CLICK HERE To Learn How To Perfectly Relieve Period Anxiety!

Period anxiety has turned my life upside down in the past. I wince at the mention of anxiety during my menstrual cycle. It brings me extreme disdain to think about how I’m going to manage changing hormone levels along with my symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. 

If these things sound familiar to you, trust me you’re not alone. Some women only experience anxiety during their period, a few weeks before their before starts, or the majority of the month.  According to a research study at the University of Virginia Health System, more than 64% of women experience menstrual anxiety or mood swings. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence for women that can make some days harder than others.

a biracial woman curled up in the fetal position in  bed with a soft pink blush blanket experiencing period pain

I am no expert source in the matter to provide medical advice on period anxiety. I used my own lived experiences as advice on how to cope with period anxiety. However, I have also done lengthy research about what possibly causes anxiety during your period and methods that can provide period anxiety relief.

What Causes Anxiety During Your Period?

The hormonal changes that occur in the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle may contribute to the onset of anxiety. During days 1-5 of the menstrual phase, levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. Estrogen hormones begin to rise and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels are low on day 6 which is the start of the follicular phase. Days 6-12 of this phase show a decline in estrogen and a sudden rise again. Yet levels of progesterone remain low in the follicular phase.

Throughout days 13-15 of the ovulatory phase, a rise in the luteinizing hormone occurs as well as a reduction in estrogen. Not many hormones fluctuate during days 16-23 of the luteal phase. A high level of progesterone, a normal level of estrogen, and rising FSH levels occur during days 24-28 of the late luteal or premenstrual phase. Towards the end of the premenstrual phase, estrogen and progesterone levels decline to get ready for a new cycle.

Such an ongoing fluctuation of these raging hormones is known to create an imbalance in the brain. The neurotransmitters associated with mood regulation, serotonin and dopamine, get the short end of the stick. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, from puberty to age 50, women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder. As hard as it is to say this, unfortunately, some women suffer more than others as a result of these rollercoaster hormones. However, if women find themselves dealing with anxiety of a higher extremity they may be dealing with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Understanding PMS and PMDD

Changing levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause either PMS or PMDD. These two conditions can easily impact women’s day-to-day life, well-being, as well as women’s mental health. 

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

PMS affects at least 3 out of 4 women of reproductive age. Some women do not show any signs of PMS while other women exhibit mild or more intense symptoms of the menstrual-related mood disorder. Premenstrual syndrome is the combination of a wide variety of psychological/emotional and physical symptoms.

Symptoms of PMS

The symptoms of PMS usually begin within a week or two weeks before the beginning of menstruation. The symptoms of PMS vary among every woman. Some women might only have to manage physiological symptoms. Other women may have issues with physical symptoms. There are women with forms of both symptoms. Be aware that symptoms can also change with age. Despite variations in symptom severity, most women experience a resolution of their symptoms within a few days of the onset of their menstrual period. 

Physiological/ Emotional Symptoms of PMS
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Mood Swings
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Difficulty w/ memory or concentration
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of Worthless
Physical Symptoms of PMS
  • Bloating
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Backaches
  • Low tolerance for light or noise

However, a minority of women dealing with premenstrual syndrome encounter debilitating symptoms on a monthly basis. This specific manifestation of premenstrual syndrome is characterized as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Up to 5% of women in their childbearing years are affected by PMDD. Additionally, many women with PMDD may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder represents a severe and at times debilitating form of premenstrual syndrome. While both conditions involve physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD is characterized by intense mood fluctuations that can significantly impact daily functioning and interpersonal relationships.

Symptoms of PMDD

Symptoms typically commence seven to 10 days before menstruation and continue for the first few days of your period.

Physiological/Emotional Symptoms
  • Overwhelm
  • Severe mood swings
  • Increased depressed mood
  • Sensitivity To Rejection
  • Social withdrawal
  • Tearfulness or sadness/crying
  • Hopelessness or despair
  • Severe irritability and anger
  • Tension or Anxiety
  • On edge
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Trouble thinking or inability to focus
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
Physical Symptoms
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep changes

Factors That Further Agitate Me Before & During My Period

I feel as if my period anxiety symptoms are a combination of PMDD and PME. Premenstrual exacerbation (PME) further drives my experience to a level that doesn’t compare to other women’s menstrual cycles. My symptoms of morning anxiety and depression are heightened. Certain circumstances happen before my cycle begins and during my cycle that seem to increase my overall panic and worry.

Before My Cycle

  • Migraines 
  • Hot flashes
  • Fear of heavy menses and or clots
  • Intense nausea that makes it hard to eat 
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Increase in Appetite Before Period

During My Cycle

  • Heavy/Painful menses and or clots
  • Vomiting
  • Night Sweats
  • Cold Flashes
  • Fear of leakage
  • Panic Attacks

The Steps I Took To Find Relief

After experiencing painful periods after the birth of my youngest child for over four years, I just could not take planning my life around my period anymore. I was experiencing pain and discomfort before and during my period. Yes you heard me right, I said before my period. It never failed. At least two weeks before my cycle would come on I had some of the most horrid symptoms. Symptoms that traumatized me, made my existing mental disorders and anxiety disorders worse, and made me afraid of when my period would start. Nearly every single month, I didn’t get the slightest bit of relief when my period did come on, and was looking forward to the day that it would end.  At the bare minimum, I got at least 7 to 10 days of relief before the cycle would repeat itself.

In August 2022, I started researching products and methods that would alleviate the pain and discomfort. Good old Google was the first place I turned to for countless articles from national healthcare sources about natural treatment options. I read about other women’s experiences. I talked to my phenomenal black female obstetrician-gynecologist about PMS and PMDD relief sources. The local library was full of numerous books about women’s period health. I asked my mom, grandmother, other female relatives, and close friends about their periods. I inquired about whether or not they experienced menstrual pain and discomfort and what they would do to reduce their unwanted symptoms.

No More Holding Back – Period Anxiety Has To Go

Within 5 months of research, I started deciding on products and methods that I believed would help reduce my period pain, discomfort, and overall anxiety about that time of the month. Yeah I was hesitant to try anything for myself. I let the disappointment of all the things I had tried in the past waive my hope of relief. During the month of my 34th birthday, my breaking point came. My premenstrual symptoms had me holding back tears during the day and crying at night. My period had me in pure agony that kept me from leaving the house, much less the sofa, and enjoying my birthday. The physical pain and mental agony got to the point where I was approaching a mental breakdown. The next day I quit hesitating and dove headfirst into using the products that would change my life. 

Sustainable Products That Have Alleviated My Period Anxiety

My Happy Flo Plant-Based Period Vitamins

I wish I had found this God-send sooner than when I first started using it. With several of my doctor’s approvals, I started taking one vitamin every other day in May 2023. In about 7 months, I was downright shocked and blown away by what I wasn’t experiencing. My premenstrual cramps were way less severe and bloating was out of the window. Once my period started, my flow wasn’t as heavy nor were blood clots. My Happy Flo prides itself on being a breakthrough hormonal balancing vitamin that provides women with the hope of more comfortable periods. Since the day I hit publish on this post (May, 9th, 2024), I have had less anxiety surrounding my period.

black owned female happier period flow vitamins
My Happy Flo is the answer for women taking the longevity, peace, and importance of their lives into their own hands.

Period Relief Device

The science and technology behind these types of devices are groundbreaking. I kept hearing about these devices for a couple of years before I started using one of my own, after I conducted research of course. Many of the devices on the market send electric pulses through pads that stick to your stomach, back, or both. The medically reviewed term for this type of pain relief is transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy. By delivering electronic impulses to specific nerve trigger points, pain signals do not reach the brain and your body produces higher levels of endorphins (the body’s natural pain-relieving hormone).

The massaging vibrations and heat from this device provide me instant relief from menstrual cramps. Is something that I can use day to day without even being noticed. I wear it under my clothes, while I’m working out, and in the comfort of my home. I truly adore this device because it’s one less prescription drug that I have to take.

Period Underwear

Whomever invited the idea of period underwear  deserves endless applause and kudos. These types of underwear have been a safe haven for me when my cycle comes on. This is what I wear when I don’t want any obstructions in my vagina. With my period underwear I don’t have to worry about toxins literally being in or on my body. I call using period underwear as a way of letting my period flow freely. Using period underwear is not anything like free bleeding, but it is just as liberating without the fear of leaks for several hours no matter how heavy my flow gets.

Personally I wear my period underwear in the comfort of my home just in case I do have a leak. By doing so I don’t have to worry about any spots or stains being on my clothing when I’m out and about. Nonetheless, my female nature is naturally running its course. Period underwear are a sustainable eco-friendly product that offer some serious comfort that I cannot get enough of.

Menstrual Relief Epsom Salt

Numerous women on my mother’s and father’s side stand by the usage of Epsom salt. My mom and grandmother have kept a bag of it in their bathrooms for as long as I can remember. Epsom salt is more scientifically known as magnesium sulfate. It’s a muscle relaxant that has eased debilitating cramps for the women in my family. I add about one cup of Dr. Teals Menstrual Relief Epsom Salt to a tub of hot bath water. Within 10 minutes of soaking in the tub, my intense uterine contractions and backaches melted away. I get very emotional before my period. So the formula of herbs and oils provides me with a powerful mood boost.

I find that I am much more relaxed and calm before bed after a 20-minute submerge. As a result, I have also been able to get a better night’s rest. I also tend to add half a cup of Dr. Teal’s Sleep Soak Epsom Salt to my bath water as well. The combination of the two is a superb form of treatment. Trust me when I say that adding a monthly soak or two into your life will do wonders for your period anxiety. For women with sensitive skin and concerns about scents in their lady flower, I suggest unscented Epsom salt.

Herbal Remedies

When it comes to herbal supplements, my 90-year-old granny taught many of the women in my family about several natural remedies that would alleviate period anxiety. Trust me when I say, my grandmother has used various herbs to treat specific conditions ever since her grandmother taught her what to use from Mother Earth. Not many people trust the effectiveness of herbal remedies to relieve symptoms of PMS, PMDD, or let alone period anxiety. However, I trust what my granny taught me to use because of the history of the usage of these herbs. The usage of these herbs was due to the bondage my great-great-great grandmother endured. She has to use what she could to treat sickness, pain, and other conditions.

I use ashwagandha, ginger, and maca root. Ashwagandha provides me with a sense of calmness and acts as a great anti-inflammatory to reduce breast tenderness. Ginger is the solution to the persistent nausea I have to manage. Maca root has significantly improved my ability to concentrate and increase my sex drive. My husband loves it when I take this stuff! Be sure to consult with the physician who prescribes your medication for medical advice about taking any herbal supplement or remedy. The intake of specific herbs can cause harsh side effects or interactions with prescription medications.

Vitamin Supplements

Taking additional vitamin supplements are so necessary for me. It already feels like essential nutrients are being drained from my body as I lose 2-3 ounces of blood. After consulting with my own primary care doctor and gynecologist, I started taking calcium supplements in late 2023. Ever since, my time of the month has done a complete 180. The bloating levels I had have been much less severe. In addition, the fatigue I suffered with at the start of my period has decreased as well. I feel so much stronger and notice that I can do some of the things I enjoy exercise-wise much longer as well, especially cardio like jogging.

Menstrual Cup

Let me keep the conversation going when I’m talking about sustainability and eco-friendly menstrual products. A menstrual cup is another product I kept hearing about repeatedly. Speculation entered my mind because I wondered how in the world could I put anything like “a cup” in my body in hopes that it would collect blood without leaking. I have got to admit the first  few attempts of using a menstrual cup were indeed messy. I thought I would never get the hang of it and I lowkey gave up. After another try and staying at home with it on because a sis was not completely convinced, there was no leakage for the 10 hours I wore it. Talk about mind blown!

Wearing the SAALT menstrual cup has significantly reduced my fears of leakage. I wear a menstrual cup with confidence and reassurance while I am at the beach, doing high intense workouts, and even while showering. Menstrual cups come in a variety of sizes, can be bought as disposables, and can last for up to 10 years with the proper care if reusable. To determine if a menstrual cup is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider or gynecologist.

Alkaline Water/Filtered Water

A few of my close girl friends told me that drinking alkaline water contributed to a reduction in several of the PMS symptoms. Although there’s no scientific research to support the numerous claims surrounding the benefits of alkaline water, I have noticed significant improvements since drinking it more often. I only consume a quart of Eternal alkaline water a week which is like a cup a day. It may seem like a lot to some women and not enough for other women. However, since consuming it I have taken notice of smaller blood clots and more broken up clots. As a result, the pain level associated with a blood clot flowing out is no longer excruciatingly painful.

Green Tea

Drinking tea has been a longtime remedy for my generalized anxiety relief. I figured that it could be just as helpful in relieving the anxiety I experience surrounding my period.The tea that has been the most beneficial are green tea. Green tea contains a chemical compound known as L-theanine. According to research studies, this compound has been shown to possess relaxing and calming effects. I have gotten some of the best sleep after drinking a cup of decaf green tea. Green tea is a caffeinated tea with about 29 mg of caffeine that I refuse to have interfering with my sleep. Green tea is also full of anti-inflammatory effects that have reduced my cramps.

Menstrual Wash

If you haven’t realized how beneficial it is to use menstrual wash, I am here to explain why it is. As if it isn’t the days are not hard enough while on my menstrual cycle, I have to remind myself about my menstrual hygiene. In all honesty, menses can not only be painful but also come with an odor from time to time, especially in the spring and summer months. A smell alone causes my anxiety to increase so menstrual wash helps me combat the possibility of an odor. Using menstrual wash is an absolute necessity to help prevent infections and to feel clean and comfortable for the duration of my cycle.

The Best Tips That Can Reduce Period Anxiety

There are numerous methods and practices that dramatically reduce the anxiety associated with PMS and PMDD. Many of these include lifestyle changes, diet modifications, and other healthcare limitations. 

Lifestyle Changes

  • Increase water intake – With the loss of more fluids during menstruation, adequate hydration can prevent a magnitude of problems. Proper water intake helps the body better manage feelings of discomfort and fatigue which can definitely cause enough anxiety on their own. Adequate hydration helps prevent an increase in certain hormones that raise anxiety levels.
  • Adjust sleep schedule – The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people should get 8 hours of sleep. With the hectic schedule of todays society, that not quite possible for some women. A poor quality of sleep can make anxiety and depression worse during your period. A great quality of sleep is more effective towards reducing period anxiety. Developing a regular sleep schedule, where you wake up and go to bed at the same time 7 days a week, can help reduce anxiety. 

Movement Changes

  • Exercise – The type of exercise you partake in does not have to be limited to the gym. Movement that accelerates your heart rate is what truly matters when it comes to exercise. Exercising four to six times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to reduce anxiety as well as depression and issues with focus. Women who exercise on a consistent basis while on their period experience an “endorphin high”. The release of endorphins acts as a natural painkiller which can relieve symptoms such as cramps and mood swings. Taking a walk outside in nature, aerobics, swimming, and riding a bike are all great forms of exercise.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – The art of relaxation is a craft that takes a significant amount of work. While you may not master it during your menstrual cycle, it is imperative to try a few forms of relaxation. It is a process that can reduce stress and anxiety connected with PMS and PMDD. Some of the best techniques to practice are deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy to put yourself in a calmer state.

Diet Changes

  • Eat water based foods – The extra intake of water is what your body needs at this time. Women can take an additional step to add more water to their bodies by eating foods known to contain more water. Watermelon, strawberries, celery, cucumbers, and blueberries are all great water based food. The water increase can aid in decreasing the length of menstrual bleeding.
  • Eat foods with certain vitamins and nutrients – The phrase you are what you eat truly comes into during menstruation. Food that is well balanced and contain specific vitamins can ward off the symptoms that raise anxiety. Include foods in your diet that are rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, magnesium, vitamins E and D, and calcium. 

What To Reduce & Avoid

  • Avoid salt & fatty foods – A reduction of sodium and fatty food intake can decrease fluid retention, issues with bloating, and swelling.
  • Reduce alcohol & caffeine consumption – Feeling jittery during your period. The consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration which can worsen headaches and increase nausea. The negative effects of alcohol can make certain period symptoms like fatigue and irritability so much worse.  

When To See A Doctor

male doctor and female patient discussing the use of medication for PMS

Many of the symptoms for PMS and PMDD can be managed with over-the-counter products from local retailers, easily applicable self-practices, and or lifestyle changes. However, the intensity/severity of some symptoms require additional preventive methods. 

In my opinion, women who experience an inability to get some form of control over their PMS/PMDD symptoms through self-care practices should first seek immediate help from their primary care doctor or obstetrician/gynecologist. Symptoms that cause distress or impairment long after your period is over are an urgent reason for concern about more underlying medical issues. If you have noticed that your menstrual cycle affects your capacity to work, participate in what appeals to you, connect with your friends and family, or engage socially, then it is necessary to speak with a healthcare professional.

Symptoms that I have to deal with require me to check-in with my primary care doctor and obstetrician/gynecologist quarterly. I use prescription medication that is not available over the counter and attend therapy specifically for the matters that take place during my cycle. 

How Medication and Therapy Can Help With Period Anxiety

Antidepressant Medications: The first line of defense for PMS or PMDD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the most familiar SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil). These forms of medications have been successful in stabilizing the mood changes associated with premenstrual mood disorders.

Hormonal Birth Control: Women who take these medications may experience fewer unpleasant symptoms. Taking the pill, using a ring, or wearing a patch inhibits the release of an egg each month. A lack of ovulation is a likely reason for milder period anxiety symptoms such as cramps, body aches, and headaches.

Therapy: The psychological symptoms of premenstrual mood disorders can be better managed with psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy includes a number of techniques that aim to improve thoughts and anxious feelings.

Closing Thoughts On How To Overcome Period Anxiety

As a black woman and woman in general, managing anxiety is pressing enough. Up until 2023, when my menstrual cycle was added to the mix, a natural disaster commenced in my life for 2-3. That’s how I describe it because first and foremost it’s a female hormone controlled process, making it natural. Secondly the disaster part comes into play because of how my menstrual cycle made me feel like my own health and safety was at risk sometimes as well as for those around me. I could go from 0 to 1000 real quick due to how my cycle affected me mentally, physically, and emotionally. No woman wants to dub her menstrual cycle as a “natural disaster”. It’s a bit far-fetched. But is it really? Hundreds of women compare that time of the month along with the threat of anxiety to unfathomable events.

Period anxiety is an unfathomable event that occurs for up to a week or more. You probably came to this blog post because you need consistent relief from period anxiety. I sincerely hope that reading this post has provided you with more PMS remedies, PMDD treatment options, and overall positive recommendations on how to relieve period anxiety.

You’re More Than Any Form of Anxiety

There is so much to take on every day of the month, when period anxiety begins to arise it should not interfere with your daily life. It most certainly shouldn’t knock any woman off their game. Yes, some anxiety is normal. What isn’t normal is not having the slightest idea about ways to reduce the symptoms and or relieve them. There are treatment options available that can help you learn how to cope with PMS and PMDD. It took me quite a bit of time to find the best ones for me but I am so glad I did not give up. You are going to be glad you didn’t either! 


If you are anyone you know is experiencing menstrual inequity, reach out to your local women’s health clinic for support. Check out more organizations where you can find support and additional information by visiting The Alliance For Period Supplies, Office of Women’s Health, and Helping Women Period

Let’s Keep The Conversation Going

What do you believe are the best ways to get rid of anxiety during your menstrual cycle? Let me know your response in the comment section or any other thoughts you want to share!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *