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Seriously, every month! How your hormones may be affecting your mood.

There is a natural fluctuation of sex hormones each and every time you have a menstrual cycle, (unless you are on certain kinds of birth control, or are not having periods due to pregnancy, menopause, illness, or surgery). This is a natural, normal process that many women may find directly affects their mood and sexual desire. These fluctuations in hormones are normal, not always fun, but normal. Having a menstrual cycle is not an excuse for your emotions, but an explanation for why you may be feeling the way you do.

So here is your cycle in a nutshell:

Prior to ovulation the ovaries go through the follicular phase. During this phase, estrogen levels start to rise as the body becomes ready for ovulation. This is typically when women feel most attractive, charming, and powerful. During the follicular phase our serotonin levels remain normal or slightly elevated, making our overall mood “good.” We can do anything!!! The follicular phase ends with ovulation=the releases of that lucky egg from the ovary.

During ovulation, (mid-cycle) vaginal discharge is more watery and slippery. This is because your body is preparing to become pregnant. That is correct. Every menstrual cycle your body gets ready for pregnancy! Not that increased discharge makes women want to have sex, but this discharge helps sperm reach that lucky egg. Fertilization has about a 24-hour window to occur. During ovulation, most women will feel a higher sexual desire and drive. That is right, ovulation makes us HORNY. This is why most women want to have sex during ovulation. This can be tricky when you are using Natural Family Planning (NFP) as this is when you need to avoid sex if you are trying to no get pregnant. But if you desire fertility, then the gloves are off and you can try as much as you desire.

After ovulation, the luteal phase begins and continues until the beginning of menstruation (bleeding). During this part of your cycle progesterone is the dominant hormone. Progesterone can sometimes make women feel tired, annoyed, and easily pissed off. Most women also feel breast tenderness, bloated, and want to carb load. During this part of your cycle, serotonin levels may drop slightly because estrogen levels are lower. Lower serotonin levels leave most women feeling more sensitive, tearful, and overall, less resilient to stress. The good news is that when your period does come, these feeling should diminish. This is where PMS symptoms come in for most women, and yes it happens every month. Some months more so than others but typically during our reproductive years we go through this process every singe month. Now diet, exercise and mental state of mind can help how we navigate through this time of the month but we can expect to experience some symptoms of PMS.

Keep in mind that during the luteal phase we want to be kind to ourselves. Eat foods rich in B complex, get plenty of sleep and be sure to hydrate. Also try to avoid alcohol during this time, it may seem like it will help but it will not and can make PMS symptoms worse.

Understanding the role hormones play in your life can provide insight into why you respond the way you do in certain situations or events. The more you know the more you can communicate with your loved ones about your needs.

See what you think. Track your cycle and your corresponding mood for a few months. See if you notice changes: When do you feel most powerful, most sexy, and most vulnerable? Do you find that you are more attracted to your partner one day and then cringing at the sound of them eating the next. This might be explained by the hormone effects in your cycle. Knowing this can help you decide when to plan that sexy date night, important meeting or when to veg out with a movie.

I have also included a picture of the menstrual cycle so you can see the fluctuations in your hormones as well as what is happening in your uterus and ovaries. If you like to listen to more click hear to listen to my talk on hormones

Some good apps to help track menstrual cycles:

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