The menstrual cycle when a woman bleeds for a few days is known as a period. Find out whether there is a link between period cramps and mental health issues.

Periods are when a woman’s uterus releases tissues, causing her to bleed from the vagina. The bleeding occurs for a few days and causes physical symptoms like cramps, bloating, and backache. Periods generally return within 21 to 40 days of the women’s menstrual cycle, but it varies from woman to woman. Women also experience mood swings around their periods due to hormonal changes. In some cases, women may notice signs of anxiety, depression, or other psychological conditions. In this article, we will explore period symptoms and how they can affect a woman’s mental health.

What is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle provides necessary body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. The cycle entails changes in hormone production to prepare your body for pregnancy each month. The uterus and ovaries undergo changes as well, resulting in the creation and shedding of eggs.

Missed or late periods happen for many reasons other than pregnancy. These causes can vary significantly; some can be just hormonal imbalances, while others could be severe medical conditions. There are also two times in a woman’s life when it’s normal for her period to be irregular: when it first begins and when menopause starts.

Phases of the menstrual cycle

  • Menstrual phase: It is day 1 of menstruation. The uterus lining, which gets prepared for implantation, breaks down. This lasts for 3 to 5 days,
  • Follicular phase: The primary follicle develops into a fully grown Graafian follicle during this phase. Meanwhile, the proliferation of the endometrium starts as well, and the uterus begins the preparation for another pregnancy. Mood swings are most dominant during this time.
  • Ovulatory phase: This phase is also called the mid-cycle phase. This is the phase in which ovulation takes place, i.e., days 13-17. The end of the follicular phase and the ovulation period define fertilisation.
  • Luteal phase: It is the post-ovulation phase, where the fate of the corpus luteum is decided. If fertilisation occurs, pregnancy starts. If fertilisation does not occur, it marks the onset of another cycle.

What are the symptoms of a period?

  • Stomachache due to period cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling tired 
  • Sore or tender breasts
  • Acne
  • Headache
  • Bloating 
  • Backache

Pre-existing mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, may also get worse during a woman’s periods. This is primarily due to hormonal changes in the body. 

The role of hormones in the menstrual cycle

In the human body, hormones are responsible for various changes. Hormones are chemical messengers released by the endocrine glands. Menstruation is regulated by female hormones, such as: 

  • Oestrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Follicular stimulating hormone
  • Luteinising hormone

The levels of these hormones vary according to the phase of the menstrual cycle. For instance, oestrogen production rises during the follicular and luteal phases. An imbalance in hormone production is likely to trigger mental health issues more easily in women.

Let us explore the link between mental health and menstruation in more detail below.

Psychological changes during periods

Periods can trigger various emotional effects on a woman’s body. These may range from crying sprees to anxiety attacks. The intensity of these symptoms also varies quickly, with women experiencing extreme emotions and then feeling normal in a very short span of time. 

Irritability, anger, depression, hypersensitivity are some of the emotional period symptoms which women encounter. These emotional and behavioural changes in response to the menstrual cycle are signs of a common condition called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMS is very common and can affect up to 70% of women.

At times, menstruating women may find themselves unable to function normally at work, school, or other important areas of life. They may feel disinterested in other things, which leads to hindrance in the work or daily chores. Such intense low emotions may be a sign of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). 

PMDD is a rare condition that disrupts the brain’s chemical balance. However, it only affects 3 to 8% of women. Women experiencing these excessive period symptoms must consult their healthcare provider to effectively manage their condition.


A menstrual cycle when a woman bleeds for a few days is called a period. This usually happens every 28 days; however, it may vary from woman to woman. A cycle is counted from the first day of the period to the first day of the next period. 

Apart from causing physical symptoms like bloating and cramps, periods can affect your mood, too. This is because the production of hormones fluctuates during your menstrual cycle, leading to irritation, sadness, and anxiety. These sudden and erratic behavioural and emotional changes can hinder a woman’s daily chores and social relationships.

Thus, it is necessary to be aware of hormonal changes triggered by periods. Those experiencing extreme or persistent period symptoms must consult their doctor.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the CBSC Class 12 Examination Preparation.

How do periods start?

Ans. The process is long; an egg travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus. If the egg meets a sperm cell and ge...Read full

What is the average duration of periods?

Ans. The average duration of periods is 3-4 days. However, these can be a little irregular for a few women....Read full

Why do women’s behaviour change during periods?

Ans. Two hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, control a female’s sexual characteristics and menstrual cycle. Duri...Read full

How does period affect mental health?

Ans. Periods can cause moodiness, bloating, and body pain. Women who are already diagnosed with mental health condit...Read full

At what age does the period stop?

Ans. At the start of the 40 years, periods tend to become irregular, longer or shorter, light or heavy, and less fre...Read full