Written by Yoppie
29 Nov 2021
Why do I cry during PMS?
PMS crying is so embarrassing! How do I stop it?
Should I always hold back the tears??
How do I manage my mood long-term?
My partner cries a lot during PMS. How can I make them feel better?
It isn’t just crying - PMS gives me feelings of depression. What can I do?
It’s happening. Here come the waterworks… again. If you find yourself weeping like it’s the end of Marley & Me, but lacking a legitimate reason, it could be your PMS. This is normal and happens to many people around their period. We’re taking a closer look at why it occurs, how to avoid it (sometimes) and how to cope with it in a healthy way when there’s no stopping it...
Around 75% of people with periods experience a range of PMS symptoms. For some, their burden is cramps, or acne, or sleep problems. For others, it’s all about mood swings - hello unwanted tears! If you feel sad, anxious or irritated by everything around you in the first few days of your period, you’re not alone.
Crying for no reason (even when you weren’t aware you felt sad) can be a tough symptom to handle, particularly when in a challenging environment like a work meeting or party, and the feeling can be intensified by the stress of a situation.
As with many PMS symptoms, it’s all thanks to hormones. When estrogen and progesterone levels drop after ovulation, this also reduces the level of serotonin in our system, which is responsible for regulating our mood, appetite and sleep. Low serotonin levels can lead to feelings of sadness, even if there’s nothing to be sad about, and change our eating and sleeping patterns which can affect our energy levels and mood - it’s a vicious cycle.
Firstly, there’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about - crying is a normal human emotion that can actually release feelings of tension and make us feel better. While there is an argument for workplaces being more open to people with periods working around any symptoms they have (yes, crying is a symptom), we also know that you’re typically going to want to avoid crying at random work meetings, social events and other inconvenient places.
Stopping crying is a bit like stopping a sneeze - sometimes if it’s got to come out, it’s got to come out! However, you can try these tips to stop it:
Absolutely not! Let it out! Go full Bridget Jones. There are actually benefits to crying: a 2014 study found that crying can have a self-soothing effect, activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which is responsible for relaxation. Further research found actually shedding tears releases oxytocin and endorphins, which helps reduce pain, promote wellbeing and improve sleep.
If your mood fluctuates through the month and you need a long-term solution for excessive crying, there are lifestyle changes that could help regulate your hormones and mood:
Excessive or uncontrollable crying can be a frustrating symptom for the person it’s happening to, and for others around them. It’s important for your partner to know their feelings are valid and being heard, even if they’re PMS-related. Listen to what’s bothering them, do what you can to help relieve their stress, and encourage them to take steps to feel better, like getting an early night, doing an activity together to boost their mood, or just giving a simple hug - research shows hugs can boost oxytocin, so don’t be stingy on the cuddles!
There is a difference between harmless crying spells and depression. Depression can be a serious health concern that should be addressed by a professional, so if your mood feels permanently low and you struggle to improve it through the methods above, seek help from your GP. This may involve counselling, medication or other methods, so always remember there are options to help get you back to feeling like yourself.
Do you have questions about PMS crying? Our Full Stop FB group is a private, inclusive place where you can get real about the embarrassing symptoms of PMS, or you can always DM us on Instagram at @itsyoppie to ask whatever’s on your mind. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual care subscription can get organic tampons, PMS supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, so that's one pretty darn big load off your mind.
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