Menopause is a time when women experience sharp hormonal fluctuations. As a woman's body prepares for infertility, it slowly decreases its production of progesterone and estrogen. But during this time, the levels are unstable and can cause a myriad of symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, and mood swings.
About Mood Swings
Mood swings are psychological symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Mood swings occur when a woman experiences drastic fluctuations in her temperament, from states of euphoria to depression, without much warning or cause. Mood swings can seriously disrupt a woman's life at work, home, and with friends if they are severe.
Often, loved ones and those who are closest to a woman are on the receiving end of her changing moods and temper. Although it may seem like a woman should be able to control her temperament, many women have trouble because of the changes taking place in their body.
Why Do Mood Swings Occur?
Women's mood swings occur during menopause as a result of the large fluctuations of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone. This is because women's bodies no longer require the same levels of hormones. However, progesterone and estrogen do more than regulate reproduction. They also influence the production of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Appropriate levels of serotonin cause the body to release endorphins, which induce good feelings. For example, many people feel a state of euphoria after exercising because working out releases endorphins and serotonin.
How Can Mood Swings during Menopause Be Managed?
There are different ways that mood swings can be treated. It is important that women focus on balancing their estrogen and progesterone levels to help control their mood swings and other symptoms of menopause. Women who have mild mood swings can make natural lifestyle changes to help beat their mood swing episodes. Some lifestyle changes include:
Exercising regularly. To keep hormone levels balanced, it is recommended that women workout at least half an hour a day, five times a week.
Eating a healthy diet. It is recommended that women eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, alongside plenty of protein, whole grain fibers, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Sleeping regularly. The average adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Getting enough rest can ward off irritability and fatigue.
Staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Alternatively, women can turn to natural supplements that help balance hormone levels and reduce or even eliminate mood swings. An example would be hormone-regulating supplements. For further information on mood swing episodes, follow the links below.
- Amin, Z. , Canli, T. & Epperson, C.N. (2005). Effect of estrogen-serotonin interactions on mood and cognition. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 4(1), 43-58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886402
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Menopause: five self-help tips. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/Menopauseselfhelp.aspx
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html
- The Health Center.(n.d)."Adult Mood Swings". Retrieved from www.thehealthcenter.info.