CONDITIONS A-Z

Menopause - Mood Swings

Mood Swings

Though mood swings can be extremely frustrating (one minute you are sobbing over a Hallmark card, the next you are yelling at your husband for not putting the toilet seat down), it is important to understand that mood swings are indeed a part of menopause.

If you feel like you are alone in a sea of mixed emotions, take comfort in knowing that you are indeed not alone. In fact, 15 percent of women in menopause report mood swings and emotional instability. But what is it about menopause that causes mood swings?

Well, it's tough to say, exactly. But it is commonly accepted that hormonal changes are at fault. Due to the fact that a woman's body ceases egg production when she enters menopause, it also stops manufacturing the hormones that prompt the body to ovulate and menstruate. With period cycles and ovulation becoming more irregular, the hormones – including estrogen, progesterone, and androgens – become more and more erratic, causing the wild mood swings. The hormones also control the brain's serotonin levels, which effect mood.

Beyond hormones, another belief is that menopausal mood swings are simply the result of a woman dealing with all the other symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, and sleeplessness. Dealing with all these symptoms simply causes women to feel irritable and tired, according to this theory. But you don't have to be at the mercy of your mood swings. Take charge!

Working out and maintaining a healthy diet are two of the biggest factors that can help a woman balance her mood swings. Eating well boosts the brain's serotonin levels, allowing a woman to feel more energetic and happy; and exercise can be attributed to helping women harness their energy.

Don’t let a mood swing get the best of you. It's important to find a way to deal with a stressful moment without losing it. If you can manage to maintain your composure through a stressful situation, you will begin to feel more control over your emotions.

Other methods for warding off menopausal mood swings include stress-relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture; herbal remedies like kava kava, hops and black cohosh to level moods; and even a little dose of vitamin D – just 20 minutes in the sun can give your mood a serious boost.

Don't be afraid to talk to other women about your emotional roller coaster. There is nothing like a good friend lending an ear to help you feel better; perhaps she's been through the same thing or she may be going through it at the same time you are and you both can find comfort in knowing that you can count on one another during this trying time. In a support group, you can connect with other women who are experiencing your same issues, so you'll feel less alone in the whirlwind of emotions.

Finally, be sure to speak with your doctor if you have serious concerns about your menopausal mood swings.

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