Many women experience an increase in anxiety in the weeks leading up to their period.
If you're prone to experiencing anxiety at other times, it can tend to be more pronounced during the premenstrual phase due to hormonal and blood sugar swings.
Why does it happen?
In the second half of your cycle following ovulation, your body begins to produce high levels of progesterone. Progesterone has a calming affect on your nervous system, so it can lessen the blow of your estrogen dropping in the second part of your cycle.
For many women though, this calming surge of progesterone doesn't occur. This could be due to an 'anovulatory' cycle -where you don't ovulate but still experience a 'bleed' at the end of your monthly cycle which resembles a period- this is reasonably common in women during peri menopause, women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or women who are highly stressed (physically or mentally/emotionally). If you're on the pill, you also don't ovulate.
But even if ovulation has occurred, it is not uncommon for a woman to still be low in progesterone and the biggest contributor to this is stress!
Stress is a huge contributor to low progesterone in women because when your body is busy making cortisol to help you deal with your daily stress, it will be at the expense of your progesterone which further reduces your resistance to stress and makes you more prone to feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
As part of a holistic approach to supporting progesterone production and managing the symptoms associated with it, stress management is key. Until you can get on top of your stress, there is only so much success we will have in supporting your body to make optimal progesterone.
When progesterone is low, your sleep quality can be affected and as a result many women experience insomnia or sleep issues in the lead up to their period. Poor sleep quality or lack of sleep can make you even more prone to experiencing anxiety and it further increases the likelihood of blood sugar swings which are already more likely when you're premenstrual!
So, what can you do about it?
Once again, stress management is key. There are some fantastic natural options to support your nervous system and adrenals to manage daily stress better. But first it is important to make sure that you have the foundations in place in terms of the dietary and lifestyle habits which will support overall health and wellbeing. Such as:
-Making sure that your diet is giving you the nutrients that you need and that you're eating the right things at the right times to balance blood sugar.
-Reducing sugar, caffeine, processed foods and any foods which you are intolerant to
-Adequate hydration- when you're dehydrated you will be more prone to stress and anxiety!
-Learning and practicing mindfulness or techniques such as yoga, meditation or simple breathing techniques can be really helpful for daily stress management, here is a link to one of my favorite stress/anxiety reducing breathing techniques https://blossomwellbeing.com.au/reduce-stress/
-Making time to slow down, disconnect from screens/phones/social media regularly
Then once these foundational thing are in place we can also further support your body to make optimal progesterone through key nutrients and herbs if required which can be very effective for reducing anxiety and other symptoms related to low progesterone such as fluid retention, night sweats, insomnia,blood sugar imbalance, breast tenderness, headaches, heavy bleeding and period cramps.
If you can identify with these symptoms and you would like to learn how you can feel calmer all through the month, including before your period book an appointment today!
Find out about my 6 Session hormone balance program here: