Women know how horrible periods can be -- oftentimes there is both physical and emotional pain. Fortunately, experts have some tips on how women can improve emotional and mental health during one of the most difficult times of the month.
Alisa Vitti, a holistic health counselor and the founder and CEO of FLO Living LLC (which is an online health center dedicated to providing women solutions and support for issues related to menstruation, fertility, energy and libido) said in an email that changes in the body during a period lead to mental health side effects.
“Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone absolutely affect mood,” Vitti said. “In the first half of the [menstrual] cycle, estrogen stimulates parts of the brain that [has] to do with verbal skills and socialization. Women tend to feel positive and energized. In the second half of the cycle, right after ovulation, when progesterone is secreted from the ovaries and counteracts the effect of estrogen in the brain, a woman's mood can become more sedate, irritable, even depressed.”
She said changing diet and adding supplements can counteract some mental health issues experienced during a period.
“Women who suffer with estrogen dominance, and who feel more manic or really happy during the first half of the cycle, and feel as if they are a different person during the second half of the cycle, can use a few key foods and supplements to ease this process, such as sweet potato for vitamin A to aid the liver in metabolizing estrogen more efficiently, and broccoli and kale for the indole-3 carbinole to help break down estrogen,” Vitti said.
“For women who feel extremely depressed or anxious, they can use a combination of B vitamins to help with the work of the ovary to manufacture progesterone, such as B6, B5 and B12. Women who feel aggressive can use Saw Palmetto to help reduce the effect of testosterone on their mood.”
If women are not sure if they have any of those specific problems during their periods, they can always just make sure their body is balanced in general.