Mental Health

A woman looks as though she is anxious. Can ovulation make you anxious?
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/Getty Images

Anxiety During Ovulation Is Common. Here’s Why

You can blame your hormones for this, too.

Originally Published: 

Those who experience the monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation may be familiar with the emotional challenges that arise a few days before your period. But what about the role that ovulation plays? If you’ve every tracked your cycle, you may have noticed that things get a little intense around ovulation, too. Can ovulation cause anxiety, though? In fact, anxiety during ovulation is pretty common. We asked an OB-GYN to explain what is known about why some people experience anxiety around the time of ovulation.

Can ovulation cause anxiety?

Anxiety during ovulation is “a varied response,” says Dr. Mitchell Scott Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital Northwell. “In my experience, and in general when you look at the hormonal changes that occur during ovulation, it can cause some emotional lability,” meaning quick or profound shifts in mood.

skaman306/Moment/Getty Images

The way your mood could be affected by ovulatory hormonal changes is highly individual and can be complex. “We know that some people are exquisitely sensitive to these hormonal changes. Some people can have mood elevation, some people can have depression. You typically see more in the way of anxiety in response to those hormonal levels,” Kramer says. “Elevated mood can happen when serotonin is elevated during ovulation, and when that drops during the end of the cycle, you can get adverse mood changes as a result,” he explains.

Why can ovulation cause anxiety?

A study in Hormones and Behavior found that progesterone, which normally fluctuates throughout a woman’s cycle, can also play a role in making you feel a bit more anxious around the time of ovulation, with higher levels of progesterone being linked to greater anxiety.

“It’s the hormonal changes, not the physical action of ovulation, that can cause mood changes,” Kramer clarifies. But in some cases, ovulation itself can cause discomfort. “Some people have ovulatory pain... and like any pain, it has the potential to cause some anxiety. But most people find that they have it every cycle, and so they come to expect it.”

When to contact your doctor about anxiety during ovulation

More severe effects on mood due to ovulation are less common, but can occur, such as Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD, like PMS, is responsive to hormone levels triggered by ovulation, but has more pronounced emotional symptoms, such as, "severe depression, irritability, and tension," according to the Office on Women’s Health. PMDD is treatable, so bring it up with your doctor if you feel your PMS symptoms are severe.

Eri Miura/DigitalVision/Getty Images

What to do about anxiety during ovulation

If you do have issues with anxiety or discomfort during ovulation, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Reach out to your health care provider or OB-GYN, who should be able to offer support and treatment options. Dr. Kramer explains that, when it’s safe to prescribe for his patients, “We actually recommend the use of birth control pills to alleviate ovulatory pain. By the same token, since the birth control pills eliminate ovulation, they can also modulate the hormonal changes associated with ovulation, and in turn can help with the mood changes and anxiety associated with your cycle.” If you’re concerned about mood changes or discomfort during your cycle, you can let your health provider know so you can work together to find the best treatment plan for you.

Study referenced:

Tania A Reynolds, Anastasia Makhanova, Urszula M Marcinkowska, Grazyna Jasienska, James K McNulty, Lisa A Eckel, Larissa Nikonova, Jon K Maner, Progesterone and women’s anxiety across the menstrual cycle, 2018


Dr. Mitchell Scott Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital Northwell

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

This article was originally published on