With up to 50% of women experiencing mood swings, they are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. They can be incredibly frustrating and, if left untreated, can negatively impact a woman's personal and professional relationships. Understanding why they occur is the key for managing this symptom, allowing women to live balanced lives once again.
Fortunately, as it is widely known that mood swings are caused by fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels, it is possible to treat this upsetting imbalance. Though it used to be common to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat this fundamental cause, there are less risky treatment options to consider first.
Learn more about how to treat menopausal mood swings.
Three Approaches to Treating Mood Swings
Three levels of approaches can be considered for treating mood swings. These are categorized as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
It is recommended to begin with the least risky option, lifestyle changes, before progressing to the next stage of treatment. Medication should only be used as a last resort.
1. Lifestyle Changes for Mood Swings
The first approach to treating mood swings consists of lifestyle changes. This method carries no cost and minimal risk, but it requires the most self-discipline. In many cases, simple lifestyle adjustments can relieve mood swings and positively impact health.
Fundamentally, techniques for stress reduction - such as yoga or meditation - combined with regular exercise and an improved diet can significantly improve mood. Diet, in particular, is critical in regulating mood swings. By eating a balanced diet rich in foods that boost serotonin levels - and by avoiding mood-crashing sugary foods and excessive amounts of caffeine - it is possible to stabilize mood to some degree.
In particular, the following lifestyle adjustments often help to combat mood swings:
Cutting back on caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that acts directly on the nervous system, triggering mood instability.
Eating more complex carbs
Foods such as potatoes, bran, wheat, and other complex carbohydrates help to boost serotonin levels.
Eating more protein
Foods high in protein - such as meat, fish, soy, and dairy products - are rich in amino acids and may help women to cope with mood swings.
Making time for friends and family
Spending time with loved ones boosts a woman's levels of oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone that counteracts mood imbalance.
Low-impact exercises such as yoga not only improve overall self-image and health, but they also help to reduce stress levels.
While lifestyle changes are a great way to reduce mood swings, they do not manage core hormonal imbalances, which are the primary cause of mood swings. For this reason, alternative treatments are a safe and effective method for treating hormonal imbalance and, in turn, mood swings. Keep reading to learn more about natural treatments for mood swings.
2. Alternative Medicine
- B vitamins
- St. John's wort
- Vitamin E
Alternative approaches involve minimal risk and can be an extremely effective way to treat mood swings, especially in conjunction with lifestyle changes. They include many different options. Herbal supplements are the most popular, though in addition, women may turn to other stress-relieving techniques, such as massage or aromatherapy, which can help stabilize mood. However, most women find that herbal supplements are the easiest alternative treatment to follow, as the others require a greater time and monetary commitment. In addition, herbal supplements are the only viable option to directly treat the hormonal imbalance behind mood swings.
There are two types of supplementary herbs that are used to treat hormonal imbalances and mood swings: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements, such as ginseng or black cohosh, contain compounds called phytoestrogens, which function like estrogen in the female body. They can help counteract estrogen deficiency and thereby mood swings, but prolonged use of these supplements can make the body less capable of producing natural hormones, resulting in an overall drop in hormone levels.
These supplements do not utilize phytoestrogens or other hormones. Rather, they nourish the endocrine glands, which bolsters the body's own natural hormone production. This balances not only estrogen levels, but also those of other important hormones, like progesterone. Supplements like this, which support the endocrine system and promote natural hormone production, are considered to be the most effective for treating mood swings.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production, by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to read more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches - blending lifestyle adjustments and herbal supplements - is typically the most effective means of treating mood swings. However, in unusual cases, changes in mood may be too severe or they may not respond to treatment, at which point women may wish to try the third approach - medications - after thoroughly assessing the risks related to treatment.
Generally, prescription medications entail the highest risk and are often the most expensive. A popular medication for treating menopausal mood swings is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While this is often a strong and fast treatment for mood swings, it has potentially serious side effects and elevates the risk of blood clots and stroke, as seen in the following study.
In 1991, the National Institute of Health (NIH) began the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the biggest clinical trial held in the U.S., in order to research the risks and benefits of HRT. However, the study was called off in July 2002, at which time it was concluded that the introduction of synthetic hormones into the body increases the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke, as well as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. These results were subsequently published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).
If a woman's mood swings are so severe that she may need prescription medications, she should consult a trusted medical professional to discuss the potential benefits and risks involved with this type of treatment.
These three treatment approaches - lifestyle changes, alternative medicine, and medications - can be used in combination or singularly, based on individual need.
A Safe Way of Treating Mood Swings
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for managing mood swings, as detailed in the alternative medicine approach, tends to be the best option for most women because such supplements are effective while carrying only nominal side effects.
Macafem, for example, is considered to be a great hormone-regulating herbal supplement. How it works is simple: rather than using artificial external hormones, it nourishes the hormonal glands, which allows them to produce hormones naturally and in balanced amounts. This is what sets Macafem apart. Click on the following link for more about Macafem.
- Amin, Z. , Canli, T. & Epperson, C.N. (2005). Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition. Behavorial and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 4(1), 43-58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886402
- Love, S. & Lindsey, K. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/