In addition to myriad physical effects, emotional symptoms are a common feature of the menopausal transition. In fact, up to 50% of all perimenopausal women experience disturbances in mood, including irritability. While several factors can contribute to irritability in our daily lives, hormonal fluctuations characteristic of menopause are often the prime cause of irritability and other negative emotional states during this major life transition.
One of the most important things to remember is that irritability can be a normal part of the menopausal process. Many women find it helps to learn more about irritability during menopause, because a greater understanding of its symptoms and causes can help determine the most appropriate way to manage irritability and mitigate its effects.
Symptoms of Irritability
The symptoms of irritability can include:
• Increased stress
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling on edge
• Lashing out in anger or frustration
• Less tolerance for people and events
• Reduced patience
• Over-reacting in situations
Many menopausal women find that they are more easily irritated by the daily stresses and stains of life than they once were. Many women understand that their effective reactions may be out of proportion to their triggers, but still have difficulty avoiding irritability.
Irritability is defined as an excessive response to stimuli.
While most women know the signs and symptoms of irritability, they are unaware of the underlying causes of this negative effect. Please read on to learn more about the possible causes of irritability.
Sleep is often the most underrated factor that contributes to good health, and a lack of it can drastically affect everyday life. Read on to discover how sleep deprivation can cause irritability that negatively affects several aspects of waking life, and why you should make the effort to catch more Zs.
Causes of Irritability
During the menopausal transition, the primary underlying cause of irritability is hormonal imbalance. During menopause fluctuating estrogen levels have a direct, though complex, effect on the brain's regulation of mood and emotion. Thus, changing levels of estrogen in the body can increase the risk of experiencing irritability during menopause.
Menopause-related hormonal changes can also have an indirect influence on irritability. Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep disorders, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, and more, can cause or contribute to irritability.
In addition to natural hormonal changes in menopause, certain lifestyle and medical factors can cause or contribute to irritability.
Other causes of irritability
Now that the causes of irritability are better understood, the next step towards managing this common emotional symptom of menopause is learning more about treatment options. Please read on to learn more about the treatment of irritability.
Chronic irritability is uncomfortable and frustrating – even more so when experienced on top of other physical symptoms, such as those that often occur during menopause. Luckily, treatment becomes easy when the causes of irritability are understood. Read on to find out more about this condition and what you can do about it.
During menopause, many women find it beneficial to practice yoga. It's a great way to exercise, relieve stress, promote hormonal balance and lessen a woman's irritability. Some of the most beneficial poses include Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Utthita Trikonasana, Matsyasana and Paschimottanasana.
Treatments of Irritability
Treating irritability usually begins with making some positive life changes. These can include:
• Taking time for oneself, either alone or in the company of positive, calming people
• Pursuing pleasurable calming hobbies or other activities
• Utilizing stress reduction techniques including breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, tai chi, visualization, and more
• Eating healthy
• Getting regular exercise
• Maintaining open communication with close kin
If irritability persists or develops into a more serious psychological condition, such as anxiety or depression, it is a good idea to speak with a trained healthcare professional who can help.
Often, however, lifestyle changes coupled with alternative medicines are the best way to reduce or put a stop to irritability. Natural remedies can get at the root problem of hormonal imbalance to treat not just the symptom of irritability but its underlying cause.
Most experts recommend that women who suffer from irritability and wish to treat it begin with lifestyle changes, then move onto alternative medicines (ideally combining the two) and finally, look to medications or surgery if nothing else seems to work. Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for irritability in these three categories.
Stress can cause bad moods at any moment, but as women mature, they become more susceptible to menopausal irritability that's caused by mood swings and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Luckily, treatments abound. Read on to learn about four you can practice yourself at home.
Chocolate has been known to have several health benefits. Among one of the many debatable rewards, is the treat's ability to enhance menopausal women's moods. Chocolate can boost mood temporarily, but it may also worsen symptoms of irritability. While conclusive evidence has yet to be determined, women should consume chocolate in moderation.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.