Menopause can be a very difficult time for women and to a lesser extent, the people around them. Because women are going through a transition that leaves them open to a wide range of physical and psychological changes, their relationships, children, and friends can all be affected in consequence. In order to keep relations harmonious and mutually respectful, it is important to understand the changes that a woman's body undergoes during menopause and learn about what can be done to make mood swings, and the transition through menopause itself less stressful.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her ovaries reduce their production of hormones before ovulation ceases and a woman becomes infertile. Most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. The process takes several years to complete and is considered officially over when a woman has not had her menstrual period for one whole year.
Menopause can cause women to experience all kinds of side effects. These include but are not limited to: hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, headaches, nausea, aching joints, and mood swings.
What Are Mood Swings?
Mood swings are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. They are defined as rapid changes in emotion. Many women may notice changes in mood during menopause; while others may not even realize that it is happening.
Mood swings are typically attributed to hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause, but there are also other factors that trigger mood swings. For example, hot flashes and night sweats may disturb sleep patterns, and therefore cause irritable during the following day.
Some Tips for Menopausal Mood Swings
The best thing you can do to keep your relationships healthy during this time is to talk to your loved ones and explain the transition you are going through. It is important for your family to know why your temper might be shorter then normal. Help them understand that it's nobody's fault, but is in fact a biological consequence. Scheduling some relaxation time, such as long walks, or a planned family vacation can help reduce the whole families stress levels and strengthen your bonds.
Another tip to take into consideration is to keep track of your sleep patterns and to try and identify what causes any disruption to your sleep schedule. Regulating the amount of sleep you get every night is crucial. Stress is often a major trigger of mood swings, and doing everything to avoid it during menopause is your best solution. Research has shown that regular sleep patterns play a large role in reducing stress. Also, a regular diet and an exercise routine help a lot.
- Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Molecular Psychiatry.(n.d)."Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Retrieved from www.psycheducation.org.
- The Health Center.(n.d)."Adult Mood Swings". Retrieved from www.thehealthcenter.info.