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.


15 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.


    • 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!


  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!


  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.


  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?


    • 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!


  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.


  6. I am glad I found this post. I am 37 and have been tracking my “issues” for 11 months and like clockwork I get anxious, hot flashes and lightheaded / dizzy during ovulation. I have had THOUSANDS of dollars of blood work and tests only to find nothing is wrong with the exception of high cortisol. I wonder if cortisol raises during ovulation causing my anxious state? I too am just like many of you, a wreck for a day and then pretty good other than grumpy and tired for a few days and then right back to my normal happy self the rest of the month.


  7. I hate to say it, this is me while going through perimenopause. I am a walking anxiety attack. It is more notable at ovulation, it is there just before my period and during as well. Its horrible, its exhausting, and I am over it. I do use magnesium oil, but overall, I don’t like the feelings that come over me randomly, especially as I have returned to uni and it interferes with that.c


  8. Question: Have any of you noticed an increase in your anxiety if the ovulation coincides with a full moon? I experience the same things as you do during ovulation. I feel chilly, weak, lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous and unbelievably tired. It’s almost like having influenza – but one that only lasts for about a day. And my anxiety levels are through the roof. This month, I felt even worse than usual during ovulation – and it’s a full moon. Hence my question.


    • Hi Nina,

      I know this answer is late and I’m not sure you will see it but I for sure have noticed that my anxiety is increased during the full moon. I started to notice it about a year ago when I thought that my period must be on the way (because it really felt like I had some bad pms) but I was about 2 weeks away from that, it was however a full moon. The fullmoon has affected my sleep since forever but I never thought about it affecting my anxiety until then. It’s not that weird to think that the moon can affect our bodies when it for sure has an impact on the earth, and we all live on it. I hope there will be more research for us ladies in the future, anxiety is bad enough as it is without having to deal with everything that comes with being a lady.. and now the full moon too.


  9. This is amazing…I know this is old but I was looking into the symptoms and if others got this. I am 33 and for the last 12 months I have been dealing with anxiety attacks and such. Especially during my cycle and during ovulation. I, too, have had test after test and everything comes back good. Which in turn is great but I feel crazy sometimes! My mother and friends just tell me I have to accept and adjust as body is making changes….as all of us will have hormone and body changes as we go. It can just be hard at moments!


    • I know yours is old but I’m also getting anxiety and panic attacks. It seems like it happens every month right before and right after ovulation and occasionally at the beginning of my period.


  10. Hi ladies! Glad I found this.. I’ve been tracking my menstrual cycle on “Flo” app and it just proves the diagnosis for me of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which adds to my anxiety disorder.
    I’m 33 and have two daughters.. ever since I could remember I’ve had bad anxiety and would get a few panic attacks a year.. just the past two years panic attacks started getting really really bad (went to the hospital a few times, thought I was dying—all the physical symptoms, but the mental symptoms are what scare the shit out of me!)
    I went through all the testing, hormones normal (but they fluctuate constantly so it’s hard to test)
    I was Vitamin D deficient, I since then started taking 5,000iu of Vitamin D and definitely notice a difference in my mood.
    Doctor tried SSRI’s and holy shit they made me so much worse, the worst I’ve ever felt in my life. Exacerbated my anxiety,.
    My bad days are always the day of ovulation and during my period…so like 1/3 of each month sucks for me.
    My Gyno prescribed me Yaz…I took for a week but had to stop..made the anxiety 10x worse.

    I signed up for Cognitive behavioral therapy on BetterHelp which helps a bit but you can’t change your hormones.
    The only thing that actually stops the panic attacks when I cannot manage them is Ativan.. but good luck getting that. Docs practically treat you like a drug seeker asking for that for menstrual related panic attacks.
    I literally feel that Ativan is the only help for this…as you can take as needed during an”emergency situation”
    Just be very very careful as it is a benzodiazepine and highly addictive and doctors seem to not like to prescribe it to avoid any dependency issues.
    I’ve had my 30 pill prescription (down to 5 pills left) for six months now, so it can be taken when needed just don’t abuse it.

    I hope my information helps you all! Being a woman is so effing tough sometimes. The physical symptoms of PMDD I can handle, but the panic that I’m having it seems after turning 30 is very difficult to manage.


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