More than half of the women will experience mood swings when going through menopause. The hormonal imbalance that occurs during menopause is the primary reason why women may suddenly and unexpectedly switch from ecstatic and happy to miserable and sad within minutes. To help reduce mood swings, women should focus on treating the underlying hormonal imbalance. Altering certain lifestyle habits is one of the most effective and safest ways to regulate hormone levels, mood swings, and other menopause symptoms.
Tips for Treating Mood Swings
When the production of estrogen is disrupted during menopause, so is the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. The amount of estrogen in a woman's body influences the level of serotonin, often called the "happiness hormone," by increasing its production, receptor levels, and sensitivity. When estrogen and serotonin levels fluctuate, a woman's mood is more susceptible to changing dramatically and suddenly. Follow these five tips to help treat your mood swings and improve hormone levels.
Change your diet
It's very important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. In addition, be sure to consume more foods that can improve your mood. Foods high in complex carbohydrates like potatoes and wheat boost serotonin levels. Foods that are rich in amino acids, like fish and dairy products, also help to reduce the likelihood of a mood change.
Exercising regularly will help to re-balance hormone levels and improve your overall health. Additionally, exercise will help reduce stress levels - when stress is too high, mood swings can result. Try to get at least half an hour of aerobic exercise each day.
If you are stressed, your level of serotonin decreases because the stress hormone, cortisol, influences its production. Make sure you have time to yourself to relax and de-stress. Join a weekly yoga or mediation class, practice breathing exercises daily, or just enjoy some time alone.
Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine significantly impacts mood. It acts directly on the nervous system, which means that excess consumption is a risk factor for mood swings. Instead of coffee, drink herbal infusions, which are a much better alternative because they typically contain antioxidants and are decaffeinated. Additionally, remember to drink lots of water so that your body remains hydrated and can better regulate hormone balance.
Spend more time with loved ones
Spending time with people you love boosts levels of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that counteracts mood imbalance. Instead of constantly worrying about mood swings, keep yourself busy with friends and family. Their company will help ease your mind and boost your energy and mood.
Many of these simple habits can help you regulate your hormone levels and help treat your mood swings. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor. Follow the links below to find out more about mood swings.
- Amin, Z. , Canli, T. & Epperson, C.N. (2005). Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition. Behavorial and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 4(1), 43-58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886402
- Love, S. & Lindsey, K. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.