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How to Deal With Serious Depression Before a Menstrual Period

By Erin Carson ; Updated August 14, 2017

Severe depression, irritability and tension that occurs 10 to 14 days before your period starts and goes away within a few days of its onset might indicate a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. If you suspect PMDD, schedule an appointment with your doctor, who can recommend medications and treatments that can help you manage your depression. Although they are not substitutes for appropriate medical treatment, certain diet and lifestyle changes might help you cope with depression and other symptoms associated with this condition.

  1. Exercise at least three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, brisk walking or cycling, can reduce the symptoms of PMDD, according to Exercise can also give you an energy boost and help you sleep better.

  2. Overhaul your diet. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists suggests that a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can reduce mood symptoms. Eliminate caffeine from your diet to alleviate the jitteriness and anxiety often associated with PMDD.

  3. Take nutritional supplements. recommends adding 1,000 mg of calcium to your daily diet to alleviate the physical and mental symptoms of PMDD. Other nutrients that might help women suffering from depression associated with PMDD include magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B-6 and tryptophan.

  4. Employ stress-reduction techniques. Yoga, breathing exercises, massage, reflexology, meditation and other stress relievers can teach you relaxation methods, which can make it easier to manage depression, irritability and anger.

  5. Explore herbal remedies. According to, some medical trials suggest that chasteberry can reduce some of the irritability and mood swings associated with PMS and PMDD. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal remedy designed for PMS or PMDD to ensure it is safe and effective.

  6. Tip

    Adequate sleep and a regular sleep cycle might help lessen the severity of your depression. Birth controls suppress ovulation, which can stabilize hormonal fluctuations that contribute to PMDD. If you do not wish to become pregnant, this might be an effective alternative to antidepressant medications.


    Although diet and lifestyle changes can help women experiencing mild to moderate PMS, they often do not relieve depression in women with PMDD or severe PMS. Women with PMDD often need prescription antidepressants to help them manage depression. Severe depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Call a local crisis line or 911 if you get suicidal thoughts.

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