During menopause, many women experience sudden changes in mood, from moments of sadness to irritability and impatience. Mood swings interrupt daily life, but there are several treatment methods available. Generally, doctors recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments to achieve the most relief with the least amount of risk. Keep reading to learn about some simple lifestyle adjustments that can help alleviate mood swings.
Exercising regularly is one of the best forms of managing mood swings. Exercising increases blood flow and the production of endorphins and serotonin, neurotransmitters that give you an increased sense of overall well-being and happiness. The effects of these naturally-produced chemicals lasts for hours after you workout is finished, helping to ward off mood swings.
Joining a support group
In support groups for menopausal women, members are able to share stories, give advice, and help each other out with the difficulties of this transition. Some women may even have specific tips about managing mood swings. If there isn't such a support group in your area, such groups also exist online and have discussion forums. Developing a support network with other women and your loved ones can significantly help in dealing with mood swings and other symptoms of menopause.
Cutting out harmful substances
Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can actually trigger mood swings, and during mood swing episodes, these substances can make things worse. It is recommended to moderate indulgence in alcohol to one drink a day maximum and to gradually reduce caffeine intake. Smoking should be avoided completely.
Modifying your diet
It's important to maintain a healthy diet to prevent mood swings. Always eating breakfast helps set and regulate your metabolism for the day, avoiding drops in blood sugar levels. Phytoestrogenic foods, or foods containing plant-based estrogen compounds, can help compensate for an estrogen deficiency. Adding more tofu, apples, cherries, and peas to your diet can help manage mood swings. In addition, fruit makes for a healthy snack.
Sometimes, it's hard to get all of the nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat. If you feel stressed and fatigued, taking some vitamin supplements such as B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid) can lift moods and stimulate production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helping you feel relaxed.
More Information about Mood Swings
Mood swings can be further aggravated by related menopausal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and fatigue. It may help to find a professional therapist to talk to so that you can share your experiences and take charge of your emotions. Most doctors agree that the best treatment for mood swings is making lifestyle adjustments while receiving therapy if necessary. Click on links below for more information about mood swing treatments.
- 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.