Four Ways Your Period Can Impact Your Mental Health
Posted by jogreene
21st May 2019

It’s safe to say that, for the majority of women, menstruation is not a time of the month that is eagerly awaited. Along with symptoms such as cramps and bloating, menstruation can also put a strain on a woman’s mental health, whether this be due to hormonal changes or environmental factors.

While it might not be possible to completely eliminate the mental health side effects that menstruation can present, it is possible to treat them. By being aware of the factors that cause those situational feelings of anxiety, depression and moodiness, you’ll be better equipped to deal with those unwanted feelings when they arrive.

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

For so long, the go-to joke concerning an angry or frustrated woman has been that she must be “hormonal” or “PMSing”. However, PMS is more than just a punchline: it is a medically recognised condition that’s thought to affect between 20-40% of women, and takes place about two weeks before their period.

Though the precise causes and triggers of PMS are still unknown, it is thought that constant fluctuations in estrogen levels around this time could be to blame for the feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability and moodiness that so many women are used to feeling.

So if you’re feeling a little short tempered in the days leading up to your period, it’s important to be kind to yourself, and remind both yourself and those around you that these symptoms are perfectly natural.

Physical Symptoms

Symptoms of PMS are not limited to mood swings, however. There are many physical symptoms associated with these hormonal changes that can greatly impact upon a woman’s mental health.

In the weeks and days leading up to a period, women may experience a whole range of changes such as greasy hair and skin (which can lead to acne), as well as changes to their sex drive and sleeping difficulties. Any one of these symptoms can have a direct impact on a woman’s mental health, and especially her self esteem.

Even during menstruation itself, symptoms such as migraines, nausea or dysmenorrhea (period pain) can cause stress, as they can drastically disrupt a woman’s day and routine, particularly if they are very severe.

By listening to your body and being prepared for these symptoms in advance, you can help to relieve some of the stress of being caught unawares with unbearable cramps in the middle of your workday. Even if you cannot immediately jump into a hot bath or grab a hot water bottle, something as simple as keeping painkillers with you can help to ease your mind.


When it comes to physical symptoms, there is one thing that many women can agree is both a blessing and a curse, and that is period cravings. We’re told over and over that our bodies are a temple, but what about the effects our diet has on our minds?

Over the years, numerous studies have confirmed that a bad diet may be just as harmful to our mental health as our physical health, and sugary foods are a particular issue. Over time, strong correlations have been found between high sugar intakes and conditions such as anxiety and depression - bad news for menstruating women, whose hormones are often doing their very best to prevent them from eating foods that are good for them.

Though these cravings are perfectly natural, it is important to remember that higher levels of sugar intake during your period may actually worsen any fatigue and moodiness that you could already be feeling. Sometimes being kind to ourselves during our period may mean reaching for some fresh vegetables, rather than a chocolate bar.

Lack of Awareness

Even with the progress that has been made in women’s health over the years, menstrual taboos are still strong enough that many women suffer through their symptoms in silence, especially in the workplace.

In some workplaces, there is even a lack of adequate waste disposal for women to change their menstrual products at work, despite sanitary bins being a legal requirement. With some women even fearing to leave the house during their period because of heavy menstrual bleeding, a lack of facilities is a serious issue that can derail a woman’s regular routine, and cause her a great deal of stress.

Of all the ways that women can change their lifestyle and their habits to help make their periods as smooth as possible, stigma is a problem that does not have an easy solution. It’s only through open conversation and spreading awareness that women can begin to feel supported, and menstruate without a fear of embarrassment or judgement - whatever their symptoms may be.


This article was written by Vr Sani-Co, a family run businesses providing washroom services and sanitary bins in Kent.

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