Aunt Flo
November 13, 2010 6:55 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to stop being such an irritable Eve during PMS?

For about a whole week every month, I get so ridiculously emotional, which usually manifests itself in getting really dark and upset with everyone. This is the time where it seems like all the world problems I'd been thinking about all come together to plague me. It's really annoying. I find it hard to concentrate and get things done, which really takes a good chunk out of my month.

Are there any vitamins I should take? Things I should consider? I've considered 365-day birth control, but that seems extreme. I do like to drink a lot of Ovaltine, though. It has magnesium...and B vitamins...
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tipping a little Bailey's into my coffee helps, though my PMS irritability is more garden-variety irritability than 'emotional' and if you are weepy I wonder if that wouldn't make it worse...
posted by kmennie at 7:09 PM on November 13, 2010


My husband says I've been a lot less of a bitch during PMS since I started taking Celexa.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:13 PM on November 13, 2010


Evening primrose oil capsules.
posted by amro at 7:32 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


My doctor put me on Yaz for these symptoms. It's only got 4 blank pills per month, so my PMS and periods are less severe and over quicker. It's been a life saver. (One of my friends went on it, too, and it made her feel worse. Everyone's different.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2010


IANAD, but I think that if this is disrupting your life (as your post implies) then you might think about PMDD and whether your symptoms fit the bill. Then talk to your doctor (I would think that either a GYN or a GP would be able to help) and decide what options seem appropriate.

(It took me a long time to realize that my miseries were cyclical--yes, that cycle--and, once diagnosed, I found some medications that helped enormously. It might not be all in your head.)
posted by scratch at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Use a calendar and warn yourself that you aren't seeing clearly that week. I personally cry alot and feel horrible about everything, and I have to keep myself busy watching television or eating comfort foods. I don't use bc because the many times I attempted to, it either made me more emotional or made me bleed for two months, and while some women in my life rolled their eyes and said to tough out the two month long bleed and weight gain, I'm not going to try that ever again because it's just not worth it to me even if my doctor promised my body would adjust eventually. forget about it.

Just sign up for one of those apps that warn you ahead of time that Aunt Flo is on her way, and be kind to yourself. If you get irritable, apologize. I also just stay away from loved ones during that week and just keep busy.
posted by anniecat at 7:46 PM on November 13, 2010


I have this problem. Oh man, do I ever. Try to stay away from caffeine and sugar, and get plenty of exercise.
posted by aniola at 8:18 PM on November 13, 2010


I use mymonthlycycles.com to keep track of my cycle and symptoms. I enter in the dates of my period and any symptoms I might have during the month--break-outs and the runs and crying jags and high libido and all sorts of other wonderful hormonally caused stuff. It's really helped me see the patterns in my hormonal fluctuations, and has been a really nice way to illustrate that these are actual, hormonally linked symptoms (like, if I have stomach upset on the days that I ovulate, every single month, I know not to worry about food poisoning). It's also helped me to be more self-aware of PMS. Just knowing that my feelings are influenced by hormones and this is not a reaction to anything in my real life goes a long way to alleviating some of the grief of PMS--and being able to look at those symptoms on a calendar month in and month out makes it seem that much more concrete for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:19 PM on November 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Taking B6 has helped me some with PMS symptoms, but if it's really disruptive for you I'd second talking to your doctor about PMDD.

And FWIW I like Monthlyinfo.com for tracking. It's browser based with a simple interface and you can set email or SMS reminders and add notes with symptoms, etc.
posted by camyram at 8:24 PM on November 13, 2010


My doctor put me on Yaz for these symptoms. It's only got 4 blank pills per month, so my PMS and periods are less severe and over quicker.

For anyone on hormonal birth control, you can take it a step further if you want and just skip the placebos altogether. For many people this eliminates PMS-type symptoms and bleeding.
posted by Violet Hour at 8:26 PM on November 13, 2010


You could talk to your doctor about prescribing a very low dose of fluoxetine.
posted by flabdablet at 2:08 AM on November 14, 2010


My PMS mentalism has curbed considerably since taking fish oil with evening primrose oil in it. I have no patience with supplements so it helps to have capsules that are fun to eat. These seem to work best for me.

Otherwise, I just steer try to clear of people as best I can on tender days and just say something along the lines of 'Sorry, I'm a bit fragile today' if the emotion gets to the surface.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:10 AM on November 14, 2010


I've found not eating like shit to really have a big impact on the awesomeness that is PMDD.

Which means not eating all of the things I most want to eat during that time: frozen pizzas, chips, french fries. For me, it's carbs, sodium, and sugar that are the major problems. So basically I eat a lot of vegetables--when I'm smart. When I'm not smart I eat the things in the first sentence and then want to stab my entire family and then myself and then bury the world in a posthumous explosion.

So--good carbs and foods with nutritional value (refried beans and brown rice burritos, chicory salad with little bits of bacon, kale with beans and pasta....etc) I like food so it's a good time to try new things that don't suck. It makes it seem less like being in a dietary prison.

I have one day, usually the day right before when I simply can't take it anymore, when I go nuts and eat whatever I want and then lie around feeling like a sodium laden Jabba the Hut.

YMMV.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:36 AM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Have you tried exercise around the horrible time? Try a simple yoga or stretching class that gives your muscles a workout and gets you to focus on your breathing. Stick to it, even when everything looks black. You may be very pleasantly surprised.
posted by Paris Elk at 4:07 AM on November 14, 2010


You don't have to go 365--have you considered doing 3 months on, then a break, then 3 more months on...basically having your "period" 4 times a year instead of 12 times or so?

I have a friend who swears by it.

Another loves her IUD for the same reason.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:40 AM on November 14, 2010


I have had great success taking a calcium/magnesium supplement and extra B vitamins daily, plus taking vigorous walks outside during Hell Week.

I haven't taken Yaz, but every hormonal birth control I tried made me even more of a hormonal crazy person.
posted by apricot at 7:36 AM on November 14, 2010


I have found that my emotion related PMS symptoms are best ignored. I used to feel like the world was going to end, I hated everyone, and I was miserable. Then I figured out that this happened monthly (duh!) and I got to the point where I just ignored these feelings. I would tell myself, "Oh, that's just the PMS talking" (but God help anyone else who said those words to me!) I stopped making important decisions during that time, always made myself wait a week to take action on any emotion that arose during my PMS week, and isolated myself when possible so as not to hurt other people by my nastiness. This really really helped me and all the people who had to be around me during that week. Oh, and I would really look forward to that one, "Everything is perfect, life is wonderful, happy happy happy" day that inevitably followed my PMS week. Why I had to suffer with a whole week of misery and got only one day of perfect joy in exchange is something I am planning to discuss with God if/when I get a chance to see Him.
posted by eleslie at 7:44 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vitamin D makes me less weepy generally. Not specifically PMS advice, but it might help!
posted by Eshkol at 8:42 AM on November 14, 2010


I'm a fan of HotPantz, a book (that's now a free PDF!) of DIY herbal remedies for women's bodies. For PMS, the authors recommend: lowering your intake of salt, eating food rich in potassium, eating seaweed, making foods high in vitamin B6 a part of your regular diet, taking vitamin A, and drinking lots of water.
posted by mademoiselle pamplemousse at 9:03 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I find that B Complex helps smooth me out anytime I'm in a serious bitch funk I can't seem to shake. PMS-related or not.
posted by Sara C. at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2010


I have found that my emotion related PMS symptoms are best ignored. I used to feel like the world was going to end, I hated everyone, and I was miserable. Then I figured out that this happened monthly (duh!) and I got to the point where I just ignored these feelings. I would tell myself, "Oh, that's just the PMS talking" (but God help anyone else who said those words to me!) I stopped making important decisions during that time, always made myself wait a week to take action on any emotion that arose during my PMS week, and isolated myself when possible so as not to hurt other people by my nastiness. This really really helped me and all the people who had to be around me during that week.

I do this, too. It's amazing how much that alone helps.

When I'm consistently eating well and exercising, my physical and emotional symptoms are drastically reduced. Eating well for me means avoiding sugary treats and processed carb-bombs, and choosing 3 well-rounded meals and a healthy snack. I stick to whole grains and include lots of veggies and fruits.
posted by moira at 5:59 PM on November 14, 2010


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