Hormone imbalance and anxiety often go hand to hand. In the context of menstrual cycle hormones, mood changes are common with PMS and part of the reason for anxiety, irritability and even panic attacks, and can be due to...unbalanced prolactins.
What are prolactins?
Prolactins are hormones that are made mostly in the pituitary gland of your brain. One of their roles is to make your breasts grow and promote production of milk in preparation for a potential pregnancy. I always say that a healthy menstrual cycle is all about fertility. And fertility is an expression of your overall health and wellness, regardless of any current pregnancy plans. If you want to hear a bit more about it, check out my post Let's Start Talking About Menstrual Health Outside of "Pregnancy"! here
So yes, increase in prolactins is a completely normal part of a healthy menstrual cycle, BUT if you have long-term hormonal imbalance, your prolactin levels may go out of balance as well and eventually get too high. This in turn may suppress ovulation, cause breast pain, decrease your sex drive and cause lots of anxiety before your period.
Mental health and menstrual cycle tips
The level of your prolactins and therefore your mental health may be influenced by various factors, including stress, nutrition and hormonal imbalance.
Daily walking is great way to reduce stress, lower your prolactins, and deal with anxiety before period. Tai Chi is another wonderful exercise idea; according to multiple studies it helps women to decrease stress, release body tension, re-energize and combat hormonal imbalance.
To help you to deal with anxiety before period, add to your diet for menstrual cycle some extra powerful "mood-boosting" drinks, such as green tea and natural probiotics. Green tea contains L-theanine, a component that directly helps to reduce anxiety before period. Kefir (or yogurt) and other natural probiotics help your gut microbiota to flourish, which in turn will improve signalling between your gut and brain, help to reduce anxiety and will elevate your mood!
If you like yogurt don't forget to check this very simple recipe for delicious and nutritious inspiration!
Love you all and til next!