Just Wondering: Why Do I Have Panic Attacks During My Period?

Just Wondering: Why Do I Have Panic Attacks During My Period?

Welcome to our Just Wondering series, in which local pros tackle your most burning health and fitness questions. Got a question of your own? Send it here!

Sometimes a good cry is just what ya need. But other times, the feelings attack all at once.

Even though I’ve never been prone to anxiety, lately I’ve been having panic attacks during that very special (already rollercoaster-y!) time of the month. What’s behind my period-induced panic moments? Are my hormones to blame? And how can I combat the unexpected feels?

“Progesterone is a hormone that increases in the later half of one’s menstrual cycle. This hormone stimulates the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that is among other things responsible for the fight or flight response. This stimulation can lead to feelings of extreme stress.   

“Some of the ways to attempt to manage this would be through nutrition and exercise.  Foods high in sugar can make you feel more agitated. Better nutrition will make you feel better. Exercise causes a release of endorphins. This is the body’s natural happy pill which is basically a natural high that can significantly improve your mood, decrease anxiety, etc. If that fails, there are medications which can be helpful.” Dr. Wesley Grootwassink, OBGYN West

December 13, 2023

9:00 AM