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Does Ovulation Make You Emotional? How Does It Affect Your Mood?

By Sara Winslow

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This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

For many women, the monthly menstrual cycle brings a constellation of physical and emotional changes that can feel like an endless rollercoaster ride. While premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is widely recognized, the potential mood impacts of ovulation itself are less discussed.

The science behind this inquiry delves into the intricate dance of reproductive hormones and their effects on brain chemistry. With reputable sources weighing in, this article aims to shed light on whether feeling more emotional during the ovulatory phase is indeed normal or potentially indicative of an underlying condition.

Key takeaways:

Ovulation, commonly taking place approximately halfway through a woman’s menstrual cycle, can potentially affect the mood of certain people.
Hormonal fluctuations during ovulation, particularly increases in estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH), can affect neurotransmitters like serotonin, which plays a role in regulating mood.
Moreover, elements like stress, sleep patterns, dietary habits, and general well-being may also impact mood during ovulation and across the menstrual cycle.

The Ovulatory Phase Explained

To understand ovulation’s impact, it’s essential first to grasp the broader context of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation stands as a pivotal stage within the female menstrual cycle, usually happening midway through, though the timing may differ among individuals.

The Ovulatory Phase

The cycle is divided into the follicular phase leading up to ovulation and the luteal phase after ovulation occurs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “During the follicular phase, an ovary starts to develop a follicle. After ovulation, the follicle develops into a structure called the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone”.

Is It Normal To Feel Emotional During Ovulation?

So what does the research say about potential emotional impacts during this fertile window? The evidence suggests a nuanced picture.

Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB/GYN, weighs in:

“Many of my patients report increased emotional sensitivity, mood swings, and feeling generally more irritable in the days around ovulation. While not universal, these experiences seem to be quite common.”

A 2023 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that mood symptoms like anxiety, depression, and anger peaked during the ovulatory phase for some women. However, other studies associate more severe mood disturbances with the premenstrual late luteal phase instead.

The National Library of Medicine also highlighted that both ovulation irregularities and mood shifts are present throughout the menstrual cycles of healthy women.

Some women may experience mood changes such as increased irritability, heightened emotions, or even mild depression during ovulation. These mood changes are often temporary and subside once ovulation is complete.

So while many anecdotally report increased emotional lability and tiredness around ovulation, the research isn’t fully conclusive that ovulation directly causes clinically significant mood disorders for most women.

How Does Ovulation Affect Your Mood?

For those who do experience ovulation-linked mood changes, understanding the underlying mechanisms can provide valuable context. The catalyst is the fluctuation of reproductive hormones required for ovulation to occur.

“In the days leading up to ovulation, estrogen levels rise sharply to trigger the LH surge that releases the egg,” explains Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, an OB/GYN. “Estrogen impacts serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood. For some women, these shifts seem to precipitate irritability, sadness, or mood swings.”

After ovulation, progesterone levels increase in preparation for potential pregnancy. Dr. Gleaton adds, “Progesterone’s effects on GABA, another key neurotransmitter, may contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety for a subset of women in the luteal phase.”

Ovulation And Mood Changes

So the hormonal roller coaster of ovulation, while culminating in a potential fertile window, also impacts the delicate neurochemical balance regulating emotions.

Individual factors like genetics, stress levels, and sensitivity to hormonal changes can influence the degree to which ovulation might trigger mood disruptions.

When Mood Changes Warrant Attention

While periodic moodiness may be par for the course, when do potential ovulation-linked emotional impacts cross the line into legitimate clinical concern? The guidance is to monitor the severity and degree of functional impairment.

“It’s normal to feel a bit more emotional or easily irritated in the days around ovulation,” says Dr. Shepherd. “But if a woman is experiencing severe mood swings, uncontrollable crying, or depressive symptoms that significantly disrupt her daily life each cycle, that requires medical evaluation.”

In such cases, an underlying condition like Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) may be the root cause rather than ovulation itself. As described by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “PMDD is a much more severe form of premenstrual syndrome, with mood and behavioral symptoms so severe that they seriously impact a woman’s life.”

So while ovulation alone is unlikely to trigger such acute symptoms for most women, its hormonal shifts may potentially unmask or exacerbate an underlying mood disorder requiring clinical management.

Other Contributing Factors Affecting The Mood

It’s also crucial to recognize that numerous variables beyond just ovulation can influence a woman’s emotional state each cycle. Factors like stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and co-existing medical conditions may all play a role.

“I always explore lifestyle factors with my patients struggling with severe PMS or PMDD,” notes Dr. Gleaton. “Simple interventions like regular exercise, meditation, getting enough Vitamin B6 and calcium can sometimes help rebalance brain chemistry and ease mood symptoms.”

For some women, the two-week wait after ovulation but before the next period can itself be an emotional rollercoaster – especially for those trying to conceive. The hope and uncertainty during that phase can take a psychological toll.  

Relationship stressors, work pressures, and lack of social support – can exacerbate the emotional impacts of a woman’s cycle. An integrative approach addressing mind, body, and lifestyle is often advisable.

Also read: 7 Signs Ovulation Is Over – Your Fertility Window Shut

Conclusions

In closing, the research indicates that while many women report increased emotional sensitivity around ovulation, this experience is by no means universal. Fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones can impact brain chemistry regulating mood.

For most, any ovulation-related emotional changes are temporary and manageable. However, severe or acutely disruptive symptoms may indicate an underlying mood disorder like PMDD requiring medical intervention.

By better understanding their unique cyclical patterns and critical hormonal influences, women can develop insight and access the self-care or clinical resources needed to maintain emotional well-being throughout their reproductive years.

When you can anticipate potential trigger points for mood fluctuations and have a plan to proactively manage them, it becomes far easier to maintain balance.”

FAQs

1. Can ovulation make you cry?

While ovulation itself doesn’t directly cause crying spells, the hormonal shifts around ovulation can intensify emotions and trigger mood swings or feelings of sadness for some women. However, uncontrollable crying would be an extreme reaction requiring medical evaluation.

2. Is it normal to be emotional after ovulation?

It’s relatively common for women to experience increased emotional sensitivity, irritability, or moodiness in the days after ovulation due to fluctuating hormone levels like rising progesterone. Minor emotional changes are normal, but severe symptoms like Depression may indicate an underlying condition.

3. How does a woman feel during ovulation?

During ovulation, many women report a variety of physical and emotional symptoms including heightened sense of smell, breast tenderness, light cramping, cervical mucus changes, and increased libido or emotional sensitivity. However, experiences can vary greatly.

4. Can men sense when a woman is ovulating?

Some research suggests men may be able to subconsciously detect when a woman is ovulating through subtle changes in body odor, facial characteristics, or even voice pitch. However, this remains an area of ongoing study.

5. Why am I prettier during ovulation? 

Some researchers propose that cyclical hormone changes around ovulation may subtly enhance typically “attractive” facial traits like increased skin luminance and facial symmetry. However, these effects are usually quite subtle and subjective.

References

National Library of Medicine ( n.d)Comparison of affect changes during the ovulatory phase in women with and without hormonal contraceptives Available online at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382146/

UNC School of Medicine (2024) Menstrually Related Mood Disorders Available online at: https://www.med.unc.edu/psych/wmd/resources/mood-disorders/menstrually-related/

Sara Winslow

Sara Winslow is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with over 15 years of experience in providing comprehensive women's healthcare services. She received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she graduated with honors. Dr. Winslow completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, gaining extensive training in various aspects of women's health, including reproductive health, prenatal care, gynecological surgery, and menopause management.

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