Menopausal women may feel like they are experiencing an emotional overload. Not only are they approaching the end of fertility, they are experiencing a myriad of symptoms that take their toll physically and psychologically. What can you do to begin feeling like your old self again? Read on to find out.
The Secret to a Happier, Healthier You
In order to regulate your mood during menopause, you first must understand what's causing your mood swings: erratic hormone levels. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone help regulate mood-related functions, so anxiety, depression, or fatigue during menopause is likely due to the diminished production of these hormones.
3 Steps to a Happier You
Keeping your hormones balanced is the first step to a happier you. Here are three ways you can treat hormone imbalance and mood swings:
Exercise is not only important for general health and well-being, it also encourages the production of mood-enhancing endorphins. Try a low-impact activity like walking or yoga to help encourage blood circulation and work on your breathing. Exercising four to five times a week may also help you shed the extra pounds that can sometimes build up during menopause, as well as reducing stress levels which can increase the frequency and intensity of mood swings.
Your diet should include something from all the food groups, but research has shown that fish and dairy products are especially effective for mood swings. Fish like sardines, salmon, trout, shrimp, and haddock contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, while dairy products contain the chemical tryptophan and chocolate contains antioxidants and encourages the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
And, as an added bonus, dairy products also help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which is prevalent in postmenopausal women.
Know your herbs
Herbal supplements are gaining popularity in treating menopausal symptoms. That is because many herbs contain phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that mimic the effects of estrogen in the female body. The most famous mood-enhancing herb is dong quai, a mild sedative and stress reliever. Ginkgo biloba and black cohosh are also used to treat menopausal mood swings. However, as a result of adding hormones to women's bodies, they become less capable of producing their own hormones.
Beyond these lifestyle changes and alternative treatments, there are a variety of pharmaceutical options available on the market to help women cope with their fluctuating emotions, and different treatments will suit individual women better. Click here for more information about treatments for mood swings.
- 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." The Health Center. www.thehealthcenter.info