What Happens to your Brain During your Period
Is the Brain to Blame for PMS?
If you find yourself suffering from PMS regularly, it’s not just your sex hormones such as progesterone and estrogen to blame, but may very well be an imbalance of hormones made in the brain.
Three hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) affect specific areas of the brain. This means everything from your memory to your stress level can be affected by the menstrual cycle. The opposite can be true as well. An imbalance of inhibitory neurtransmitters such as GABA, can lead to irritability. This is because one of GABAs many functions in the brain is to limit activity associated with stress and anxiety.
For many women it may be reassuring to know that there are definite reasons your brain feels foggy whenever it’s that time of the month. You aren’t imagining things. It’s just that there’s a delicate interaction of hormones going on, and sometimes those changes go on in your brain as well. Below are some specific symptoms you might be able to blame on “period brain“.
Some hormones get repressed during stressful evens. Estrogen can reduce the secretion of stress chemicals like cortisol in the body, which temporarily is a good thing, but not when the body is subject to long periods of chronic stress such as insomnia or major life events. When estrogen drops drastically during the time of menstruation, you might feel more stressed out or on edge than usual.
Brain fog—a combination of feeling sluggish and forgetful—is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome. In a typical cycle, progesterone levels rise in the two weeks leading up to your period; that has been linked to a drop in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood and helps keep you sharp.
Painful period can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms associated with menstruation. Research suggests that women’s who suffer more discomfort during their periods actually have a decrease in the size of the gray matter in their brain. In my Practice I often see elevated levels of various hormones, including prostaglandin produced by the uterus, to be responsible for pain associated with monthly periods.
A Natural Solution
Finding the root cause is the most important first step I recommend. Through a specific at-home test I offer my patients, we can easily determine the hormonal imbalance causing the dreaded period symptoms.
But when you’re in pain, what can you do in that moment? Here are a few recommendations:
- B-Vitamins – The powerful vitamins help to feed the hormone pathways involved for proper hormone balance, specially my Bliss Shot™ that contains the very much needed boost of specific Bs that target bloating, irritability and anxiety.
- Cramp Bark – This is one every woman should keep in her medicine cabinet. If you have menstrual cramps taking Cramp Bark two days prior to your period and during may be just herb you need to break up with those NSAIDs. Women generally report relief with 1-2 droppers full (30-60 drops) three to five times daily.
- Magnesium – Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and is also anti-inflammatory. Great for headaches and cramps. My custom-tailored IVs are magnesium rich to help provide immediate relief.