditions like depression and anxiety disorders could worsen premenstrual anxiety. The connection between premenstrual anxiety and other mental health conditions is significant and might affect quality of life.
  • Can Alternative Therapies Effectively Reduce Anxiety Before a Period?
    Alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbal formulations like lemon balm, lavender, and chamomile may offer relief from anxiety before menstruation. These holistic approaches could complement traditional remedies for managing anxiety before a period.


Having some anxiety a week or two before your period is a normal occurrence. However, if the anxiety forbids you from carrying on daily tasks, induces overthinking, and severely impacts mental well-being, consult a mental health professional.

Pre-existing health conditions like depression, premenstrual syndrome, or premenstrual exacerbation might put you at an increased risk of developing premenstrual anxiety.

Coping mechanisms against premenstrual anxiety may include anti-anxiety medications, lifestyle modifications, cognitive behavioral therapy, or light therapy. Engaging in meditation, aerobic exercises, and relaxation techniques could also help prevent anxiety before a period.


  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before following health tips or instructions.
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