fr / en
fr / en

Understanding Menstrual-Related Anxiety Attacks and Dysphoric Disorders

Published on 16 April 2024

A woman’s periods can affect her stress levels in different ways. Some women sail through their monthly period without worry, while others suffer from serious anxiety.

Menstrual cycle and mood swings are closely related. This article explains why your period can affect your mental health and what you can do about it.

Why do you feel stressed when your period is due?

One of the reasons you may suffer from menstrual anxiety is the hormonal changes your body goes through each month.

These 5 key phases can impact your menstrual cycle and mood swings:


  1. Menstrual (days 1-5):

During menstruation, oestrogen and progesterone levels are low. Many women experience mood improvements during this phase as they feel relief from the premenstrual symptoms.


  1. Follicular (days 6-14):

Oestrogen levels increase leading up to ovulation resulting in fewer feelings of anxiety and feeling more energetic.


  1. Ovulation (around day 14):

Ovulation occurs when oestrogen levels peak, triggering the release of an egg from the ovary.


  1. Luteal (days 15-28):

After ovulation, oestrogen levels drop, and progesterone levels rise. This is when you’re likely to experience mood swings and other premenstrual symptoms.


  1. Menstrual (cycle recommences):

As menstruation begins, hormone levels decrease, and some women experience relief from premenstrual symptoms, including mood swings.

While they may normally be a happy, outgoing person for the rest of the month, the two weeks before the ‘time of the month’ can be debilitating for some women.

How period-related anxiety can affect your daily life

The link between your menstrual cycle and mood swings can significantly impact your emotional well-being to such an extent that it can make you feel unable to cope with normal tasks.

Leaving the house, getting the children to school or yourself to work might seem impossible if you suffer from a serious menstrual anxiety disorder.

There are two forms of period-related anxiety:

  • PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
  • PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder)

Both can cause physical and emotional symptoms, but they differ in severity, duration and their impact on daily life.


Good to know

Approximately 30% of women in the UK suffer from PMS and 5-8% are affected by PMDD[1]

What is PMS?

PMS is a menstrual anxiety disorder that can cause different, emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms that occur in time leading up to your period. Once it starts they usually disappear, and you feel more like yourself.

While PMS symptoms can be bothersome, they are usually mild to moderate and this link between your menstrual cycle and mood swings can be managed.

What is PMDD?

PMDD is a severe form of PMS which causes symptoms that can have a profound impact on relationships, work performance and quality of life. Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder symptoms are similar to those of PMS but are more severe and can include:

  • extreme mood swings
  • severe depression
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • intense anger
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • difficulty managing stress
  • suicidal thoughts

What causes PMDD?

Experts believe that PMDD occurs if your body is especially sensitive to the hormonal changes that take place each month due to your period. The hormone serotonin, which is responsible for your moods, also fluctuates during your cycle and may affect your menstrual cycle and mood swings.

Good to know

If you have suffered a serious trauma, are prone to depression or have a family history of menstruation and mental health problems you are more likely to experience PMDD.

Managing PMS and PMDD

Women can´t avoid periods and their symptoms until the menopause, so taking control of your menstrual cycle and mood swings can ease the monthly stress. Managing PMS anxiety and PMDD is the key to leading a normal life, instead of dreading your monthly period.

If you suffer from PMS and PMDD your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication and/or the contraceptive pill, which can regulate your hormone levels and have a positive effect on your menstrual cycle and mood swings.

You can also care for yourself by looking after your mind and body, which can reduce hormonal anxiety attacks. This includes:

  • taking regular exercise
  • getting quality sleep
  • eating a healthy diet
  • avoiding smoking and alcohol


Lactium® also offers a gentle solution to deal with the stress symptoms of menstrual cycle mood disorders the natural way. Lactium® contains alpha-casozepine, a milk-based product that helps you relax and balance your emotions.

To find out which products containing Lactium® are suitable for you, contact us!