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The Effects of Estrogen on Mood

By Shaina Gaul
 
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Any woman not taking hormonal contraceptives goes through a natural monthly cycle. After her first period, she begins producing a stream of estrogen. Mid-cycle, which is during and around the time of ovulation, estrogen levels suddenly spike and then drop just as dramatically. For the rest of the month, this level simply ebbs and flows.

The effect of estrogen on mood is often vastly underestimated. Reproductive hormones can be responsible for a whole host of mood disorders, including post-partum depression, manic-depressive behaviors, and premenstrual disorder. Unfortunately, what often happens when these conditions are discussed openly is that they are dismissed with a joke about “that time of the month.”

Of course, the emotional roller coaster that women experience on an everyday basis does not usually warrant medical or therapeutic intervention. But it still impacts our daily lives and the way we relate to others, and can teach us a lot about our behavior if we choose to listen.

In general, during the time when a woman is fertile (before and during ovulation) she will be more friendly, motivated, energetic, and positive. Those who are aware of their period of ovulation often plan to work on big projects or schedule more social events during this time.

During the days before and during her period, a woman will often experience the opposite emotions. She will feel more private and calm. She may think that her current responsibilities are overwhelming, and will be more prone to procrastination. She may also lack the energy to engage in outgoing social situations.

Throughout the rest of the month, estrogen levels rise and fall gradually. Without a drastic change in hormones, most women feel stable and grounded. They are a good mix between the two poles.

By examining your monthly cycle in this way, you can use your moods to your advantage instead of being teased because of them. In order to do this most effectively, I encourage you to chart your fertility and determine exactly when you are ovulating, fertile, and infertile.

When I first started charting my fertility, I was stunned at the relationship between my emotions and my cycle.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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