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“Loopy,” “hysterical,” “overreactive,” “hormonal.” These are stereotypes many ladies nonetheless need to combat to be taken severely. And that combat might be particularly difficult as a result of so many ladies do face very actual signs corresponding to bloating, complications, irritability and temper adjustments — typically on a month-to-month cycle.

These signs, particularly ones round temper, are sometimes stigmatized and hidden. However they are often indicators of adjustments in hormone ranges — estrogen, particularly — and people adjustments can change into extra pronounced, and even extreme, at key factors in girls’s lives: puberty, being pregnant and perimenopause.

Perimenopause is the longest of the three phases — it could possibly go on for a decade or longer — and is commonly essentially the most misunderstood by girls, who might not know its signs till it’s {happening} or confuse it with menopause. Perimenopause is when a girl’s fertility is winding down, menstrual intervals change into irregular and, ultimately, when menopause is reached, menstruation stops. Temper swings are among the many signs girls report, in addition to sizzling flashes and issue sleeping.

There’s lots that researchers don’t know concerning the position hormones play in temper adjustments and melancholy — the latter affecting girls at twice the speed for males. However they do know that adjustments in hormone ranges are linked to sure kinds of melancholy, and there are kinds of melancholy which might be distinctive to girls.

In a sequence airing this week on Morning Version, NPR explores what’s truly {happening} in a girl’s physique at these pivotal moments and tips on how to handle the unexpected results, corresponding to anxiousness and melancholy.

Click on the play button to listen to the primary {conversation} within the sequence.

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