Everyone's period is different, but many can agree — your menstrual cycle can definitely affect the way you feel physically, mentally, and sometimes emotionally.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 85 percent of people who menstruate experience symptoms of PMS. In some cases, these symptoms can include irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. In addition, three to nine percent of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe case of PMS with symptoms so severe, people can't keep up their daily routines.
Our menstrual cycles have a serious impact on our mental health, and yet often society dismisses this with an eye roll and a snarky comment about it being Shark Week or something. The symptoms of menstruation have become a joke because they're traditionally a women's problem, and therefore, not worth taking seriously.
But while we're still a ways away from society taking our periods seriously (just think of how regularly our President uses periods as a punchline), we can at least educate ourselves about how they can affect our bodies and minds. Our menstrual cycles are divided into four phases, each of which affects our hormones and by extension, our mental health, quite differently.