Muscle cramps, stomach rumblings, energy slumps-your body has dozens of ways to give you a heads-up that something’s not right. One of the stranger signs of a health issue? Frequent crying spells. These short bursts of spontaneous, out-of-nowhere (sometimes anxiety-provoked) teariness tend to strike when you’re just going about your life (and of course, have no sunglasses to cover up your blotchy eyes). Yet they likely leave you fairly bewildered by what they could mean (Do I have depression? What’s wrong with me?).
“Crying spells can have a physical cause, but they also indicate that you’re built up a lot of subconscious emotions you aren’t processing,” explains Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a Los Angeles–based psychologist specializing in relationships and self-esteem. If you get weepy for no apparent reason, this list can help you decode the health issue behind it-plus how to turn off the waterworks.
It’s your PMS week
The days leading up to your period should be called hot mess week: as levels of estrogen and progesterone swing up and down, brain chemicals responsible for mood are affected, and that can trigger irritability, moodiness, and yep, bawl sessions. If you’re already stressed out or anxious, PMS can magnify those feelings and make your crying jags even worse, says Thomas. You can wait it out-PMS symptoms clear up once your flow shows-or if the spells are cutting into your quality of life, ask your doctor to screen you for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a rarer and way more debilitating form of PMS.