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Published on August 21, 2023

How Your Mental Health & Menstrual Cycle are Linked

Have you ever sobbed uncontrollably at the market aisle just because your favorite item was out of stock? And the next day, you woke up to bloody trousers? If yes, you have experienced a condition called PMS. 

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) takes many different forms. For some women, it is the time when waves of depression hit you out of nowhere, and life becomes meaningless. Meanwhile, for others, it is when the slightest inconvenience makes you lose your mind. 

A woman’s emotional state is at its most vulnerable point during PMS. They feel everything intensely. And since women can’t control this, they turn to different solutions like supplements for PMS mood swings.

But, even so, one thing should not be forgotten – your mental health & menstrual cycle are linked. How? Let us explain it below!

Does the Menstrual Cycle Affect Your Mental Health?

Premenstrual syndrome is a very common condition in menstruating women. It starts before or after ovulation when the body releases progesterone and estrogen in high amounts to thicken the uterine lining. 

This shift of hormones triggers both physical and physiological symptoms, like:

Physical  Physiological
Bloating

Insomnia

Food cravings

Weakness

Low sex drive

Anxiety

Depression

Irritability

Crying spells

Detachment

While around 90% of women experience normal PMS symptoms, some go through an extreme form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This involves severe mood swings where one may feel uncontrollable rage, hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts. 

All of these symptoms start before menstruation and will last throughout the cycle. So, yes, your periods do affect your mental health!

How Does the Menstrual Cycle Affect Mental Health?

Different hormones are involved in the menstrual cycle, but the two common ones you may have heard about are estrogen and progesterone. 

Estrogen triggers the ovulation phase, where the egg is released to be fertilized. Meanwhile, progesterone prepares the uterine lining to implant the egg. But both of these important female hormones fluctuate a lot. 

They peak during the ovulation phase. However, if the egg isn’t fertilized, the hormones will suddenly fall. There will be another peak in progesterone sometime after the luteal phase. This fluctuation becomes more unpredictable if a woman is under stress.

Studies suggest that these female hormones aren’t only linked with the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. But they also have a direct impact on the neurotransmitters; serotonin and dopamine. 

Both serotonin and dopamine are known to be the happy chemicals in our brains. They influence your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. So, if you’re low on any one of them, you will experience sadness, anger, depression, and irritability. 

This explains why menstruating women experience all of these symptoms right before their periods. That’s when both female hormones drop to shed off the unfertilized egg. Some women may also experience these symptoms during and after periods, depending on how their hormones fluctuate. 

As a woman, you need to understand this link. Having mood swings is normal but suicidal thoughts or extreme depression is not. It’s a sign of a hormonal imbalance that needs attention. 

You should seek a healthcare provider for possible solutions. Remember, whether it is supplements or lifestyle changes, only an expert will help you find the best way to improve your health. 


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