So Postmenstrual Syndrome Is A Thing—And It Sucks

Here's how it can affect your emotional wellbeing.

Woman sitting on bed with her head in her hands.
Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

Bloating, cramping, chin and jawline breakouts and more mood swings than you can keep track of are common symptoms for women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But, did you know that postmenstrual syndrome is also a thing, and it can really do a number on your emotions?

It’s less common—with an estimated 10% of women suffering from postmenstrual syndrome in comparison to premenstrual syndrome which can affect up to 75% of women in one way or another—but it’s just as sucky.

Here’s what you need to know about this little-known hormonal condition:

Causes

Unlike its premenstrual counterpart, the exact causes of postmenstrual syndrome have yet to be pinpointed. We know that fluctuating hormones and neurochemicals are largely to blame for the physical and emotional low that often comes before a period, and while it’s likely that it’s similar causes for the symptoms that follow menstruation, it hasn’t been proven scientifically.

postmenstrual syndrome
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

There are many factors at play which could be at least partially responsible for the manifestations of postmenstrual syndrome. These include low progesterone levels, estrogen imbalances and fluctuations in serotonin; an important neurotransmitter, which could trigger various symptoms of premenstrual syndrome since it plays an important role in mood changes. Insulin dysregulation or resistance could also be partly to blame, as well as a general sensitivity to changes in hormone levels.

Symptoms

While a lot of premenstrual symptoms are physical in nature; bloating, food cravings and the dreaded breakouts, postmenstrual syndrome tends to primarily affect your emotional and mental wellbeing.

postmenstrual syndrome
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The condition is characterised by mood swings, anxiousness, insomnia and difficulty with maintaining a healthy sleep pattern, alongside affected motor skills, resulting in a lack of coordination or general clumsiness.

Because it can impact your emotional sense of self, a lot of the symptoms often look like those of general depression; difficulty sleeping (or an inability to wake up), anxiousness, low self-esteem, trouble focusing on one thing at a time, racing mind and negative thoughts.

How to treat it

Because the symptoms do often look like depression, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms. If you’re only feeling depressed, sluggish and low on life for the week after your period every month, you’ll know that a more targeted approach is required, as opposed to general depression treatment.

In severe cases, antidepressants (SSRI’s) might be prescribed by a doctor in order to inhibit those serotonin fluctuations; with the goal of stabilising your mood throughout the month.

postmenstrual syndrome
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

If you’re after a more holistic treatment, however, natural depression treatments can work a charm in cases of postmenstrual syndrome. These include exercise, acupuncture, light therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), spending time in nature (forest bathing, anyone?), taking adaptogens and using essential oils.

If you think you might be suffering from postmenstrual syndrome and want to experience a much happier period, speaking to a doctor or holistic health practitioner is crucial for diagnosis and treatment.

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