No one enjoys having a bad day. Unfortunately, for some women going through menopause, every day can seem frustrating due to chronic irritability. Since chronic irritability is an excessive response to stimuli, this condition has both internal and external triggers - but identifying what those are is half the battle toward effective treatment. Read on to learn more about possible causes for irritability during menopause to take the first step toward relief.
While many triggers for irritability stem from external stimuli, for many menopausal women, it is due to hormonal fluctuations. As a woman enters menopause, levels of the sex hormone estrogen drastically decrease. Estrogen, however, does more than just regulate the reproductive system - this chemical messenger has a direct and highly complex effect on mood and emotion regulation within the brain. Unexpected changes to this delicate system can cause more frequent or erratic episodes of irritability.
Understanding that chemical processes are to blame can give many women peace of mind, stopping a fruitless search for external triggers. Luckily, treatment can be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes.
Other Menopause Symptoms
Though hormonal imbalance itself can directly affect mood, many other symptoms that arise during menopause are uncomfortable enough to become causes of irritability. Hot flashes, sleeping disorders, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness, among others, can negatively impact daily life. When things that used to be easy become regularly frustrating, irritability is inevitable. Knowing personal triggers can definitely help to solve the problem, and treating menopause at the source with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and natural herbal supplements can rebalance hormone levels for relief.
Just as good habits can lead to overall health and reduced menopause symptoms, bad habits can do the reverse. Alcohol and caffeine in particular dehydrate the body, leaving less water than is sufficient for the body to work efficiently. Along with smoking, a poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle, consuming these substances can aggravate already-difficult physical symptoms, and so they are important causes of irritability of which to be aware.
Menopause may be a physical change to a woman's body, but its impact on her life can affect her both mentally and emotionally. Fatigue caused by menopause-induced sleeping disorders or general lethargy can hurt concentration, and is thus one of many causes of irritability. The idea of losing reproductive ability can be traumatic for some women as well - sometimes enough so to cause depression and all the symptoms that come with it.
A support system is enormously helpful for dealing with every aspect of menopause, so it's good to start talking with trusted loved ones about what's happening physically and emotionally. An understanding friend can help you find ways to beat irritability together, perhaps even before it has time to set in.
By understanding all possible causes for irritability during menopause, women can relax knowing that it's perfectly normal and treatable, usually with a few simple changes to diet and exercise routine. Natural herbal supplements and techniques for stress relief, such as yoga, can also balance the system for overall wellness. With all of your triggers identified, you'll be smiling again in no time.
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved September 3, 2013 from http://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/
- Short, M. (2003). Menopause, mood and management. Climateric: the journal of the International Menopause Society, 6 Suppl 2, 33-36. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14669842