As an OB/Gyn, many of my patients wonder what is happening to their teenage daughters once they’ve started their periods. Why such a shift in demeanor and mood? Let me explain.
The following is an excerpt from my book, Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Life, to which I have added a few more details.
Refer to page 47: Understanding Your Teenage Daughter
Ever wonder why your teenage daughter seems to be on an emotional roller-coaster? And maybe you are too? Well it has to do with hormonal changes!
From the years surrounding adolescence until the time of menopause, including the perimenopausal years (2-8 years before the onset of menopause), estrogen and progesterone levels spike creating weekly changes in sensitivity to stress, especially in your memory center. Like many of us, we may have wondered why we entered a certain room, forgotten the name of a close friend or left our keys in some unknown place. These are changes in our brains, especially the hippocampus (the memory center), which is very responsive to hormonal changes- leading to lapses in short-term memory, irritability, mood swings and much more!
Your teenage daughter may be experiencing hormonal and emotional challenges of her own. Your previously charming, easygoing daughter has started to react more to relationship stresses, and “drama” is the name of the game. During the first 14 days of her menstrual cycle (also known as the follicular phase), estrogen levels increase and she may be more likely to be socially interested and relaxed with others. This increase in estrogen causes a woman’s brain to be more verbally acute at ovulation– if she’s taking an oral exam, this is the best time!
During the next 14 days, also known as the luteal phase, she is more likely to be irritable and want to be left alone.
But why is she on the phone so much? This is your teenage daughter’s way to find refuge, feel more connected with her friends, and bond. Oxytocin is released as intimacy is achieved by social bonding. So, don’t get too frustrated with your cell phone bill. You might try to achieve balance by having a reasonably priced cell phone plan and set times when she can use the phone and when she cannot.