Experts are exploring the possibility of another “that time of the month,” with potentially greater psychological implications. Researchers at the University College London are reporting that they have identified a narrow window of the menstrual cycle, just after ovulation, when women are at their most psychologically vulnerable. They found that women in the early luteal phase—which falls roughly 16 to 20 days after the start of their period—had more than three times as many intrusive thoughts as those who watched the video in other phases of their menstrual cycle. Lead researcher Sunjeev Kamboj, Ph.D., of UCL’s Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, believes this means there may be about five days within the menstrual cycle when a woman’s hormonal balance may leave her particularly vulnerable to experiencing distressing symptoms after a stressful event. This could mean an increased chance for depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a difficult life event around the time of ovulation. Once you know when your vulnerable days are, avoid triggers and stock up on things that make you feel comfortable.
MORE: Stress and Your Cycle: Beyond PMS