What Is Hormotional?
You may be inclined to believe that the coined term, “Hormotional” refers to emotions driven by hormone changes in women.
Well, you would be right. This word has migrated its way into our, ahem, monthly use and means that very thing. Emotional response to hormonal fluctuation brought on by a woman’s menstrual cycle. Does this seem sexist? No! It’s backed by science, kind of.
Also, it’s a much better brush off than the shameful jumping down someone’s throat when you are in fact on a Hormotional rampage. What started because of Urban Dictionary is now becoming women’s best method of explaining the hormone effect.
Rather than the plain old, “oh, she’s PMS-ing” it has now become, “look, I’m a little hormotional right now.”
How Do Hormones Affect Your Mood And Your Emotions?
Pesky hormones don’t just mess with your body on a variety of levels, they infiltrate your mind! It’s a constant flux once you are introduced to the whole menstrual cycle thing. Then when you think you have it handled at 25, it takes a turn. But surely by 35 you have this whole “control yourself while you’re a hormotional wreck” under control. Nope. And, 45 is no better. There is no hope for hormotional balances. It’s because there are a few primary players in this hormone game.
Hormotional isn’t new in concept, it’s just an adaption of the long acknowledged, PMS. Everyone has known that one person who experiences the extremes during that time of the month. Also, by contrast, everyone knows someone who seems completely unaffected. However, PMS draws attention only to one week of the month, most of the time not even the right one.
Hormones are constantly affecting all of us. They’re our response to all external stimulus and attempt to internally balance each other. It just doesn’t work out that way all the time. Some hormones are a little controlling and over eager.
Others get lazy and take too many breaks. One study found that women, in general, are about 40% more likely to develop a mental health condition. Across many cultures there are higher rates of anxiety and depression in women. Can this be attached to the hormones constantly in ebb and flow?
When it comes down to it, while we are all entertained throughout the day to day life with fun PMS or Hormotional jokes, the plain speak of it on a science side is that this hormonal flux directly affects women’s emotional and mental health.
Which Hormones Are The Culprits For These Emotional Swings?
Estrogen, the primary culprit is a lazy hormone. Estrogen levels drop during certain periods of a woman’s cycle whereas, any typical time of the month, Estrogen works to protect the levels of the brain.
Estrogen is busy acting as an agent to facilitate dopamine and serotonin. It helps the “feel good” transmissions that run through our brain. But, with low levels of dopamine and serotonin, we are more exposed to develop depression among other mental health issues.
Decreased levels of Estrogen are also identified to coincide with increased panic attacks. When these levels of Estrogen drop even further during the menopausal stage for women, they experience even more susceptibility to decreased emotional and mental health.
Often women in this age range are prescribed medication for depression rather than identifying the root cause of the hormone changes.
Progesterone is constantly fighting for the spotlight against Estrogen. There is even a medical term for it, “Estrogen Dominance”. That is when these two are having issues getting along. Progesterone has the unique ability to directly oppose estrogen. This imbalance causes all sorts of issues for women.
On top of that, the brain is hyper responsive to progesterone so women may end up with insomnia, migraines and anxiety. Other conditions have also been attributed to Estrogen Dominance. How estrogen excites the brain and stimulates action, progesterone works to calm.
So these two combat each other directly. Some doctors are suggesting that increasing Progesterone for menopausal women could work to reduce anxiety caused by this imbalance.
Testosterone, the fun to joke about, puberty hormone doesn’t go away when you hit your late teens. It plays a vital role in a variety of other facets of life. It also isn’t limited to men. Although many men benefit from healthy levels of testosterone, women’s bodies experience small amounts allowing our hormones to maintain a balance. The small amounts women create though can be too small.
Testosterone keeps us lean and our body fat regulated. Women can dip into a low T zone, which isn’t great.
Insulin is the secret overseer of “Hangry”. Aggressive bursts and emotional reactions are both associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle and current blood sugar levels. After some investigation, it was found that this perfect storm of emotions and hunger usually occurred just before noon or shortly before dinner.
Usually these women had either skipped meals or they had a rushed snack instead of a meal. These women also associated the time period they felt “Hangry” with feelings of forgetfulness and disorientation.
Taking Control, Or At Least Some Control, Of Your Hormones To Improve Your Mood!
A lot of what you eat can directly affect your hormones. Say no to processed foods and junk food. Turn down foods high in sugar that can negatively affect your insulin or glucose levels. A great rule of thumb is, if there’s an ingredient you can’t pronounce then you shouldn’t be eating it. Focus on taking in healthy fats and essential amino acids. Regular exercise also helps in balancing hormone levels.
Work on achieving more quality sleep and, if you feel it necessary, talk to your doctor. Ask about supplements and treatments that are options for you specifically based on your medical history.
Hormotional Final Words
Take a long look at how healthy your lifestyle is. Are there major adjustments you already know about that can affect your hormones? Working on these aspects, while openly communicating with your doctor, can allow you be a lot less “Hormotional” and a lot more, you.