Dr. Christina Hibbert explains that during the last two weeks of a woman's menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase, estrogen levels in the body drop when the brain receives confirmation that a woman did not become pregnant in the first two weeks of her cycle, known as the follicular phase. This drop in hormone levels causes some women to experience negative moods, thinking, perception, anxiety and stress.
While all women undergo a drop in feel-good hormones during these two weeks, only certain women seem to be susceptible to the effects of the lack of estrogen. Hibbert explains that others are able to get through the luteal phase without noticeable consequences.
Hormones are the communication tools between a woman's body and her brain that manage the entire course of the menstrual cycle. During the first two weeks of the cycle, according to Hibbert, estrogen and testosterone rise and endorphins are released. During this time, women experience clearer thinking, easier learning, higher motivation, increased energy and calmer emotions. Estrogen is especially influential on women, inducing positive moods, memory, appetite and sex drive.
During the luteal phase, progesterone and estrogen recede, and progesterone begins to dismantle estrogen receptors in the body. Hibbert says that this activity peaks in the final week, which is when some women experience the negative symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome.