To treat depression related to a woman's menstrual cycle, MedlinePlus recommends making healthy lifestyle changes to improve fitness and dietary habits, such as engaging in frequent physical activity and eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salt are all known to exacerbate symptoms related to depression. Patients may also seek professional psychological counseling or take antidepressants during the second half of their cycle.
Additional treatment options for menstrual depression include the use of birth control pills, vitamin B6 and magnesium. According to MedlinePlus, true depression experienced during the menstrual cycle is referred to as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and it is different from the typical mood shifts experienced with premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms of PMDD are much more debilitating, and it can manifest as panic attacks, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in relationships and daily activities, binge eating, insomnia and joint or muscle pain. PMDD is very rare and only affects between 3 and 8 percent of women annually. Symptoms usually occur between 5 to 11 days before a woman's period starts and then subside once menstruation begins. Doctors are unsure as to what exactly causes PMDD, but certain factors are thought to contribute to the severity of symptoms, such as excessive caffeine consumption, alcoholism, obesity, leading a sedentary lifestyle and having a mother with the same condition.