When my period comes, I feel ill and depressed. I don't want to do anything. My period is heavy and I don't go to school because of the cramps. It rules my life and I can't go out at all. Please help. – Vicki* It's normal to have the blues or feel sick before and during a period. As hormone levels rise and fall during a girl's menstrual cycle, it can affect the way she feels, both physically and emotionally. This is known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and it can make a girl feel like hiding in bed with the covers over her head. Luckily, you can do a few things to ease PMS symptoms. Try eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting back on processed foods like chips and crackers. Reduce the amount of salt you eat and drink more water. Say no to caffeine and yes to foods with calcium and whole grains. And get plenty of sleep at night. Occasionally, PMS symptoms might include feelings of extreme depression and hopelessness. If this is the case, speak with your doctor — it may be a sign something else is going on. Heavy bleeding every so often, especially at the beginning of your period, is probably nothing to worry about. But if you soak through a pad or a tampon in an hour or less, call your health care provider, who can check you out to make sure everything's OK. Unfortunately, cramps are a fact of life for many girls. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful. Try taking them as soon as you notice cramps starting instead of waiting for the pain to get bad. Regular exercise can make cramps less painful and help with PMS symptoms. Plus, exercise is a good mood lifter. Some girls find that heating pads or warm baths can also help with cramps. If your periods are still painful, talk to your doctor for other suggestions. PMS, occasional heavy bleeding, and cramps can all be part of normal periods. But when your period keeps you home from school or prevents you from doing stuff with your friends, talk to your doctor. He or she can suggest ways to help you feel better. *Names have been changed to protect user privacy. Back to Articles Related Articles Can Birth Control Help With Cramps? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Dealing With Difficult Emotions Negative emotions are impossible to avoid and everyone feels them from time to time. They may be difficult, but they don't have to be stressful. Find out how to deal with stressful feelings. Read More I Throw Up During My Period. Is That Normal? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Tampons, Pads, and Other Period Supplies When it comes to pads and tampons, there are lots of choices. It may take some experimenting before you find what works best for you. Here are some tips. Read More Endometriosis Read this article to learn all about endometriosis and how doctors help girls who have it. Read More PMS, Cramps, and Irregular Periods Get the facts on which period problems are normal and which ones might indicate something's going on. Read More All About Periods Periods can be confusing. Get the facts in this article for teens. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.