Hypothyroidism and mood swings both emerge more often in menopausal women than their premenopausal counterparts. While the changes taking place in a women's body due to the conclusion of her menstrual cycles are enough to push her mood, the addition of hypothyroidism can make it even more intense. Women battling menopause and hypothyroidism at the same time can become overwhelmed by the emotional attacks. Hormonal deficiencies make quite the impact, but it doesn't mean that you can't fight back. There are plenty of natural and easy remedies for relief, which can help bring you peace of mind.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a thyroid condition that is common among women over the age of 50. It is characterized by an underactive thyroid that does not produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones are essential for the way the cells in the body use energy, which is known as metabolism. With a slowed metabolism, individuals often experience weight gain, constipation, fatigue, muscle pain, and weakness. If untreated, hypothyroidism has the potential to slow one's speech, thicken skin, and decrease taste and smell. Thyroid disorders are considered a risk factor of mood swings.
What Is a Mood Swing?
Mood swings are characterized by spontaneous anger, sadness, or anxiety that subsides after a period of time. During menopause, the main reason for this emotional imbalance is hormonal changes. Estrogen levels are in a state of flux, which directly affects one's brain chemistry. Happy neurotransmitters such as serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are reduced, and thus, individuals feel more irritable and despaired. Although they are intense when they emerge, mood swing episodes are temporary and subside within a couple hours.
How Can One Affect the Other?
Hypothyroidism and mood swings are related in the sense that they are both dictated by hormone levels. While low estrogen is likely to prompt a mood swing, low thyroid hormones levels can also throw your brain chemistry off balance. Since your metabolism is slowed, it can cause fatigue, forgetfulness, and even depression. You won't be able to think as clearly or move as quickly. The unexpected weight gain can also be a contributing factor for mood swings, as individuals with higher body mass indexes (BMI) tend to experience more emotional instability.
Nutrients Against Hypothyroidism
In some cases, dietary changes may be an effective way to overcome hypothyroidism. Try to balance your intake of protein, iodine, vitamin D, omega-3, and even healthy fats, increasing them if necessary. These will help increase the production of thyroid hormones and get everything moving.
Hypothyroidism and mood swings can both be alleviated in part by the practice of relaxation techniques, since the thyroid hormone and estrogen levels are very sensitive to stress response and can decline when there is a high presence of the anxiety hormone, cortisol.
Lifestyle Changes for Mood Swings
Mood swings are best dealt with by the inclusion of physical activity in your daily life. Aim for a total of 2.5 hours of exercise each week. This can be cardio, yoga, Pilates, an aerobics class, or just walking with the dog. Physical activity is known to boost levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and endorphins, which induce joy and relaxation.
Further, spend time with others. Although your emotions can be getting you down to the point where to don't want to see anyone, it can be helpful if you do. Social activities with loved ones increase your levels of oxytocin in the brain, promoting feelings of support.
Hormones are tricky to deal with. The decreased thyroid and sex hormones can make you a screaming, sobbing mess. The great part is that there are effective ways to handle your emotions from a dietary and lifestyle standpoint. In other words, you can manage your hypothyroidism and mood swings with lifestyle adjustments as a first recourse.
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Hypothyroidism: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000353.htm
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and Menopause Treatments Fact Sheet. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html
- Office on Women's Health. (2013). Physical activity (exercise) fact sheet. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/physical-activity.html