Root Cause of My PMS Irritability
What I've Tried So Far
It's not 100% accurate to label my irritability as PMS-related. It happens twice a month, once prior to ovulation and again before my period. It's awful for me and unpleasant for my husband and the kids. I've tried everything that doctors typically recommend from lifestyle changes (e.g. exercising and sleeping regularly; cutting back on sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and dairy; reducing stress) to pharmaceuticals, namely, Sarafem.
I've been on the Pill in the past and it makes things worse, not better, and I wasn't willing to endure the physical upheaval and emotional rollercoaster of trying one formulation after another. I recently went on Xiao Yao, a Chinese herbal blend, which has helped nibble around the margins. The lifestyle changes made a big dent in the irritability in terms of duration, and the Xiao Yao has helped to modulate the intensity.
What Has Worked
The only thing that completely eliminated my PMS moodiness was one weekend when my husband brought my kids to visit his parents and I stayed home by myself. It was lonely and I missed them. But it was also the first time that I cleaned the house and it stayed clean for an entire 2 days. And I could hear myself think, uninterrupted. I was not a little bit irritable for even a moment.
I think this all goes back to the fact that I am generally an introvert and need quiet, alone time to get my head straight, regroup, and recharge. Living with two youngs kids who are happy and rambunctious (for which I feel truly blessed), and enjoy climbing all over me and talking to me all day takes a toll. There is no real reprieve and my batteries get drained.
Add in the hormonal fluctuations and it makes complete sense why I am impatient and crabby twice a month. I'll continue with the acupuncture for a few more weeks, but I suspect at this point that my family and I will simply have to accept the periodic crankiness. At least until my kids grow up (waaahhh!) ... then, onto menopause!