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Menstrual Cycle Increase Suicide Ideation

WhatsApp Image 2024-03-08 at 4.21.04 PM

Trigger Warning: This article mentions suicide.

New research from the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) suggests a higher likelihood of having thoughts, planning and attempts of suicide just before and after menstrual cycle begins.

Imagine this: the menstrual cycle, a monthly routine for many women, might be more than just cramps and mood swings. But before we panic, let’s uncover the science behind this connection. Hormones, the mood influencers, appear to be the suspects, orchestrating emotions that could lead to darker thoughts during certain cycle phases.

Intriguing, isn’t it? As society opens up about mental health, exploring how the menstrual cycle fits into this conversation could change the game. Let’s dive into a topic that might reshape our view of the menstrual cycle and its unexpected impact on mental health.

Despite women experiencing menstruation filled with pads, tampons, discomfort, and stigma, the issue continues. This is particularly noticeable in education, where we learn the science behind the menstrual cycle but shy away from addressing the actual challenges of going through it. Instead, we avoid open discussions with peers, leading to embarrassment about our own bodily functions.

We might often think it’s okay to ignore severe pain and difficulty controlling emotions, believing it’s normal. If you ask someone who has a regular period, they’d likely tell you about times when they feel obligated to keep going despite physical discomfort and considerable mental strain during their monthly cycle.

Some countries are iniating laws to provide paid leave for menstruating employees, and social media is becoming a safe platform for educating about symptoms and hormone changes during menstruation. Despite progress in addressing the physical aspects of periods, the mental suffering some women endure throughout their entire cycle is still often overlooked.

To highlight the problem, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), can lead to intense irritability, depression, or anxiety two weeks before menstruation. This doesn’t mean that their hormones are too high at a certain point or too low, rather that some people have brains that are particularly sensitive to acute alterations in progesterone or estrogen.

‘As clinicians, we feel responsible for keeping our patients safe from a suicide attempt, but we often don’t have much information about when we need to be most concerned about their safety,’ says Tory Eisenlohr-Moul, an associate professor of psychiatry at UIC.

‘We need to be tracking these things daily, understanding, what are the symptoms that tend to drive your thoughts of suicide the most.

‘We want to really figure out: does the cycle matter for this person, and then exactly how does it matter and how we can best intervene based on that information.

Women’s bodies don’t have to remain labyrinthine. Women-centered researches don’t have to remain deserted and ignored.

I’m Farah, from MY Psychology KK,
With you, MY Psychology KK. 

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