My HormonologyLongtime Hormonology fans will have likely read this reminder from me before, however, since there’s been a huge influx of new followers (welcome!), I think it’s worth repeating this post again.

Every once in awhile, I’ll get emails from Hormonology readers who say they’re surprised to feel sad or irritable during their Week 2 when they read in my Hormone Horoscopes that high estrogen is supposed to be making them feel upbeat. Or that they’re antsy in Week 3 when rising progesterone is supposed to making them sedate. Or that their own cycle doesn’t match up perfectly with the Hormone Horoscope every time.

So, I’d just like to take a moment to make a few important points about Hormonology and explain why this occasional may mismatch occur:

1. I show hormonal trends: Hormonology Tips and Hormone Horoscopes reveal general trends produced by your hormones based on scientific research. For instance, studies show that, in general, rising estrogen makes your mood go up; plunging estrogen makes your mood go down. Rising estrogen makes you more extroverted; plunging estrogen makes you more introverted. And so on.

However, you’ll still feel a normal range of emotions in any given week. So, you’ll still get angry in Week 2, say, if someone cuts in front of you in line. The difference is that in your Week 2, high hormones are likely to make you get over your irritation faster than if the same thing happened in your premenstrual Week 4 when estrogen plunges, making you prone to simmering over your anger longer.

And, on the same note, you’ll still experience joy and happiness in your premenstrual Week 4. These upbeat emotions are simply more likely to be interrupted by irritation or sadness brought on by plunging estrogen.

2. You have your own emotional spectrum: When I write that you’ll be “happy” or “confident” or “impulsive” or another emotion or behavior, I mean in relation to your own personality. One woman’s “wild” in Week 2 could mean wearing a clown suit to an opera while another’s could simply mean daring to wear a skirt that shows her ankles. It’s all relative.

3. Life and other stuff can eclipse hormonal effects: It’s important to keep in mind that while your hormones have a profound impact on your mood, energy, behavior, memory, verbal skills and more, they’re just one of many factors influencing you right now. And one or more of these other influences could eclipse the impact of your hormones, such as a major stressor, a big lifestyle change, medication, lack of sleep, a new relationship, the end of a relationship, a vitamin deficiency, etc. So, if your energy never gets lift-off at the end of Week 1 when you should be noticing more pep, you’re not in the mood for love in Week 2 when high testosterone should be boosting your desire for a match-up, or you’re not feeling another influence, it may be because of one or more of these factors.

4. Your hormones are still pretty predictable: Because the effects of hormones are fairly consistent month to month, you can actually use them as a baseline to check out your health and well-being. For instance, if you’re not feeling energized by the end of your Week 1, that’s a red flag that something is holding back your energy–often it’s an iron deficiency, stress or lack of sleep. If you’re grouchy throughout your Week 2 when high estrogen and testosterone should be helping you experience more bouts of happiness, then it’s a red flag that something is bringing down your mood–for example, stress at work or home, a recent life change or a condition that needs to be addressed by a health care professional.

Ultimately, while your hormone cycle is just one factor impacting you, it’s an important one. And knowing about all the effects your hormones could be having on you can provide important (and interesting!) insight into your day.