During a woman’s menstrual cycle, there are a lot of changes that occur, especially when it comes to the levels of circulating hormones. These changes in hormone levels during cycle phases can trigger different events of the menstrual cycle. This can be in the form of physical symptoms, but changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle can also lead to emotional changes. As a result, you can feel different depending on the day and phase of your menstrual cycle. Read on to find out more about menstruation and associated feelings.
Estrogen and progesterone are among the major players during the menstrual cycle. However, apart from triggering menstrual events, changes in these hormone levels during the cycle can also influence serotonin levels. Serotonin is a regulatory neurotransmitter that modulates mood, sleep cycles, and appetite. Research shows that low levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of sadness and irritability. They are also linked to a variety of food cravings and sleeping difficulties.
Therefore, it is normal to experience different feelings depending on the day of the menstrual cycle. Fortunately, some women don’t experience discomfort or mood swings, making it easier for them to manage their symptoms.
What to Expect During the Follicular Phase and Ovulation
The follicular phase of your menstrual cycle lasts for about 10 to 14 days, and is right after a women’s period ends. During this phase, the levels of the hormone estradiol will start to rise. Apart from estradiol, a follicle-stimulating hormone is also released. The increase in these hormone levels during the cycle triggers the production of follicles in the ovaries.
The follicular phase of your monthly cycle is associated with happy feelings. Apart from feelings of happiness, this is also the part of the menstrual cycle that gives women high energy levels. Therefore, these two weeks are likely going to be the best two weeks of the month. During this phase, most women will feel happy and inspired. As a result, the majority don’t spend much time paying attention to how they feel during follicular and ovulation.
Research shows that women in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle display increased brain activity compared to women in other stages. The happy feelings that women experience during this period might stem from having a more sensitive brain. In addition to the increased brain activity, the feelings of happiness have also been attributed to the increased levels of estradiol. Among its other effects, this hormone can help to suppress the effects of adrenaline and cortisol. By tamping down these stress hormones’ effects, estradiol helps preserve happy moods.
The Ovulatory Phase and Increased Libido
As the body prepares for ovulation, there is a sharp increase in luteinizing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. This is the hormone that signals the ovaries to release the egg. During this phase, there is also an increase in the levels of estrogen and testosterone which causes women to feel differently around ovulation.
The ovulation process will usually last for about a day. However, high hormone levels will linger for around three to four days. When estrogen is at its peak, you will likely feel a lot more energetic than usual. On the other hand, high testosterone hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may cause an increase in extroversion.
Around the same time, estradiol will also be present in significant quantities. This hormone will interact with the luteinizing hormone and other hormones to increase your libido. When estradiol is present in large quantities, it increases insulin sensitivity, causing the hormone to become more effective. Insulin will then signal the body to produce more testosterone, which is one of the hormones that regulates libido.
Ovulation is another cycle stage where women will have high energy levels. This process is thought to be nature’s way of encouraging women to engage in reproductive behavior during ovulation. As a result, during this time, women will also display a higher tolerance to pain, and they are more likely to buy a lot of clothes and cosmetics, so they can be more attractive.
The Luteal Phase and Associated Feelings
You will feel differently during the luteal phase depending on whether pregnancy has taken place or not. In the absence of pregnancy, there will be a rapid decline in progesterone hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. This change can cause you to struggle mentally and physically. This is also around the time when pesky PMS symptoms start to pop up.
Once ovulation is complete, the empty follicle that remains starts producing progesterone. This hormone causes growth and thickening of the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. However, the same hormone also causes an increase in the levels of cortisol, which is widely known as the stress hormone.
If your cortisol levels are already higher because of external factors, progesterone will worsen the situation during this part of the menstrual cycle. This can make you highly irritable, and because of these yucky feelings, you will tend to search for comforts so you can feel better. Research also shows that the luteal phase is a low energy level menstrual cycle stage. As a result, you are more likely to consume high-calorie snacks during this phase.
Crying During the Menstrual Cycle
It’s also normal to feel like crying during some days of the menstrual cycle. This feeling probably stems from the mixed feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability that most women experience during the luteal phase. Even women who do not experience other PMS symptoms go through this phase. The exact reason why women feel like crying during and before their period is not known. However, scientists suggest that it might be due to a drop in estrogen and progesterone after ovulation. The drop in the levels of these hormones suppresses the production of serotonin which leads to feelings of sadness.
Tracking Mood Swings During Your Cycle
If you haven’t started already, it’s crucial to keep track of your emotions during the different stages of your cycle. This will help you establish a pattern of what to expect during each stage. Apart from that, understanding why you might be feeling extra moody during menstruation will help keep things in perspective.
Noting down what happens during your cycles can also come in handy when you want to seek clarity from your doctor. This will enable your doctor to get a better idea of what might be going on. To track how you are feeling during your cycle, take note of when you experience the following:
- Sadness, crying, and irritability
- Sudden, unexplained changes in your mood
- Sleeping difficulties and trouble concentrating
- Lack of interest in your daily activities
- Low energy levels and general tiredness
If these feelings are too overwhelming and affect your productivity, your doctor can help you find ways to cope.
What do you think about the different feelings associated with each stage of your cycle? Have you experienced any other feelings apart from the ones mentioned above? It’s important to understand that not all women will have the same feelings during their periods. However, most of what is mentioned above are the feelings that the majority of women experience. If you are unsure what you feel is “normal” during your cycle, contact a TopLine MD Alliance affiliated provider today to arrange a consultation. Our experienced professionals take the time to understand what you are feeling and help you figure out whether it’s normal or not.
The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.