It’s not known exactly how PMS causes depression, but it’s probably connected to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the second half of the menstrual cycle, sensitivity of the central nervous system to reproductive hormones, genetic factors, and psychosocial factors such as stress.
Changes in levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate appetite, sleep cycle, and mood. Low serotonin levels may lead to feelings of irritability and sadness, unusual food cravings, and trouble sleeping, all of which are symptoms of PMS. In addition to these symptoms and depression while on your period you may also have:
- Increased anger
- Increased crying
- Decreased libido
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Eating too little or too much
- Tiredness or fatigue
Why does depression worsen during periods?
Depression may also be exacerbated during your period due to PMDD. PMDD is quite similar to PMS, but its symptoms are more severe. Many people who experience PMDD report extreme depression before and during their periods. According to estimates, around 30 percent of people who get periods experience PMS in their reproductive years, and anywhere from three to eight percent experience PMDD.