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Most of us are intimately familiar with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In fact, a full 90% of the female population regularly suffers from PMS. The struggle is sooo real!

A much smaller percentage experience something called postmenstrual syndrome–a relatively new kid on the block–which is a cluster of PMS-like symptoms that crop up just after the end of your period.

First, a reminder that just because something’s common doesn’t mean that it’s biologically normal. In the case of PMS — we’re not meant to suffer each and every month with these symptoms, and a life where your period simply sneaks up on you is completely and totally possible.

An easy place to start is with my Fix Your Period 14-Day Cleanse Program.

Second, just because the traditional medical community hasn’t recognized postmenstrual syndrome yet, doesn’t mean that it’s not a real thing. About 10% of the women I see in my practice experience this phenomenon. And we certainly don’t need our experiences to be validated by researchers in lab coats in order to know that they are happening.

So, if you’re one of those women who starts feeling extremely anxious, irritable, or depressed after your period’s over, keep reading, because there is hope. I see you, I believe you, and I’m rooting for you. 

What Is Postmenstrual Syndrome?

Postmenstrual syndrome is a term that’s used to define the symptoms that women experience just after their period ends. It’s very similar to PMS, but instead of getting hit the week before their period, women who experience postmenstrual syndrome find themselves with typical PMS symptoms just after their period’s ended – usually for a few days but up to two weeks.

Unfortunately, I’ve found these poor dears seem more likely to suffer from both PMS and/or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) — which is essentially a severe form of PMS…and they have postmenstrual issues too. Bleh.

I have noticed the symptoms tend to be more emotional:

  • anxiety (sometimes severe)
  • low mood, moodiness or severe mood swings (sometimes actually feeling depressed)
  • snappiness, impatience or irritability,
  • anger and sometimes rage
  • teary or crying very easily
  • feeling like meltdowns are a regular occurrence.

The physical symptoms I’ve seen most commonly include:

  • vaginal dryness
  • pain during sex
  • vaginal itching or burning
  • feeling cold (sometimes feeling extremely cold and not being able to warm up)
  • physical pain (this can include abdominal pain, joint pain, back and neck pain)
  • headaches (sometimes migraines)
  • digestive problems (particularly diarrhea)

Why Do I Have Anxiety, Brain Fog, And Irritability After My Period?

There are several reasons postmenstrual syndrome may be affecting your life, and for the most part they are the same exact reasons PMS rears its’ ugly head.

The thing is, hormones don’t exist in a vacuum. If there is imbalance with one or two sex hormones, there’s likely an imbalance with other key hormones like thyroid and adrenal hormones too.

These imbalances are not going to only be apparent (through symptoms) at just one time of the month. In many cases you see evidence of the imbalances at different times of the month. Hence why lots of women suffer from both PMS and postmenstrual syndrome.

Hormone Imbalance

The hormones that play a role in the presence of postmenstrual syndrome are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

In addition to regulating the reproductive system, these hormones also heavily influence chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, which all affect mood and even gastrointestinal health.

Your hormonal landscape post menstruation is characterized by low levels of all three of these hormones.

Estrogen in particular is tied to levels of serotonin – where one goes, the other follows. Further, low estrogen is tied to vaginal pain, pain during sex, and vaginal itching.

Androgens like testosterone play a big role in sex drive, mood and cognitive function, therefore low testosterone may have you feeling a little down in the dumps.

Progesterone crashes at the end of your cycle which creates the conditions for the endometrium to break down and your period to start flowing. Progesterone is the “keep calm and carry on” hormone, and low levels can contribute to the symptoms described above.

When your menstrual cycle is functioning properly, there’s a very specific cadence to the ebb and flow of hormones in your body.

Ideally, after we ovulate, levels of progesterone rise. This hormone is the sister to estrogen, and they have to play nice with each other. If you’re not ovulating or if your progesterone levels aren’t high enough to combat the estrogen, that’s when the crazy symptoms start.

Blood Sugar Dysregulation and Insulin Resistance

An overwhelming amount of the population has issues with insulin resistance, and most of them aren’t even aware of the issue. Also — 75-95% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also have insulin dysregulation.

When pre- or postmenstrual syndrome strikes, insulin dysregulation is a likely root cause.

Because we’ve been conditioned to consume a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars — toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner, then dessert…we’ve created an environment within our bodies that’s ripe for blood sugar and insulin dysregulation.

And did you know that every time you eat, your insulin spikes? That’s right, it turns out all those experts who encouraged us to eat small meals all day long set us up for blood sugar nightmares.

Not to mention, our lives are stressful. And our hormones suffer because of it. Problem is, our stress hormone cortisol raises our blood sugar, which raises our insulin levels and this hinders our liver from doing its job of processing estrogen and getting it out of our body quickly.

Cue hormone imbalances.

Blood Loss and Nutrient Depletion

Many women lose a significant amount of blood and nutrients during menstruation, which can leave their bodies depleted. This contributes to a lot of those symptoms I described already. Low iron and iron deficiency anemia has been found to be a culprit in symptoms like anxiety, moodiness, fatigue, feelings of coldness, and headaches and migraines to name a few.

In fact there was a study done that found low ferritin (how iron is stored in the body) caused by blood loss, triggers migraines and headaches at the tail end of the cycle, so there is some evidence that iron problems could be behind post-menstrual syndrome.

Treatment For Postmenstrual Syndrome

One of the easiest ways to start fixing postmenstrual syndrome is to supercharge your insulin sensitivity. My Fix Your Blood Sugar Protocol can turn around the debilitating symptoms of pre and post-menstrual syndrome in a matter of months.

Can you imagine a life without PMS symptoms? A life where your period sneaks up on you and then after it’s over, you just go about your life, no more sudden bouts of depression the day after your period ends?

No anxiety. No weird stomach issues. No more snapping at your peeps because you just can’t help yourself. The unexplained tears and emotional rollercoaster — gone.

Let me teach you how to actually ditch those cravings for carbs and sweets for good — because it’s impossible to just give them up when your body is telling you it needs them! And I’ll show you the easy way to keep blood sugar stable every day so you don’t get into this mess again.

If you’re suffering from pre or postmenstrual syndrome, PCOS, or you’ve been told you have insulin resistance, you can find more information about this program here.

You’re Not Alone

If you’ve landed here feeling desperate because you know that what you’re experiencing is real, and yet, no doctor or online forum has been able to validate your concerns, welcome.

It’s my hope that you’ll feel empowered to take control of your hormonal health and that with some time and education, you’ll be an expert on exactly how your amazing body works. I believe we shouldn’t have to go to medical school to understand how to best take care of ourselves.

I share every ounce of knowledge and expertise I’ve gained over the years regularly with my mailing list, and I’d love to count you among my group of Periodistas. If you sign up here, I’ll send you updates every time a new article comes out, and tips and tricks for managing those hormones regularly.

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Want even more hormone and period lovin’ content?

  • Take my quiz to find out what’s up with your period and hormones, and get my FREE Fix Your Period Quickstart Kit 7-Day Course.
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  • Subscribe to my podcast The Period Party that I cohost with my friend Dr. Nat Kringoudis.
  • Let’s get social! Join me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest info on periods, hormones and of course a glimpse into my life and what I’m up to on the daily.
  • Ready to become your own health advocate and massively uplevel your period game? I’ve got you covered in my Fix Your Period series of programs. You’ll find the right program for you here!

Medical Disclaimer

Information in this post and on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of practice experience and research by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate disclosure.

Sources

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“Sex hormones affect neurotransmitters and ….” 20 Feb. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4335177/.

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“An overlooked connection: serotonergic mediation of … – NCBI.” 20 Dec. 2005, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1327664/.

“Distinct cognitive effects of estrogen and … – NCBI – NIH.” 14 May. 2015,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490102/

“All Women With PCOS Should Be Treated For … – NCBI – NIH.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277302/.

“Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Insulin Resistance … – NCBI – NIH.” 28 Jan. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334071/.

“Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have … – NCBI – NIH.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23315061.