Wednesday 4 September 2019

Mental Health: A Monthly Cycle | Marla Ahlgrimm

Even the most even-tempered woman can shift into someone unrecognizable when “that time of the month” hits, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The majority of women experience strong emotional symptoms along with the cramping, bloating, and hunger of PMS. But why?

Hormones and Mental Health

According to Marla Ahlgrimm very little is understood about the link between reproductive hormones and mental health. Given the fact that virtually 100 percent of women menstruate at some point in their lives, this is something that warrants additional research. Doctors are not really sure why shifting hormones affect mood just that they do.

During a woman’s monthly cycle, her hormones change and estrogen and progesterone levels dip, drop, and rebound. Some healthcare experts speculate that these shifting hormone levels actually change the way the brain interprets various signals. Others expect that these chemicals alter not only perception but also the physical route that sensory input travels through the brain.

PMS’s Big Sister

PMS is a troublesome visitor for many women, says Marla Ahlgrimm, but it is not the only emotional roller coaster associated with reproductive capabilities. At least 5% of women suffer with PMDD, which most of these claim make them feel like a different person. Women with PMDD, asserts Marla Ahlgrimm, can’t control their emotions. They might cry for days, be moody to the point of alienating their family, or, in extreme cases, may become violent without provocation.

The Cure

Sadly, says Marla Ahlgrimm, there is no “cure” for PMS or PMDD. Many of their symptoms can be managed, however, by making lifestyle changes, and not just during a woman’s period. Eating healthily and exercising seems to help regulate reproductive hormones and increase others that improve everything from mood to aches and pains.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that antidepressants and hormone therapy are also effective for some women.


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