Ever wondered about the link between your mood and your cycle? It’s not all in your head – there are very real reasons why you turn into a sobbing wreck, a ball of anxiety or a furious warrior woman at a certain stage of your cycle.
Let’s look at the major link between your mood and your cycle, as well as how you can balance your mood out.
The number one link between your mood and your cycle
When you’re dealing with mood issues linked to your cycle such as:
- Mood swings
– the most likely cause is low progesterone. As you might know, progesterone and oestrogen are the two key female reproductive hormones.
Bur progesterone isn’t just there to help you fall pregnant – it’s also essential for brain and nervous system function, heart health and breast health. It also regulated the stress response. Put simply, it’s your own internal source of Valium, keeping you calm and happy!
Why your progesterone is dropping off
Now that you know progesterone is probably to blame for your hectic moods, we need to understand why.
As we head into perimenopause, the ovaries make less progesterone. Some women experience this in their mid to late 30s, while others won’t feel the effects until their 40s.
If that wasn’t enough of an issue, there’s also a chance of other hormones such as testosterone, cortisol and oestrogen depleting your progesterone. Progesterone is part of a delicate hormonal balance – as soon as one hormone is too high or low, the rest will follow.
This is particularly problematic when it comes to oestrogen. Oestrogen tends to be on a rollercoaster during perimenopause – one minute it’s low, and the next it skyrockets. During the second half of your cycle, this can cause symptoms such as breast pain, fluid retention, headaches, migraines, and you guessed it – mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
The ripple effect
Your sex hormones don’t just influence your cycle directly. They can also throw off your brain chemicals or neurotransmitters.
For example, when your oestrogen levels drop as you get close to your period, serotonin and dopamine can bottom out. This can lead to symptoms such as:
- Night sweats
This is tough enough when you’re about to get your period. But when you add in the crazy-high peaks of oestrogen during perimenopause, this drop in oestrogen caused by your cycle is more like a crash. As a result, your symptoms are more likely to be severe compared to when you were younger.
This is why we want oestrogen levels to be like Goldilocks’ porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
The conventional approach
If you go to your GP to discuss the link between your mood and your cycle and ask what can help, they’ll probably offer you the Pill. While yes, this will alleviate your symptoms, it’s not a real solution.
It works against your long-term health because it switches off your hormones. Your body & your brain miss out on progesterone because frankly, the synthetic hormones are not the same for your body.
Hormone fluctuations are normal, part of a cycle. We don’t need to switch them off! But if you’re being driven mad by your mood, there is plenty we can do to smooth your hormones out and give your body the support it needs to cope.
How to calm your hormone-related moods
Let’s look at some simple ways you can feel more chill and calm all cycle long.
Support progesterone production – this includes reducing your stress, easing inflammation, moderate movement, adding in progesterone-boosting foods and maintaining a healthy weight. For some more detailed tips on how to make this happen, give this article a read.
Support your liver and gut – if you want a happy hormone balance and healthy metabolism, you need to make sure your liver and gut are in tip-top condition. Some easy ways to support these are by eating plenty of colourful veg, upping your fibre intake, making sure you poop every day (and seek help if you can’t!) and reduce liver loaders such as alcohol, caffeine, processed sugars and excess use of non-prescription meds e.g. Panadol.
Stabilise your oestrogen levels – to get the Goldilocks balance, we want to prevent the overproduction of oestrogen.
Some ways to do that include:
- Reducing abdominal adiposity (belly fat is a big concern health-wise as well!)
- Eating phytoestrogens – brassica veggies, lentils, alfalfa and flaxseeds are all good sources to include. Research has found that regular consumption of flaxseeds can help to regulate oestrogen – around 2Tbsp per day is your goal.
- Increasing anti-inflammatory foods – think fatty fish, colourful fruit & veg, turmeric, ginger, garlic, rosemary and green tea
Sick of your hormones dictating your moods?
You don’t have to settle for feeling out of control – whether it’s all month long, or for that crummy PMS part. If you ready to feel calm, less stressed and able to put yourself first, book in for a free discovery call today. Together, we can explore how I can help you to support and nourish yourself – mind, body and spirit.