It is no secret that hormones have an impact on how women feel, but how do their effects change over time? In this article we will break down the relationship between mental health and hormone production at different stages in a woman’s life, and we’ll give some suggestions for managing unwelcome mood swings.
First, what hormones are we talking about? Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones in women that regulate menstrual cycles, and as their levels fluctuate a rise or decrease can affect your mood. Combined with the physical changes that can accompany a transition into a new stage of life, these fluctuations in mood can be amplified, even potentially increasing a woman’s vulnerability to mental illness.
The first time a woman may notice mood changes is when she first gets her period. With a newly active reproductive system, the ebb and flow of hormones can bring intense mood changes, commonly known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. The experience of PMS varies widely for different women; some may exhibit no effects at all, whereas others may notice heightened irritability or moodiness. While the intensity of PMS symptoms may decrease as a woman’s cycle becomes more regular, there are a number of supplements to keep in mind when trying to manage period symptoms.
First, make sure you are getting enough B vitamin complexes. Vitamin B12 is essential for balancing hormones and is a key factor in production of serotonin, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that helps modulate your mood. It is also an important party of methylation, or the breakdown of excess hormones and cellular waste. Another important B vitamin is B6, which studies indicate can improve symptoms of PMS such as mood swings. Vitamin B can be found in foods such as fish and dairy, as well as your Binto supplement pack. Check out this article for more information on B vitamins and hormone regulation.
Another important area to pay attention to when trying to alleviate PMS symptoms is your gut, which plays a key role in balancing hormones. As a microbiome of trillions of organisms, think of your gut as an internal garden that needs to be kept healthy to keep you feeling your best. When the bad bacteria outweigh the good, your hormones could be put off balance. Taking a good probiotic is key to making sure your gut stays healthy, as it plays an important role in balancing your mood. It is often one of the first steps women should take when starting a supplement routine. Check out this article for more information on probiotics and hormone regulation.
At least 1 in 6 couples deal with infertility, or the inability to become pregnant on your own, meaning you may need some assistance when you are going through this process. If you are someone who wants to have a child and is struggling to do so, this can be an especially stressful time. Months of trying can be very frustrating and can weigh heavily on women’s mental health. Women often report feeling like they have failed, but the reality is, this is not your fault. What we want to do here at Binto is let you know that it is okay to feel that way, and offer some suggestions to help while you are in the fertility process.
First, we recommend seeking out counseling or a support group at your OBGYN or fertility specialist office. Remember that you are not alone, and sharing your story with women having similar experiences can be healing. You can also try acupuncture, which proponents say can boost blood flow to your reproductive organs, help balance hormones, and relieve stress. Doing yoga can also help alleviate stress, which is linked to infertility (for more on this topic, click here). Lastly, make sure you are taking your supplements. Sticking to your vitamin routine and making sure your body is healthy is a great way for you to establish a little bit of control over your situation.
Pregnancy brings about a number of changes to your body that can also have an effect on mental health. When pregnant, your estrogen and progesterone levels are hitting an all-time high, and for some women, mental and emotional challenges can accompany the physical changes to their bodies. Pregnancy can be a very overwhelming time -- scary even -- but it is totally normal to feel this way. We at Binto understand how stressful pregnancy can be and we want to remind you that you are not alone. Obviously a key step in regulating your body during pregnancy is making sure you are taking care of yourself and your body. Try to maintain a healthy diet as this can help stabilize your mood. Stay active, engaging in low impact activities like yoga or swimming which are gentle on your body. Take your supplements, but do your research! You may have heard that choline is a particularly important nutrient for a growing baby, but do you need to supplement with it during pregnancy? At Binto, we don’t believe so, and you can click here for more information on why. We do recommend making sure you are taking your probiotics during pregnancy. Gut health is especially important when you are pregnant because not only does it help to manage your hormones, but the gut of your growing baby is actually created when it is a fetus, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the bacteria you need. Try Binto’s prenatal kit to support you and your baby’s health throughout your pregnancy.
Lastly, take advantage of your resources. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women are screened for depression at least once during their pregnancy. If you are experiencing stress or mood changes that concern you, talk to your OB. They can recommend counseling and therapeutic resources to keep you and your baby healthy.
Even after the physical and emotional turbulence of pregnancy, being a new mom is no walk in the park. After you give birth, your hormone levels return to their baseline within 10 days, which can leave women feeling emotional and exhausted. On top of this, women are often juggling breast-feeding, taking care of a new life, and letting their body heal all at the same time. Many new mothers experience the “baby blues”, which can include anxiety, crying spells, mood swings and difficulty sleeping. These typically last for up to two weeks after you give birth, until your hormones have a moment to settle back down. However, while it is normal to feel emotional and exhausted after you give birth, if you find that these symptoms extend beyond the first few weeks, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. The symptoms of postpartum depression manifest themselves differently for different women, but if you suspect you are facing it, contact your doctor and/or mental health professional as soon as possible. It is critical to take action because of the impact this condition has on both you and your baby. Click here for more information on maternal health issues and how to cope.
After giving birth, make sure you are utilizing your resources. Talk to your partner or spouse about what you are feeling. Ask for help when you need it, and don’t be afraid to take a little time and space away from your baby, especially if you need a moment of self care. Here is our list of 12 Self-Care Tips for New Moms. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and rest, as these are key for resetting your mood. As mentioned earlier, gut health can be key in regulating hormonal fluctuations, so be sure to take your probiotics. Click here for our list of key supplements to include in your postpartum vitamin pack. Often times, anxiety and depression are unavoidable, so be sure to stay in conversation with your doctor and ask for their advice on whether mood management medication may be right for you.
Another moment in a woman’s life that brings change for her body is menopause. As your ovulation feedback loop begins to shut down, your baseline hormone levels begin to lower. This can cause women to feel depressed, experience mood swings, and have anxiety. In fact, mental health changes are one of the most common symptoms cited for women going through menopause. So how can you manage your mood when your body is getting used to a new normal? For one thing, menopause does not begin all at once. In fact perimenopause, or the transitional period into menopause usually begins in your 30s or 40s, and can be the period in which you feel the most ill at ease. If you usually experience severe PMS symptoms, this time of your life may be especially difficult. Click here for some natural remedies to relieve hot flashes. You can talk to your doctor about starting a low dose oral contraceptive to help with mood swings. You should also get your thyroid checked as thyroid diseases have been linked to depression and irregular menstrual symptoms as you get older. Once again, remember to take care of your gut health! It metabolizes hormones so a healthy gut is key for stabilizing your mood and mental health. With your changing body also comes the time to change your supplement routine. Click here for more on the supplements you should be taking to feel your best during and post-menopause.
The course of a woman’s life brings a range of hormonal fluxes that can take their toll on her mental health. Understanding what is going on in your body can be challenging but is also the first step to feeling better. Don’t forget to take our personalized survey to get a unique packet of supplements built just for you and your stage in life, with all the supplements you need and nothing you don’t.