Personally, I’ve done a lot of work to balance my hormones, including tracking my cycle religiously with the Natural Cycle’s app and taking mbg’s Functional Nutrition Program to better understand how the foods I eat affect my hormone balance. I’ve done a 90-day anti-Candida diet, majorly cut down on my alcohol and caffeine intake, and wistfully waved goodbye to almost all simple carbs. All of this has helped immensely, but I was still suffering from a low mood in the days leading up to my period. Some months were worse than others. One cycle I noticed tears welling up in my eyes when I saw a puppy on the street (embarrassing, yes—but totally manageable), and the next month the whole world and every aspect of my life felt dark and stormy for days on end. And so I embarked on a mission to figure out exactly why this was happening and what I might be able to do about it.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Boham, a functional-medicine-certified physical and registered dietitian, this is very common "These pre-period symptoms can include feelings of sadness, anxiousness, irritability, anger, less interest in things, fatigue, change in sleep, and physical symptoms such as breast pain, fluid retention, weight gain, and headaches." Any of those sound familiar? Dr. Boham also explained that some women just seem to be more sensitive to the fluctuations in hormones that occur throughout the month, leaving them especially vulnerable to pre-period depression.