Women often endure crude jokes about it being “that time of the month” when they are not in their best mood. The truth is that more than 75% of women have experienced the effects of menstruation on physical and mental health in their lifetime. This is a time of the month when many women experience hormonal imbalance that results in acne breakouts, fatigue, cramps, mood swings, irritability, and much more.
Two essential hormones play a vital role in menstruation: progesterone and estrogen. The levels of these two hormones keep changing right from the premenstrual to the postmenstrual cycle, with multiple effects on our mental health. As these hormones also regulate several other hormones, the effects are noticeable. Here are the four common ways menstruation can impact your mental health:
Our brains are wired to release hormones that help us in uplifting our mood, along with maintaining levels of other hormones responsible for keeping us active all day. The levels of progesterone are on the rise after the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle. And this sudden rise increases the depressive feelings in women as both estrogen and progesterone hormones are associated with mood and behavior.
Research also suggests that these hormones affect the amygdala part of the brain, which is responsible for flight and fight response. A hyperactive amygdala can also lead to increased anxiety, bad mood, feeling sad, etc. This is generally the most common effect seen in women when their period date is near. Major mood swings and increased anxiety are also a sign of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, in which women can’t keep to their regular routines due to an imbalance in the two hormones mentioned above.
Craving for sweets and desserts
The levels of estrogen decrease during the monthly cycle of women when progesterone is on the rise. These particular hormone triggers are also responsible for mood changes in several women. And as a result, many of us want to eat comfort food that can make us feel better. Along with a decrease in estrogen, lower levels of serotonin also have the same effect.
As mentioned earlier, the two sex hormones in females are also responsible for controlling other hormones. Serotonin, the “happy hormone” responsible for maintaining a pleasant mood, also decreases at menstruation. The collective effect of this is seen in the craving for carbohydrates. So next time you can’t live without your favorite chocolate truffle pastry, know that your estrogen and serotonin levels are declining.
Not too many people realize it, but progesterone helps in sleeping better. When there is too little progesterone in the body, it can make it difficult for you to sleep, which results in tiredness and fatigue. Some women also don’t feel like doing much physical activity due to cramps, abdominal pain, and lack of sleep that results in fatigue. However, once you are in the postmenstrual cycle, you get better sleep. So if you experience fatigue in routine days without menstruation, then it can be due to other reasons which you should get checked.
Women often experience depressed feelings at the beginning of and after menopause. Many women also complain about poor memory and getting irritated quickly during this phase due to the hormone changes in the body. When a woman’s body is approaching menopause, several changes can contribute to low levels of estrogen and serotonin. However, these feelings subside after time. It is quite common to feel depressed after menopause, but if it is severe, you should consider opting for therapy.
We women might have experienced at least one, two, or maybe all of the effects mentioned above. Although we can’t control our hormones, we can do activities that can make them more manageable. Exercise, cutting caffeine/alcohol consumption, no smoking, eating healthy, and meditation are some of the proven methods that can help you overcome these effects. Yet if you are still struggling during the entire menstrual cycle, then it is better to visit your gynecologist and get a proper diagnosis. Also, watching funny dog videos might help you feel better (it helps me, at least)!
Author Bio: I am Risa – blogger by choice. I love to discover the world around me and share my discoveries as well as experiences. I love to write about automotive topics, gardening, science, travel, women’s health, technology, pets, and much more. Check out my blogs to know more.
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