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Does Ovulation Make You Emotional? - A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever noticed that around the middle of your cycle, your mood changes for a few days? It might be a sign of ovulation symptoms. Although the ovulatory phase of a menstrual cycle is the shortest, it’s also the most significant one.

Woman pondering emotions during ovulation: Understanding the link between ovulation and emotional changes.

Hormonal fluctuations in your body during this time influence how you react to certain things. In fact, ovulation is so powerful as to affect your dreams and the sense of smell. So, it's no wonder that around the time of the fertile window, you might feel a bit more emotional or distracted.

That’s what we'll try to figure out in this article. Here, you'll learn more about the connection between ovulation and your emotions, as well as discover ways to ease these few days and make your cycle more manageable.

What are Ovulation and The Menstrual Cycle?

To understand why ovulation affects your emotions, let's delve deeper into how and why it happens.


Period Tracker & Calendar

You can track your period using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:
You can track your period using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:

For the most part, when it comes to a menstrual cycle, people notice only the bleeding part. However, during 28-35 days, or the length of the cycle, your body goes through different cycle phases, hormonal fluctuations, and bodily responses to them.

The first day of your cycle is the day of your period. During this phase, your uterine lining sheds as the egg from the previous cycle didn’t get fertilized. Bleeding normally lasts 2 to 7 days.

The following is the follicular phase. As your period ends, you may start to feel more energetic, active, and social. During this time, your body is preparing for upcoming ovulation. In the follicular phase, estrogen and testosterone are increasing, giving you more energy and confidence.

At the start of the cycle, two hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) begin to rise, which can last from 24 to 36 hours. These hormones stimulate egg development in the ovaries. At the same time, estrogen stimulates the creation of a new uterine lining. All this lasts until around the 10th to 18th day of the cycle (it might happen earlier or later, depending on your cycle length).

Once the egg is released, it marks the beginning of ovulation. Ovulation is a short window of 24-48 hours when the egg or ovum travels from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The follicle ruptures, releasing the egg into the uterus where it stays waiting to be fertilized. If the egg doesn't encounter a sperm cell along the way, it disintegrates and gets reabsorbed by the body.

While ovulation only lasts a day or two, it’s significant because it’s the only time when fertilization can happen.

During the last part of the cycle, the luteal phase, estrogen and testosterone levels start to decline and the ruptured follicle produces progesterone. This hormone prepares the uterine lining for a potential implantation. If it doesn’t happen during those few crucial days, the formed tissue sheds, causing menstrual bleeding and the beginning of the cycle once again.

Hormonal Changes and Ovulation Symptoms

To simplify hormonal fluctuations throughout the cycle, let's focus on three main reproductive hormones: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.

When the cycle starts, hormone levels are low. You might notice that as your mood is somewhat okay, but not quite where you want it to be. You might feel more tired and irritated.

But within the 5th and 7th days of the new menstrual cycle, estrogen and testosterone begin to climb. You may feel more active, notice that you socialize more, and maybe even your social anxiety drops slightly.

With every day coming closer to the ovulation phase, testosterone and estrogen levels rise. By the time ovulation approaches they reach the peak.

For most people, this stage is the best of the entire cycle as they have the most energy, feel sociable, confident, flirty, and even more beautiful. That’s right, studies show that ovulation softens your facial features and you appear more attractive to other people and even yourself.

Physical ovulation symptoms:

  • Increased libido
  • Increased basal body temperature
  • More abundant vaginal discharge (resembling raw egg whites)
  • Slight cramping on one side of the abdomen
  • Mild bloating
  • Breast tenderness

After ovulation, starts the luteal phase, which marks a drop in estrogen and testosterone and a rise in progesterone. Progesterone, also called a nurturing hormone, is produced to prepare the uterus for a potential baby.

However, these nurturing feelings can also make you more irritable, tired, anxious, depressive, and angry, and promote mood changes. Especially as the cycle nears the end and estrogen levels are low, you may feel the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as:

  • Worsening mood swings
  • Increased appetite
  • Bloating
  • Water retention
  • Clumsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches

Ovulation Symptoms: Physical and Emotional Aspects

Physical and Emotional Symptoms Associated with Ovulation

Most women associate the time of ovulation with positive emotions and a good mood, as the estrogen peaks.

However, for others, ovulation symptoms aren't as pleasant. Instead of the uptick in energy and positive emotions, they experience mood swings, are more irritable, depressed, and anxious. This happens for a few reasons.

The beginning of the luteal phase

Ovulation lasts for a very short time, so you might not even notice when it ends and the luteal phase begins. For many people, especially those who experience severe premenstrual syndrome or PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), the weeks after ovulation can be very challenging.

Hormonal imbalances might cause mood swings, depressive symptomsheightened anxiety, and promote suicidal thoughts. These symptoms might start as quickly as ovulation stops.


Hormonal chaos

There can be too much of a good thing. Sex hormones affect your brain and neurotransmitters like serotonin. A steep increase in estrogen and testosterone can mess up neurotransmitter levels in your brain, causing depressive and emotional symptoms to manifest. A sudden drop in these hormones also leads to imbalances in serotonin, making you feel less like yourself.

Worsening mental disorders

Sudden changes in sex hormones might worsen preexisting mental disorders. If you already struggle with depression, anxiety, PMDD, ADHD, or bipolar disorder, changing hormone levels can make it worse. Studies show an association between the luteal phase and worsening emotional symptoms:

A study ‘Psychiatric Symptoms Across the Menstrual Cycle in Adult Women’ says, “Results show that the premenstrual and menstrual phases are most consistently implicated in transdiagnostic symptom exacerbation. Specifically, strong evidence indicates increases in psychosis, mania, depression, suicide/suicide attempts, and alcohol use during these phases. Anxiety, stress, and binge eating appear to be elevated more generally throughout the luteal phase. The subjective effects of smoking and cocaine use are reduced during the luteal phase, but fewer data are available for other substances. Less consistent patterns are demonstrated for panic disorder, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder, and it is difficult to draw conclusions for symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and trichotillomania because of the limited data.”

Managing Mood Swings During Ovulation

Managing mood swings and physical symptoms during ovulation and the luteal phase is difficult. It gets even worse if you have a lot of responsibilities like working in high-demand positions, traveling, taking on challenging projects, raising kids, or anything of that sort.

But the monthly cycle has a mind of its own and sometimes doesn’t go hand in hand with your plans. However, noticing changes in your body and adjusting yourself to meet them can significantly improve your experience. Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself when things get tough.

Track your cycle

Keep a record of your menstrual cycle to anticipate when ovulation might occur. Once you know what’s going on in your body, you can take control of it. WomanLog offers a free period tracker to help you understand your cycle and body better. It’s available on the App StoreGoogle Play, and AppGallery.

Healthy lifestyle choices

Maintain a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Regular exercise and sufficient sleep are also necessary for emotional stability. Also, keep your mineral and vitamin levels in check.

Essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy cycle are vitamins B6 and B12, D, C, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Eat healthy foods rich in these nutrients or talk to your doctor about supplementing if necessary.

Stress reduction techniques

Practice relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation to control stress better. Sometimes changing hormone levels and PMS symptoms can make you not feel like yourself. Remember that it’s only a phase and soon it’ll pass.

Self-care practices

Engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as reading, taking a bath, listening to music, or spending time in nature. Around the time of the luteal phase, try to limit high-intensity and stressful activities.

If possible switch from HIIT workouts to walks, strength exercises, yoga, or pilates. At work, prioritize planning and preparing, instead of organizing back-to-back meetings, starting new projects, or other stressful tasks.

Limit stimulants

Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake as they can aggravate mood swings and anxiety. If you can’t live without a cup of coffee in the morning, try switching up to matcha or green tea as they have less caffeine, but still stimulate.

Seek support

Share your feelings with a friend, family member, or therapist. And most importantly, don’t minimize your experience. Many women are told that it’s normal to feel pain and suffer emotionally during their cycles, but severe PMS symptoms aren’t normal and can indicate more serious reproductive health problems.

Final words

Experiencing mood swings during ovulation isn’t uncommon; it's not just flowers and butterflies for everyone. The thing to remember is that there are tools and support available.

So, when you notice that hormonal fluctuations are taking a toll on your mental health and wellbeing, remember to:

  • Track your cycle to stay ahead
  • Choose a healthy diet and exercise
  • Manage stress
  • Practice self-care
  • Limit stimulants
  • And seek support when needed

Remember that suffering from uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms isn’t good for anyone. We encourage you to seek medical help and choose comfort over anything else.

We understand that the medical community isn’t always responsive to women’s health, but many great doctors and practitioners are ready to listen to you and find the best ways to help.

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