Let’s Talk About Anxiety and Ovulation

It’s been about a week since I posted in my “28 Days to Simplify Your Life a la Pinterest” series. I even had some of the posts pre-written and ready to publish! What happened was that last week on Tuesday, I was sick with some weird 12-hour bug. Pukey stomach, bad headache, and generally not feeling well. I felt better the next day but then on Thursday, I was struck down with crippling anxiety and near-panic attacks. It was terrible. I’m pretty sure this happens to me once a month, but it doesn’t happen every single month, and I haven’t been keeping track lately. Generally what it looks like is that I spend the day crying, as in the tears just roll out of my eyes and I can’t actually stop them. Sometimes that escalates into a panic attack, if I’m triggered by something (what might trigger me changes, but a sure bet seems to be something overwhelming, like scheduling problems). It sucks no matter what (obviously?), but it’s especially awkward when it’s my one day of the week to go in to the office and the thought of skipping work for the day just makes the anxiety worse. So then I stay at work but try to hide my emotional state all day, which I’m sure doesn’t really work.

The next day, magically, I’m always fine. A little emotionally hungover, but otherwise totally fine. It usually takes at least a couple of days to recover though, in that I have to rearrange my To Do list and get caught up on all the things I let slide that day.

Which is why I haven’t posted in a few days. Between the weird illness and the terrible emotional day, it’s taken me a few days to get back on track, and home and work life took precedent over the blog.

However, the incredibly anxious day on Thursday brought something interesting to my attention. Well really it was what happened on Friday morning that brought it to my attention: I had ovulation symptoms (the state of my cervical mucous, to be specific, though I don’t generally love using those words on my blog). I usually suspect my extreme emotions, when not tied to an obvious life event, are tied to my cycle. And I know this would not be the first time I’ve had a severe low that coincided with the egg dropping.

I’ll be tracking my cycle and moods for the next few weeks to confirm, but for now it seems like a strong theory.

Of course I Googled “ovulation anxiety” – and guess what? A ton of forum posts came up with women reporting a similar pattern. There was also a scholarly article entitled “The Complex Interrelationships of Menstrual Cyclicity and Anxiety Disorders” which is really interesting, and on which I would love to see some follow-up.

I find it shocking, and yet not, that this seems to be a relatively common thing and yet it’s virtually unheard of. Have you ever experienced severe anxiety or panic attacks that coincide with your ovulation? Have you seen your doctor about it? Did they offer you any advice or solutions?

I’ll be mentioning this to my doctor in January after I tracked things for a bit. I don’t have a lot of hope for Western medical solutions, but I’ll see him about it. I’m looking at a whole host of possible options, from diet, to herbs, to medication, to acupuncture. I’m also open to other ideas. One day a month isn’t too bad as far as a panic disorder goes (note: I have not been diagnosed with a panic disorder. I’m referring to what my symptoms seem to resemble.), but given how screwed up that one day is, it would be great to figure this out!

And now back to our regularly-scheduled blogging.

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Anxiety and Ovulation

  1. I would have my progesterone and cortisol levels checked. Cortisol is greatly affected by stress and progesterone naturally decreases as we age. These two hormones affect each other and a high stress level can affect your progesterone production. The weepy, emotional thing is usually caused by estrogen donminance (read lack of progesterone as they need to be balanced). The good news is progesterone cream is over the counter and the side effects are things like clearer skin, healthier hair, more energy. Most of the symptoms of your progesterone waning can be blamed on other things and stress and time of the month can make knowing without a test difficult that is really what you are dealing with. That said, after more than a decade of debilitating symptoms, progestone cream CHANGED MY LIFE and the effects started after only a week. Don’t let it go. If that is what it is, it is an easy fix.

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    • Oh my gosh!!! Thank you so much! That is amazing information. The past month or so has been much better, as I focused on eating more healthfully, drinking less alcohol and caffeine, working out (yoga, swimming) and taking a few supplements (magnesium, vitamin B). However I will be going to the doctor later this month and will definitely ask if he can order the hormone test to check for this! I really appreciate you posting; thank you!

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  2. Thank you so much for your blog!

    I too just Googled the symptoms I’m feeling and they seem so similar: I was feeling kind of anxious … however, exhausted, and I tried to lay down for a moment and my heart started racing; after racing, it felt like it sort of started to thump about.

    My daughter came home from school and I told her I didn’t feel well; I feel exhausted and drained but I also feel sort of anxious and my heart feels like it’s going nuts. She suggested hormones so I accessed this app she told me about called Eve (we’ve been using it to track our cycles and she’s so much better with keeping up with these than I am)

    I’m on day 17 and am due to start over in 10 days; I’m ovulating. The app suggested I’d have high cortisol levels and a Google search of these symptoms present a myriad of women experiencing similar. I don’t plan on seeing a doctor about this but I do plan on tracking/ trending these symptoms

    I apologize for becoming so wordy but I want to share my takeaway from this experience: I can’t really recall ever feeling this way but I’m pretty sure it happens every month …. And I’m 37 so I’ve lived a lot of months 😉 maybe I’ve become so busy that I’m not paying attention to things like this!

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  3. Same thing happens with me. Western medicine no help (birth control, drugs) also, naturopathic medicine was no help (hormone tests, saliva tests, vitamins, minerals, etc…) thousands of dollars wasted. I have been like this for over 4 years. This is what mine is. I have a anxiety disorder. So any normal stress on my body like ovulation (your body has to work to ovulate) causes a stress response resulting in panic attacts, higher anxiety than I already have and insomnia. In a normal person’s body who ovulates it causes the body to work to ovulate, but doesnt cause the dreaded stress response like it does in my case. I live with it daily, and unfortunately around ovulation I suffer more, but eventually goes away until the cycle repeats itself.

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  4. I know this is an old post but I’m experiencing the same thing. Some months I’m okay and then some I’m a mess. So how are you now when you ovulate? Do you still have the anxiety when you ovulate? And what about your period? Do you get anxious or emotional around that time?

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    • Stephanie,

      I notice when I eat terribly (holiday months), my symptoms tend to be worse. Diet and sleep seem to make the most difference for me. Another thing to keep in mind is that anxiety comes out of nowhere when you least expect it. I had a mild panic attack yesterday and went home, took an ovulation test and low and behold I was ovulating- coincidence? I think not. I get really bad anxiety during ovulation and in the last 6 months, have had on/off panic attacks. I notice an increase in heart rate at times which is scary and have often felt dizzy. Around ovulation I sometimes also feel worried for no reason, stressed over minor things, sleep may be disrupted, etc. I am 32 and it has definitely been a recent thing since coming off birth control, which I think really messed with my hormones. It is amazing what hormones can do to a female!

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  5. I’m right here with every symptom. But what about low abdominal pain with it? My periods also got shorter and not all type endometrial stuff is clearing out. (Saw via ultrasound) but my dr says that’s not what makes me feel anxious. She’s referring me to a good gynecologist. I’m afraid of not seeing relief. It’s. Right on my ovulation time and then I fight it for the better part of the week. Anyone ever get some real answers? I’m looking into endometriosis as a possibility.

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