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Menstrual Cycle Hormones Mood - A Complete Guide

Cycle Syncing | By: Katie Lister

February 20, 2024

What is menstrual cycle hormones mood? How does my menstruation cycle affect my mood? What can I do to lift my low mood? What makes me moody during my period? If you have these and more questions, this article is for you.

Hello, my name is Katie Lister, a Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to become the best versions of themselves. Growth Gals provides a safe space for women to connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and offer support to one another.

At GG, we discuss various topics that affect the wellness and well-being of women, such as the menstrual cycle. This article will give you all the information you need to know about menstrual cycle hormones and mood.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

How Your Mood Changes Across Your Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is a natural process involving regular changes in the female body. The menstrual cycle length is measured by the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. This means the first day of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period. The menstrual cycle has four distinct phases:

  • Menstruation phase
  • Follicular phase
  • Ovulation phase
  • Luteal phase

Here is how to calculate next period

PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) happens when various hormones dominate each cycle, rising and dropping at different times. PMS affects a good percentage of women, causing mood swings and irritability before their periods. The main hormones in your menstrual cycle include:

  • FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): Secreted in your brain by the pituitary gland, the follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates your ovaries in preparation for ovulation.
  • LH (Luteinizing hormone): Also secreted by the pituitary gland, LH prompts the release of an egg during the ovulatory phase.
  • Estrogen or Estradiol: This is the primary hormone in the follicular stage that triggers ovulation and aids in thickening the endometrium or uterus lining. Estrogen also affects mood stability, and too much of it leads to irritability, depression, and anger.
  • Progesterone: Progesterone is the primary hormone in the luteal phase that prepares the uterine lining for ovulation. Too little progesterone makes you prone to mood swings.
  • Testosterone: Testosterone may be the primary male hormone, but the female body needs a small dose to support libido and immunity.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) vs. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are symptoms that most women undergo before their menses. 3 out of 4 women undergo PMS symptoms every month. These symptoms can include:

  • Mood swings
  • Food cravings
  • Tender breasts
  • Irritability and anger
  • Sadness
  • Bloating

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe version of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and can affect any woman of reproductive age. It is a chronic medical condition that requires medical attention and treatment. PMS is more common than PMDD and affects up to 75% of women with a regular menstrual cycle. On the other hand, PMDD is rarer and affects 3% to 8% of women.

PMDD has psychological and physical symptoms such as

  • Anger and irritability that affect others
  • Depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts in PMDD
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Fatigue or low-energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Cravings and sometimes binge eating
  • Lack of interest in things you enjoy
  • Physical symptoms like bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, muscle or joint pain, and headaches


The cause of PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) or PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) remains unknown to researchers. However, researchers believe that hormonal changes occurring during the menstrual cycle may be responsible, and the lack of a chemical called serotonin may play a role in PMDD. Serotonin levels in the body fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, and some women may be more susceptible to these changes than others. People who are more susceptible to PMDD include:

  •       Women with a PMDD family history
  •       Women with a family or personal past of depression, post-partum depression, or any mood disorder.

PMS symptoms go away about four days after your period starts. PMDD symptoms may also improve a few days after your period, but they may be so severe that they interfere with your life.

In psychiatry, PMDD is a mental health condition and a depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). If you suspect you have PMDD, speak to a healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment options. To combat the symptoms, you can try:

  • Regular exercise
  • A healthy diet with more protein and carbs and less salt intake
  • Birth control pills
  • Vitamin supplements (such as Calcium, vitamin B6, and magnesium)
  • Stress management

What are The 4 Stages of the Menstrual Cycle Mood?

Your menstrual cycle mood undergoes four different stages due to hormonal fluctuations. Here is how your feelings shift during the various phases.


Menstruation, or your period, lasts between three and seven days. Menstruation occurs when there is no available sperm to fertilize an egg, causing a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. It’s common to feel down, and most women experience mood swings in the first few days of their period.

Follicular phase

This phase begins on the first day of your period and typically lasts 10-14 days. During this time, the hormone levels of estradiol begin to rise, and your pituitary gland secretes FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which stimulates follicle production in your ovaries.

A rise in reproductive hormones levels boost your mood and make you feel more connected to others. This phase may make you more interested in social interaction. It is your happiest time of the month as the rising estradiol helps to temper the effects of cortisol and adrenaline, the stress hormones.


During your ovulatory phase, the luteinizing hormone increases. Estradiol helps insulin to become more effective, and it signals the body to release more testosterone, one of the female sex hormones that regulate sex drive. You are more likely to display sexual behavior just before ovulating and may have a higher tolerance to pain. You are also more likely to have mood swings due to hormonal fluctuations.

Find out here why you always feel tired after ovulation

Luteal phase

In the luteal phase, the cells in your ovary (corpus luteum) secrete progesterone and a tiny amount of estrogen, which helps to thicken the uterine wall in preparation for implantation. As progesterone levels surge, you start to experience premenstrual symptoms such as moodiness. This is because progesterone aids in cortisol (stress hormone) production. If you are already stressed because of other factors, progesterone causes you to have excess cortisol in your body. At this time, you may feel the urge to seek high-calorie foods to satisfy cravings.


When Are Emotions Highest During Menstrual Cycle?

During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, your progesterone and estrogen levels drop, profoundly affecting your mood. Estrogen increases the amount of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, and when the levels of estrogen drop, you feel low, tearful, and irritable.

In the luteal phase, emotions flow into the menstruation phase, although crying during menstruation eases after a few days. If the sadness does not go away or feels too overwhelming, talk to your doctor, who may prescribe medication.

The doctor may prescribe contraceptives like birth control pills. The contraceptives stop you from ovulating and your hormones from fluctuating, the two causes of PMS symptoms. 
If you are feeling overly emotional and experiencing feelings related to depression, your medical provider may prescribe anti-depressants such as SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). It is important to note that these medications can help manage symptoms but they do not address the root cause. 

If you have certain conditions, your menstrual cycle effects may worsen before and during menstruation. Such conditions include:

  • Depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Suicidality (feeling suicidal)
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol misuse disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Do Ovulatory Shifts In Hormones Matter?

If you experience irritability and mood swings around ovulation, you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. Hormonal changes in the body often affect the menstrual cycle. Ovulatory shifts in hormones go a long way in determining your menstrual cycle. The ovaries hold the key to the ovulatory cycle, with estradiol playing a significant role in a woman’s body. As you age and enter menopause, your body secretes less estradiol, and the menstrual cycle ends.

Estrogen plays a crucial role in the body, particularly during puberty, and controls the menstrual cycle, helps with fertility, and maintains pregnancy. Its production facilitates ovulation and contributes to brain function, bone and heart health, and cholesterol control. Without ovulatory shifts, the menstrual cycle would not exist, nor would women experience different mood shifts.

Eating the right foods can make a significant difference in your overall mood throughout your cycle. Here are ideal follicular phase foods and luteal phase foods to consider.   

Menstrual Cycle Hormones Mood: How Growth Gals Can Help

At Growth Gals, we aim to inspire women to reach their full potential. We strive to create positive change by offering them resources to expand their knowledge base. Growth Gals helps women overcome obstacles and learn about various topics, such as menstrual cycle hormone moods.

At Growth Gals, we encourage living a healthy, authentic life that aligns with your values. Joining a community like ours will propel you toward understanding your menstrual cycle and related topics. Meet like-minded individuals who will offer a solid support system and who will help you navigate women’s health topics by sharing their experiences and knowledge.

Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to gain access to helpful guides and resources for women, and learn more about how we can support you to live your best life.

Menstrual Cycle Hormones Mood: Conclusion

The menstrual cycle is a process that involves fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones depending on the different menstrual phases. The hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle impact your emotions throughout the month.

During ovulation, when estrogen levels increase rapidly, you experience some symptoms that include bloating, anger, sadness, irritability, tender breasts, etc. Study your menstrual cycle and learn how to deal with mood swings and other related symptoms.

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