Feel like crap towards the end of your period? This is for you!

I received a Facebook message today from someone who has noticed their cycle changing over the last five months. Here’s what they told me:

I used to get very tearful and angry prior to my period, like a lot of people. Now I tend to have these symptoms on the last day of my winter, with very dark thoughts, to the point I feel I may have to go down the antidepressant route (or St Johns Wort as a non-pharmaceutical treatment). Have you come across anyone who experiences post-menstrual anger/anxiety/depression? Or can you recommend any reading around how I can manage this? It is beginning to have a big impact on my marriage, parenting and life overall.

[Prefer to watch my video reply? Click here to watch it]

The short answer is that I do find this to be a fairly common experience. A number of women that I’ve worked with have told me that towards the end of their period, quite classically around day six, they really start to struggle.

Cycle tracking results in improved mental health, and sometimes it can highlight that there's an issue going on. What’s important is uncovering what’s going on in the background that’s causing you to feel this way. Here’s how you can do that:

Double down on cycle tracking.

Get to know when these issues are showing up and what might be triggering them if they're occurring on particular days. Note down what you’re doing on the days that precede the ones where you hit a low – are you doing too much in your inner Winter?

Do you have a hard time when you’re on your period but once your symptoms go away, perhaps you just dive right in and do way too much too soon? This is a time when I really caution people to hold back a bit and not go full throttle. There's a time for that and that's later on. Cycle tracking will help you to figure this out.

Deal with any period issues.

This person also shared with me that they struggle with their period and it's important to look at what's going on there. They are making adjustments through diet and lifestyle and sometimes it can take a few months to see the full effect of that, but they can definitely make a big difference.

Pain is exhausting to have to deal with and I think we underestimate that. And of course, if you've got a particularly heavy flow, then that's going to leave you feeling wiped out. So, you really want to look at what's going on there and take measures to resolve them.

Find out if there’s an underlying issue.

There are a number of different things that could be going on in the background, and either be affecting this phase of the cycle or all of the cycle.

1. Low iron levels.
This is particularly relevant if you have a heavy period, but I also see women who are iron deficient who have very light periods or no periods at all.

Symptoms include:

·      Fatigue.

·      Weakness.

·      Pale skin.

·      Headache.

·      Dizziness.

·      Light headedness.

·      Shortness of breath.

·      Brittle nails.

·      Cold hands and feet.

2. Low oestrogen. 
This is the phase of the cycle when oestrogen is getting going, but if you have low oestrogen then you may not be feeling so good. Oestrogen production can decline with age and around perimenopause (symptoms of this can start as early as 35 years old), as well as after having a baby and during breastfeeding. It can also be low as a result of being on the pill, excessive exercise and disordered eating.

Symptoms include:

·      Vaginal dryness.

·      Painful sex.

·      Fatigue.

·      Depression.

·      Trouble concentrating.

·      Hot flushes.

·      Poor memory.

·      Getting urinary tract infections (UTIs).

·      Irregular or absent periods.

 3. An under active thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Hypothyroidism affects women more than men and the risk for developing it increases with age.

Symptoms include:

·      Fatigue.

·      Increased sensitivity to cold.

·      Weight gain.

·      Depression.

·      Heavier than normal or irregular periods.

·      Thinning hair.

·      Impaired memory.

·      Dry skin.

·      Constipation.

 

Key points:

What’s important is that you track your cycle and symptoms (you can get a FREE PDF here to get started with). Be very detailed with cycle tracking, particularly in that first week or so of your cycle.

If you're tired towards the end of your period, then it may be that you're doing way too much all cycle long. Get clear on what your limits are and what your boundaries are.

Address any menstrual symptoms that could be causing you to feel this way and work with your GP or other health care practitioners to find out if there's an underlying issue that could be causing it.

 

Maisie Hill