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Mood swings and ToM

So every month, I get this nasty little voice that lives in my head. It has a quick a bad temper and is quick to make mean, nasty and uncalled for comments. Sometimes I realize it and can fight it off. Sometimes the mood swings get the best of me and I take it out on my family. They relize that my occasional slips are unintentional, but it always causes a few tension filled days. I'm not taking any birth control - when I did, the mood swings were much more enhanced. Does anyone else have this problem? Is there any way to save my family from the monthly monster in me?

Wed. Nov 29, 7:53am

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Great question

I definitely have this problem, and it starts about a week before my period. I start getting so irritable - everything little thing pisses me off and I have no patience. I am always so relieved to finally start my period, because as quick as that day the monster is gone and I am back to normal.

So I'd also love to hear some different ideas on this. There have been threads on this before, and people have suggested different supplements and vitamins, but I really don't want to start taking anything. I'm not sure there is anything else that would help!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 8:02 AM

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As you probably are aware, PMS b*tchiness is the result of a hormone peaking to start your period. Hormones effect not only your reproductive system, but also your central nervous system (brain). So the quick bad temper is "real" and it's not something that you can do much about without drugs.

Personally, I do two things:
1. Avoid other people as much as possible for 2-3 days. That way I can't offend them. If I return a friend's call a couple of days late, I just tell them it was for their own self-protection and we have a good laugh. This is easier for me because I live alone, though.
2. Really heavy exercise. I mean working out to near-exhaustion: long runs, etc. This takes up some time, but it really DOES take the edge off.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 8:12 AM

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OP here

I'd even be willing to try drugs...supplements, vitamins, waving chicken feathers over my head...I just want to be in control of myself.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 8:18 AM

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There's a name for extreme PMS, I forget what it is. My shrink said I have it, and the only thing you can do is take a mood stabilizer (which I do anyway, being bipolar). It's not ideal, but definitely makes life more cope-able. And if you think about it, if you have mood swings for a week each month, you're being grumpy for 3 months out of a year. That's waaay too much.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 8:29 AM

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op again

I didn't realize I had the problem before. Maybe it was amplified after my daughter was born. I'm not the kind of person to blame anything on a medical condition. I would almost feel like having "something" would be more of a problem because I would have an excuse for my behavior.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 10:29 AM

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I definitely have it, and birth control does really make it worse. I've found, though, that keeping up with the exercising really helps. I also get some pills from my acupuncturist that I think help. I believe you can find them at a natural food store (such as Whole Foods). I don't remember the exact name, but look for something that might say aka Free and Easy Wanderer. I start taking them during ovulation and stop right when my period begins. You might find that your period is heavier, but my mood swings have really improved...
Beth (aka Babooshka)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 12:23 PM

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OP, hormonal swings and one's reactions to them USUALLY change with age.

My take on it is that there's nothing wrong with YOU or ME, but that there's a lot wrong with our culture, which seems more and more unable to accomodate natural biorythms and depressions. More and more, we have to be "on" all the time -- always cheerful, always perfect, always bursting with energy. Which is frickin ridiculous, of course. Not that it makes it any easier or more pleasant for you, I know. But what we have is a bad case of being a complicated, messy, yet totally amazing biological organism. :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 12:34 PM

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I also notice this, but now I am much more in control of my body. During those days I am concientous about working out, eating right and managing my stress levels. The better I am about avoiding sugars and fats, the better my routine works for me. Sugar really aggravates this phenomina for me. It may be what I crave, but it only seems to encourage the 'monster'. As a previous poster noted - I work out extra hard since not only does it seem to regulate my body better, but it helps 'take the edge off' emotionally as well. If I'm feeling really irritated and frustrated it helps to really work hard physically. In the summer I often head out to my garden and that works miracles for my mood.

Also, since I recognize what I am like, I work hard to not let it seep into my interactions - "Take the high road or shut up" is what I repeat to myself over and over. I try to keep quieter and listen better and am careful to take a moment to examine the situation when I really feel like lashing out - usually it's not that big a deal and I'm over-reacting.

I used to feel like someone else was in control of my body at those times, but with trial and error and perseverance I have a greater measure of control than I ever used to and some strategies for handling myself before I have to start handing out appologies. Best wishes to you!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 12:53 PM

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i find it surprising that the op would resort to taking drugs for this problem but prefers that it not be a medical condition. are you talking about recreational drugs?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 1:10 PM

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op again

lol, no I do not use recreational drugs. I would rather not use drugs, but if it will help, then yes, I'd try it. I dont' want a condition because I don't want to create an excuse for myself. Like being an alcoholic...alcoholics say they have a disease and can't quit and can't control their actions. I don't want to say I have a disease, whatever kind of hormone swings it may be, I want to be in control. Maybe with a little help, but without saying "Yes, I have this and this is my excuse for acting like a jerk." Btw - I'm 27, so I wouldn't think that my hormones have changed too much other than since my daughter was born.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 1:24 PM

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This is the Free and Easy Wanderer person...

:) Here is a link regarding this herbal medication. What's nice about these pills is that there are no side effects, and I feel they really do help.
I worked with a woman who really suffered from extreme mood swings, and her doctor prescribed anti depressants, but only to take them during that week. I've been on anti depressants for several years, and I don't know how they would have helped her for one week, then not take them again for another 4 weeks! It takes a good 6-8 weeks to notice any kinds of improvement...


Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:20 PM

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2:20 poster again...

Okay, just google free and easy wanderer instead! that will bring you to the link I speak of!

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:21 PM

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you do not want what ails you to be called a disease or condition in order that you will not "fall back" on this identification as an excuse. however, you could learn what most people term the set of symptoms you are experiencing and take action. it may be true that there are alcoholics who call themselves diseased and then do nothing to treat the disease, but this is not because they have a title for their behavior. this is because they do not choose to change or get better. it would appear that you, the op, have a willingness to change so that you and the people around you feel better being together on your "off" days. so, since you are already seemingly out of control, what harm would really come from finding out you have a TREATABLE problem? diagnosis would greatly improve your chances of successfully following proven solutions.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:39 PM

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You might be a person with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This is a pretty serious condition and can really affect your quality of life if you don't treat it. My partner was diagnosed with it and her doctor recommended anti-depressants. She really didn't want to take medication for a whole month just to make a week of her life a little easier. But as time went on, the week turned into 10 days of her cycle and was puncuated by crying, losing her temper (kicking, throwing things, breaking things) and being impossible to be around. I told her that she had to do something--be it yoga, stretching, walking, meditation, therapy or the medication. She finally decided to go on the medication and felt like it made a difference.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:49 PM

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I have this too! I'm on birth control, and my gyno just changed me from ortho cyclen to Loestrin-24 because it gives 24 days of hormone, and 4 days of placebo, instead of 21/7. So, she figured there'd be a shorter amount of time that I'd be crazy! Though, I've only been on it for 2 months now, and both were very stressful months, so I'm not really sure if it's helping or not.

I'm 24, and it's only been this bad for a couple of years, so I'm not sure what changed hormonally for me. I've been on birth control for much longer (since I was 16), and I've never had any children. It may have really started when I finished college and started working; I used to get very emotional in college, and would cry at least once the day before my period started, but I never had the temper and frusteration that I have now!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 5:26 PM

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To the 12:23 poster

The patent you are referring to has helped me tremendously. Also Xiao Yao Wan. I take it for a week before my period until I stop bleeding. Works great.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 9:26 PM

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I absolutely swear by Arbonne's PhytoProlief. It is an all-botanical natural progesterone cream with phyto-estrogens (plant-based estrogens). I call it my Happy Cream. I had the same symptoms you stated including out-of-control rage and teariness for no apparent reason on a monthly basis. This cream has helped me for over 8 years. It is the BEST care I give myself.

You can read a little more about it at:

Read about hormone balance at:

Hope this helps,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 11:33 PM

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OP again

would an IUD stabalize the hormones? I'm looking into a new bc method (since the pill made me really crazy)

Thursday, November 30, 2006, 7:55 AM

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some iud's have hormones, some don't depends on the type you get

Thursday, November 30, 2006, 9:20 AM

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I read this yesterday and today I found a website.

I didn't look into it too much, but maybe this could help you out.

Friday, December 01, 2006, 9:07 AM

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I used to lash out on people the week before my period. I switched birth control from ortho tri cyclen to allese which is a low hormone birth control and that significantly changed my mood swings. I still get sad and angry before my period but it is always, ALWAYS, the Friday and Saturday before my period and since I know that it's coming I avoid people and I openly tell my boyfriend that I'm pissed for no reason. Also, a certain green, smokeable plant helps me relax a little bit better. Sometimes it's better to medicate than to cut people out of a years worth of pictures and then regretting it...

Monday, December 04, 2006, 12:33 AM

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12:33...ah yes, the little green plant. if only we could get it at the pharmacy.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 7:21 AM

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are you advocating the use of illegal substances?

Monday, December 04, 2006, 9:36 AM

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No, I'm advocating the legalization of some illegal substances.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 9:53 AM

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Go gigglytwig :-)))

Monday, December 04, 2006, 11:41 AM

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A low fat vegan diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. No dairy and no meat. If you can't go without meat and dairy then investing in organic milk and truly free range meat is worth the extra cost. Staying as far away from hormone and antibiotic bi-products from dairy and meat as possible. And keep those servings really small. I almost never eat meat anymore and very rarely have dairy. I've noticed a huge difference. Fruits and veggies making up the largest part of your diet. And little to no caffiene.

This has worked for me and has proven it's merit in well controlled studies. Plus it's helping me loose weight. But these days my period just kind of sneeks up on me without the bloat or the mood swings. If I eat otherwise during the month, especially during the week before my period, then the old symptoms come back. So, for me, what I eat has been directly related to any PMS symptoms.

Good luck in finding a solution to your problems.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 12:35 PM

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On a lighter note, this is a fun twist to PMS.


Monday, December 04, 2006, 1:43 PM

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I know this is supposed to be funny, but I actually found it sexist. I just don't think it's helpful to have men and women laugh about the reproductive cycle making women "beasts," not least because PMS certainly doesn't occurr in every woman, and to those it does occurr this hardly helps men understand it. I'm not a fuddy-duddy. I know it was done in good fun, but I think it's representative of an underlying nonconstructive mindset with regard to women's issues. It makes it about "us" vs "them" while the sexes have far more in common than not.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 2:00 PM

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To 2pm: You're entitled to your opinion, no problem. I personally believe that political correctness has gotten way out of hand. Men and women aren't the same. Neither are different races. Granted, that isn't the basis for bigoted behavior. But making jokes about something that affects *most* people within the population isn't in bad taste, in my opinion. I often tease my boyfriend about not being able to multi-task. That's just the way most men are wired, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not demeaning him, just teasing.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 3:44 PM

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from someone who has been teased since birth-i guess i'm an "easy target"-i can hardly tell the difference between harassing, belittling, demeaning and teasing words. i have been told many times that i am "too sensitive". i think i am just right for how i need to be for me. i'm not going to call people on "politcal correctness" or ask that teasers defend themselves, i'm just saying that sometimes people are offended regardless of the intention. i am one of those people. i really try not to impede others' sense of humor, but you've got to know when you might be causing distressing responses from those of us who have been teased all of our lives. i just don't open links that are obviously going to direct me to potentially-offensive jokes. take it easy, all!

Monday, December 04, 2006, 4:07 PM

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2:00PM poster here. I wasn't refering to political correctness and never stated men and womane are the same. I defend the right for people to make things of this nature. I just feel that a lot of our perceived "differences" are cultural constructs as opposed to biologically based. This is not merely opinion, rather has as much scientific merit as the biological arguement. To the original point, I certainly hope anyone who suffers from PMS finds relief.

Monday, December 04, 2006, 4:23 PM

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3.44 here. I think I may have used the wrong word (I'm not American). Teasing to me is "just kidding." It's definitely not malicious. But hey... each to his own. Just sharing my 5c, not trying to offend anyone.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006, 8:30 AM

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And just to get back to the topic - I was soooo pleased to see this thread. Someone said that things change with age, and that's definitely the case for me. I originally had nothing different about the days around my period - but in the last couple of years (I'm 37 now), I find that for a couple of days in the week leading up to my period on some months I become emotionally fragile, feel down and am often close to tears. I don't really get grumpy (actually, that's not true, I used to, but now I know what it is I'm much better as I realise my husband isn't doing anything bad - it's just the temporary lense through which I view the world for those few days), but just my perspective changes. I never linked it to my period, it was my husband who in a very delicate way pointed it out to me - and when I thought about it it was completely true. That realisation was really important for me, as it made me realise that while I was most certainly feeling the way I was feeling - that actually nothing had changed from just a few days earlier when I was very happy and at peace with the world. So - I find it easier to cope with nowadays, because I know that it will just last a couple of days. But at the same time, it's still not so pleasant and certainly feels very real - but like I say, I've gained a greater ability to put things in perspective. I also call it my day of lunacy - because it really does feel like that sometimes lol.

But I felt very comforted by the discussions here, and as well found some of the comments really useful and encouraging. Like the ones around how over time through trial and error we can find strategies to help us better manage these challenging days, also that this is a relatively 'normal' part of the female condition and my situation is fortunately not so bad and is managable, and also yet more positive reminders of the great value of a healthy diet and exercise.

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 07, 2006, 1:30 PM

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Getting LOTS of cardio exercise during PMS and during my period has helped my mood swings TREMENDOUSLY. They are almost non-existent when I keep up with my 1 hour of cardio each day. And I was a real bitch!!! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 10:46 AM

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