Having a period affects your whole body, as well as the way you think and act. Below we have made it is easier for you to understand what happens during your biological cycle and explain simply how and why your period can affect your psychological state.
Your first week:
Let’s start by saying that the first day of your period is the first day of your cycle. The hormones which are pumping around your body are estrogen and progesterone, but at this point in your cycle they are at their lowest level. Your uterus lining starts to shed. Your brain’s control system, called the pituitary gland, releases a chemical called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and follicles, which are premature eggs that one day might become a baby!
Psychologically- if you suffer from PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) then this is the time when you will start to feel relief gradually. As the hormones are all at their lowest point, you can be sure that this will be a relaxing, calm, and quiet week. It’s the chemical estrogen that is responsible for your mood swings, while progesterone is linked to the symptoms of PMS.
– Take a nice hot bath
– Avoid coffee, tea, and cola, as they have high levels of caffeine which may aggravate your mood swings
– Drink loads of water
– Do some exercise
Your second week:
Finally the bleeding stops and your estrogen levels start to rise, as your body prepares for ovulation. Ovulation is the moment when an egg is released from one of your two ovaries. Your body is still releasing the FSH hormone. By the end of this week you will be at your most fertile – bear in mind that now is the time when you are most likely to get pregnant so you need to sort out your contraception or you could get one in the oven!!
Psychologically- You are on top of the world. This is the moment to make your big decisions as you are thinking at your most rationally. You are at your most sensible stage and have good judgment. Confidence will be radiating out of every pore!
– This is the time when you have a high libido so it’s the right moment to arrange your wedding or weekend escapes!
– It’s time to pamper yourself with sexy underwear, or a bathing suit.
– This is also the best time to wax your body.
Your third week:
Ovulation time!! Once your estrogen hormone produced by your developing follicles reaches its optimum level, your pituitary gland starts releasing another hormone called lutineising hormone. This triggers the egg to be released, ready to be fertilized by the sperm. The progesterone levels are gradually increasing.
A small amount of testosterone is released which makes you feel sexy, but not for long. By the end of the week the progesterone level starts to increase which offsets the effect of the testosterone and also sets off your hunger! Now’s the time to watch out for that midnight delivery order!
Psychologically- you are feeling well in the beginning of this week; however, by the end of the week you will be feeling tired and grouchy. Your progesterone hormone is responsible for PMS and as symptoms start to kick in, you start to feel irritable, bloated, and overweight. You have cravings for food, especially sweets. You will not feel as positive as you were in the beginning of the week.
– Stay away from salty meals as your body retains water and this is why you feel bloated and overweight.
– Go easy on the sweets, or you could gain a lot of weight.
Your fourth week:
The progesterone level is at its peak. If you are suffering from PMS then now is the time to cancel those dinner dates and curl up in front of a movie instead. If your egg has not been fertilized by a sperm, then the lining of the uterus will start to shed and that is when bleeding starts again. When the bleeding starts you go back to the start of the first week and the cycle begins all over again.
Psychologically- You are down in the dumps, irritable, and can cry over a sad advertisement. Your libido is at its lowest ebb. Try to avoid fights with friends, families and your partner, as this is when it can seem that everything in life is against you.
– Have a relaxing bath.
– This is not the right time to have a wax as your body is extra sensitive. Wait till next week!
– Your body is low in magnesium levels- so eat foods rich in magnesium such as nuts and grains.
What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome, also called premenstrual tension, is a cluster of unspecific psychological and behavioral symptoms which occur between ovulation and the start of your period. There are a multitude of symptoms including anxiety, feelings of being “on the edge”, depression, hopelessness, marked anger or irritability, feelings of tiredness, excessive sleep, too little sleep, increased appetite, feeling out of control and difficulty concentrating. Other physical symptoms may include, muscle and joint pain, breast tenderness and swelling, and recurrent headaches.
What causes PMS?
Despite many researches made on PMS, there is no single solid factor that causes it; however, a history of depression or a family history of PMS can mean you are at high risk of suffering from PMS. In some cases oral contraceptive intake (the Pill) may be a factor. Girls with afflicted mothers with PMS are at a greater risk of developing PMS, which shows that there could be a genetic factor involved.
How do I prevent it?
Decrease sodium intake with drinks or meals. Avoid drinking caffeine rich drinks like coffee, tea and cola. Take minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) to reduce your headache, irritability, and depression. Calcium intake (milk, yoghurt, etc) alleviates muscle and joint pain, food cravings, and feeling bloated. Magnesium and Vitamin E relieves some of symptoms. Take painkillers in moderation if there is severe breast and muscle pain. Multivitamins can make a huge difference to you but consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
Relaxing techniques such as breathing techniques, yoga and listening to music can be of great help. Moreover, exercising can change how you feel as you release endorphins which are natural soothing chemicals that your brain discharges when you are on the treadmill or jogging. Light massage can also be a great tranquilizer.
So next time you feel you want to make life changing decisions, check when your cycle is starting and think before you act, as you might regret it later.