Emotional menstrual complaints
Menstruation is a natural process and a sign of fertility. However, the fluctuations of hormones during the menstrual cycle affect every woman differently. Many women experience considerable emotional, psychological and behavioural complaints that make them dread their monthly cycle:
The role of hormones
During particular phases of your menstrual cycle, you may be bothered by psychological and emotional complaints such as mood swings, despondency or irritability. The fluctuations of the following hormones may play a role in this:
- Estrogen gives a positive feeling. If your estrogen level increases, you feel better. You can feel optimistic and full of energy.
- Progesterone can make you feel calm, even sleepy.
This is how hormones influence your emotions during the menstrual cycle:
- You get your period in the first week of your menstrual cycle. You may be bothered by menstrual complaints before your period starts and for the first day or so of your period. Once your estrogen levels begin to increase, you start feeling better.
- In the second week, your estrogen level increases and you feel your best.
- At the end of the second week, your testosterone level increases briefly: you may feel like having sex more frequently.
- In the third week, your estrogen level decreases dramatically. At exactly the same time, progesterone production increases. Your mood changes and you may suffer from binge or comfort eating and despondency.
- In the fourth week, estrogen and progesterone decrease to the minimum levels. Your mood may reach a low point. During this week, some women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
Every woman responds differently to hormonal fluctuations, so see how your menstrual cycle feels. Your eating pattern, stress, general health, exercise, work, family and social life can also affect how you feel. One thing is certain: many women think that their psychological and emotional complaints are not understood. And that's no surprise - we live in a society that does not take the menstrual cycle into account. Attitudes are,beginning to change, but there is a long way to go. Meantime, listen to your body, share your experiences with like-minded women and look after yourself.