Updated: May 9
You've got a lot of hormones. We all do! Hormones make up your endocrine system, a network of glands that produce hormones to regulate your body's functions like metabolism, appetite, reproduction, sleep, mood, growth, and more.
In this post you'll learn three hormones controlling your monthly cycle and what this means for your mood and emotions.
When you know how these three hormones are operating, you can use your emotions to make changes in what you're eating, how you exercise, sleep, and even how you spend your time day to day.
Knowledge around your monthly cycle holds the ultimate power for women today. We are bombarded with every day life pressures, trying to balance work, family, friends, eating well, exercising, time for ourselves, and yet somehow always feel like we've come up short.
Your cycle holds the answers to how you can truly have it all. Let's dive in.
When you have your period, two of your sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone have lowered. You get your period because, put simply, you're not pregnant. Your body was designed to reproduce, so every month you're not with child, you get a period. Ok, this you know.
After your period ends, estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels. As you move through your follicular phase, estrogen steadily begins to climb. This helps your follicular stimulating hormone, which tells your body to prepare to release an egg.
During ovulation, the phase after your follicular phase, estrogen peaks along with your lutenizing hormone and an egg is released.
Estrogen is a very stimulating hormone.
During your follicular phase you may feel your energy steadily increasing. As you near ovulation and flow through this phase you may notice your energy is off the charts! It's a time of month women feel the most energetic and prepared to do everything on their to-do list. It feels easy to get out of bed, crush your hard workouts, and you're excited to spend time with friends, family, and coworkers (get to know your four cycle phases even better here).
You can thank estrogen in the first part of your cycle for being so charming and on top of things 😊
Having too low estrogen levels can make you feel depressed and irritable.
After you ovulate, estrogen starts declining and progesterone begins to rise. These two are on a monthly rise and fall, as you can see in this chart.
The rise of progesterone is meant to thicken the lining of your uterus to prepare itself for a fertilized egg. Progesterone levels tend to peak on day 21 of a woman's cycle and is actually an indication that you successfully ovulated. Women who have hormone and cycle issues may find they are not ovulating correctly and confirming a rise in progesterone can be a way of knowing how your body is doing.
If there is no fertilized egg, not enough progesterone, or the egg is not considered viable, your progesterone levels will drop and you will then get your period. Your period is the result of shedding the lining of your uterine wall that was built up in your luteal phase and is not being used to grow a baby.
Progesterone is a calming hormone.
When your estrogen and progesterone levels are balanced and functioning properly, you will actually feel very calm and relaxed before your period. If these two become unbalanced, either from what you're eating, drinking, stress, and/or environmental factors, you will then experience PMS symptoms.
Progesterone is also your beauty hormone. It gives you a glowing complexion, radiant hair, and bright eyes.
If you'd like to get to know your cycle even better, you may love Pearl Fertility's ovulation kits.
Ovulation kits aren't just for using when you're trying to get pregnant either. You can use them to understand your follicular, ovulation, and early luteal phases so you understand your emotions even better. This will help you plan your life more effectively.
Tracking your hormones can help you get rid of things like PMS and period issues, while feeling happier, more confident, and less stressed out.
Just imagine how that can change your life!
What I love about Pearl's ovulation kits is that you test your hormone levels each morning with one of their test strips (you pee on it) and snap a photo with their smartphone app. This will create a chart for how your individual hormones are rising and falling throughout the month (don't worry, the app sends reminders to your phone).
Some of their kits also contain progesterone strips so you can confirm ovulation as well. Most cycle apps don't have this capability and it's super helpful if you've been trying to fix your cycle.
The key to balancing your hormones and cycle syncing is to know exactly the times of month your hormones are not working properly. That's when you know where to focus your attention and can begin to see dramatic changes. Pearl's app charts your hormones so you don't have to guess.
Before we wrap up our chat on your monthly cycle, you should really know about cortisol, a stress hormone that can be getting in the way of your body's relationship with estrogen and progesterone.
When your stress levels are high, either from work, relationships, exercise, food or emotional factors, cortisol increases. Cortisol then competes for the receptors of progesterone and wins. This means cortisol will attach itself to where progesterone is suppose to be and you don't feel calm or relaxed. You'll feel more overwhelmed, anxious, produce more inflammation, and experience PMS or period problems.
You'll also find as you go about your day you feel more agitated and your mood suffers.
High cortisol levels interrupts your mood, sleep, self confidence, and even creates belly bloat, as the excess hormones hang around your midsection. Understanding how to regulate your body's stress response and lowering cortisol is crucial for your hormone balance.
To lower your cortisol levels, perform moderate amounts of cardio exercise, meditate, set boundaries at work and in your relationships, eat foods high in vitamin C, and take time out for a daily walk.
Learn more about your cycle and psyche here.
3. Briden, L. (2015). Period repair manual: Natural treatment for better hormones and better periods.