Panic Attacks and Menstruation

Panic Attacks and MenstruationI’ve been feeling really, really good lately in as far as handling my social anxiety symptoms and panic attacks. So when I had two major incidents last week where I backslid with anxiety, I felt hugely disappointed.

And then this morning I got my period, and it all kinda made sense. I don’t know if there’s any medical evidence linking panic attacks and menstruation, but I can say with certainty that the premenstrual phase can really bring out my worst anxiety symptoms.

The thing is, when I’m not aware of what part of the month it is, and then I have a major setback after so much progress in my anxiety recovery, it feels like A- like I’m never, ever going to get better B- that I’m actually getting worse. I know neither of these statements are true, but those automatic negative thoughts just pop up.

A few days ago I went to a step class at the gym and there was a line outside the classroom door. One of my neighbors was there. This lady used to be a panic attack trigger for me, but lately and especially after going to the lunch last week, I have been pretty cool with being in her presence.

Well, standing there that morning, you never would have known I had made so much progress with my anxiety self help efforts. We were having polite conversation, nothing heavy, and I was literally having wave after wave of panic. I must have had 3 in a row. It sucked. :( I also couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do to diffuse the panic because my mind went blank. I  did have the good sense not to go running out the door (even though I felt like it bad). I forced myself to stay put.

Once the door opened and we were able to go into the class, my muscles felt like jello. That was the aftermath from standing there trying to look normal while making small talk while simultaneously having severe panic attacks. I was also hypersensitive throughout most of the class, feeling like all eyes were on me. I knew this wasn’t true, but it felt mighty uncomfortable. Thankfully I forced myself to stay for the entire class.

When I was driving home I remembered something I read about fear. I can’t quote it but the author said something like when you are in a state of panic, you lose all short term memory. (!!) Well, that would explain why I couldn’t remember what to do when I was standing there talking to the neighbor.

The next day at my Al-Anon meeting, the room was filled to capacity, and it started to bother me. I didn’t bolt from the room, but I had to pass when it was my turn to share. Again, I felt the symptoms of anxiety and my mind went blank. I could not remember what I was supposed to do in order to stop the crappy feelings. This is a room filled with freinds and really really nice people, so I was really disappointed and down on myself that I didn’t’ share how I was feeling.

It only occurred to me why I was having these setbacks this morning when I got my period. I would have to say for me there definitely is a strong link between panic attacks and menstruation, or at least that I am more vulnerable to panic attacks during that time.

The other reason I feel this is true is that I feel better overall now that I have my period. I was feeling soooo despondent over my recent lackluster job search, and hypersensitive/offended about some stupid thing my sister-in-law did. All this petty nonsense about bullshit, along with my bitchiness and moodiness- poof: GONE.

Sorry for all this talk about periods to any guys that may be reading this. But if you have wives or girlfriends with anxiety and panic attacks, it could be helpful for you to understand the possible link between panic attacks and menstruation.

Ok, so I have this new information. What am I going to do with it?

It’s not enough for me to just know this about myself- that I’m more at risk for anxiety pre- period– I want to make sure next month is better. This is my plan:

I’m going to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simple as pie. I have to. If I am starting to panic and my mind fails me, I have to be able to know what to do. I’m going to sear into my mind what to do to stop panic attacks (and I suggest you do the same):

  1. I’m going to mark my calendar so I know when I’m in the pre-menstrual phase. Awareness is huge. If I can say, “Oh yeah, it’s nearing that time of the month, time for me to be on guard”- I know I won’t be blindsided like I was this month. ;)
  2. I’m going to listen to my anxiety self help audios before I start my day. If you have a favorite anxiety help book, get it out and re-read it as many times as you have to. You can also bookmark the Anxiety Tips & Help page here and refer to it as much as you need to.
  3. And if panic happens to strike, I’m going to remember to Face, Accept, Float, and Let Time Pass. (This is from Peace from Nervous Suffering and also from my Anxiety Self help Road Map.)
  4. I will force myself to share about it. Sharing troubles always cuts them in half, as the old saying goes. So I’m sharing with all you here, and I also called my friend Danielle this morning and spilled my guts. It felt good.

How about you? Do you notice a correlation between panic attacks and menstruation?

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

Looking for an effective anxiety elimination program? Are you ready to take action? I recommend the Anxiety Self Help Road Map. Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.

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This entry was posted in Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Panic Attacks and Menstruation

  1. Z says:

    Yes! I have said this before too! Don’t know if there is actually evidence to support this – but it is true for me. The week before my period my anxiety is in over-drive. I have been tracking my pd too – just for this reason. That way I can prepare myself. I have honestly re-scheduled appointments etc so that they do not fall during that time because I know they would be so much harder to go to that week.
    I use joesgoals.com to track my stuff. Not just my pds, but sleep, coffee intake, whether I took my vitamins, etc. It helps a lot :) Thanks for this post!

    • JillG says:

      Good for you for keeping track of all your stuff! It just hit me today today to do this after the crappy week I had. PMS sucks, I really wish doctors would get on board and help us instead of just making us feel like we’re *emotional.* Hell, I already know I’m emotional :)
      Gotta check out joesgoals- thanks for the recommendation!

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  3. Holly says:

    Thanks very much for this information! Keep up the great work!

  4. Ashlie says:

    This is crazy, me and some of my girl friends were just discussing how things get so much harder to deal with around that time of the month!

  5. Anna says:

    I think I just had my first panic attack right before my period.

  6. Sara says:

    Yes , same thing is happening to me I have anxiety and panic attacks I take mediction and it has made a huge difference … however I was supposed to have my period 10 days ago but I didn’t but am having more symptoms now and I expect to have it in the coming days my anxiety peaks before my period …. being a female isn’t the easiest thing though !!

  7. Kat says:

    I know how you all feel, I am going through this as we speak. I called my Doc I hope he can help as I am losing myself in the madness of these panic attacks.
    Good luck to you all.

  8. Olga says:

    Wow, I am not alone having panic attacks during my periods! My husband has even got used to that and he’s very supportive, he just says ‘nothing special is happening, those are just your hormones’. But it is scary! Also, I ‘ve noticed that alcohol and coffeine aggravates the condition, so it’s better to avoid it before and during the period.

  9. Love L says:

    I have been searching online about this topic and I finally found one. It happens to me too every month. Days before my period starts, I feel more anxious. I even asked my OB-GyN one time and she wasn’t able to give me an answer..

    So, it’s not just me!

  10. Jen says:

    I have panic attacks about 2-3 days before my period starts every month. The kicker this month? I’m getting married in 3 days and i’m supposed to be getting my period the same day. So…..I’m a basket case right now! I feel so upset that I can’t control it and I just want them to stop. I’m working to remember that in a few days I won’t feel like this! Working to just accept and float…

    • JillG says:

      Hi Jen- Congratulations honey! You have a HUGE day ahead of you and you certainly don’t want to have to deal with anxiety. If I can make a suggestion- you should get a self hypnosis download to stop panic attacks to help you right away [[Like This One]]- you can listen to it whenever you have a few minutes over the next 2 days- even when you’re in the bathroom, for example. It will definitely help you. Congratulations and have a wonderful magnificent wedding!

  11. Marie says:

    This has been really refreshing to read. It automatically allowed me to gain perspective on this topic.. as, I too am going through anxiety and panic attacks during and around my period. Thank you for your positive outlook and help. I really appreciate all of the effort you’ve put into help people, like me. Big hugs.

  12. Eve says:

    Thanks for this article. I was wondering why I got such bad panic attacks these two days. Went to the emergency department just now because I seriously don’t know what’s happening to me. I am having my period since yesterday and that may be the reason. But honestly the attacks are scary!

  13. L herzog says:

    First I’ll pass on something I learned that helps when you are in the midst of a panic attack; with the edge of your hand press your hand at the base of your skull, with your other hand pinch the bridge of your nose with two fingers while pressing a third into the middle of your forhead, it will immediately start to calm you, bizarre but true. As to the link with your cycle, sooooo true because right before your cycle progesterone drops which signals the estrogen to rise and you’re get your period! Progesterone is the calming hormonal that is out of whack for a lot of us. You might want to go to a an integrative medicine doctor and have your hormones tested on day 21 of your cycle. You can get progesterone cream from a vitamin store but you have to know how to use it. Wish I knew about this when I was younger! When you don’t produce enough during your cycle it wiproduction will drop off dramafically which is why some people have PMS worse than others. Why should you suffer if there is a natural alternative to being on an even keil?

    Good luck!

  14. L herzog says:

    Sorry about the typos my tablet wasn’t letting me edit and was choosing words for me!

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