Oh Yes It’s That Time Again.
Without fail every month around ovulation and a day or two before my period I start to feel overwhelmed. Things seem to become more stressful in my life. I start to think of all the things that I hate. I get impatient with my current situation. I wish I was doing more with my life.These feelings are intense and can take over my mind driving me at times to bouts of tears.
Is this hormonal? Likely. This question lead to me into further research on the effects of serotonin in the menstrual cycle. Turns out that serotonin is linked. If progesterone levels are low (a symptom common with endometriosis) then serotonin levels lower as well. Too little serotonin in the brain leads to anxiety and depression.
I had lots of symptoms of low progesterone this cycle including slightly sore breasts prior to my period and clots on the first day of my flow. So seeing as how my progesterone levels were low, it would make sense that my serotonin levels were low as well.
Another interesting tidbit – Low serotonin levels lead to cravings for carbs/sugar. The days prior to my period I have hunger that is uncontrollable and sugar cravings that I am not always able to conquer 🙂 This hunger is not easily filled. I eat and eat and want to eat some more.
I thought this hunger was due to the fact that my body is working extra hard the week prior to my period what with all the business going on in my uterus preparing itself for pregnancy (one can only hope), or to shed off its lining if I’m not. But low and behold, low serotonin levels are reasoning behind this uncontrollable hunger. Hmmm…interesting.
How to Naturally Increase Serotonin?
Balanced serotonin in the brian calms anxiety and helps ease depressed feelings. Serotonin is replenished in the brain during sleep, so its important to get a good, sound seven to eight hours of sleep a night. The sleeping area should be as dark and quiet as possible. For digestive purposes its best to lay to rest no later than 11 PM and rise no later than 7AM.
90% of serotonin is developed not in the brain, but in the gut. For this reason, it is important to eat healthy and take measures to increase positive gut flora including a daily high quality probiotic, and/or fermented foods. Sugar should be avoided. (Something I will have to fight hard for next month, as unfortunately these cravings won this month).
Some reports claim that sunshine can help raise serotonin as well as getting the full range of B complex vitamins. Exercise is another key factor, as is handling stress. Conquering the stresses in my mind in turn will help with serotonin levels. Stress is one of the worst things for our bodies, and it surely flares up my endo.
On the Positive Side?
When these negative feelings come up I think it is important to recognize them and spend some time focusing on them. I recognize that I am feeling negative. This in of itself is an accomplishment. I am recognizing my suffering. Try it. Focus on it – then let it go. Stop to ask yourself the most important question, “What am I doing RIGHT now?”
Much of the stresses in my mind cannot be solved in this present moment. Instead my focus needs to shift to all the good around me. I have so much in my life that I am very thankful for. (First on my list is my wonderful husband followed by my awesome dog, Alice 🙂 The sun is shining outside. Smile (this helps). Things are going to be alright.
And now more than every – take the time to get that extra hour of sleep. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it.
This was perfect. I loved it. I have the exact opposite feelings when I smoke weed because serotonin is so high. Like someone could shit on the kitchen floor and I would see an abstract art quality to it. But PMS and menses with blood clots I’m a horrible wicked hateful bitch.
This is a good one. Steps and suggestions are simple and easy to follow.
Thanks for your encouraging words, I’ve been trying to be more mindful and this makes me feel hopeful that it will help me
I hope it does. Much Love.
Has anyone tried tryptophan supplements? I’ve been researching supplements for endo and PMS/PMDD and found it can help with people who are serotonin deficient.
Tryptophan worked wonders for me!! I took 3,000 mg per day, and 1,500 mg rhodiola, 2,000 mg L methyl folate, vitamin B complex and dopa mucuna (single doses for those) every day spaced out between meals. And at least 30 minutes of sunshine. This combo made me feel normal. (And my periods were easygoing!) I broke down when my stress level was extremely high from our kitchen remodel. Things I could not control were making me highly stressed and anxious. So I tried pristiq. Bad plan. I have long, heavy periods, horrible hormonal breakouts and horrible constipation. Weaning off of it now… remodel is nearly done, so I’ll be going back to my natural supplements. Tryptophan is well worth a try!
Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Sooo Much for this it has Helped me Alot in knowing that i am Not alone with these feelings and issues. I have been dealing with these issues and others for along time and it is good to know that serotonin is the cause for some of this. I have made some changes in my life and they truly are helping me to deal with stress easier and I am Smiling More. I Am Blessed and Appreciate you sharing.
This is great.
I may suggest seeking a health care provider before mixing supplements. Just because they are “natural” or “vitamins” it can be dangerous to just mix each have unique ingredients and we don’t know how they will interact with each other. The cost of going to a health care can be a burden. But it can be more costly to have to go in the emergency room.
Thank you. Since stopping birth control, emotional and mental wellbeing went into chaos…. doing a lot better than a few months ago… feeling rather down the last few days and overwhelmed by life … it always gets better though
Indeed. Your natural hormones are waking up. I have another post with tips to help make the transition off the pill: https://peacewithendo.com/2016/10/8-tips-help-get-off-birth-control.html
Sending lots of love.