Mood Swings

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Women who experienced PMS or post partum depression are more likely to experience mood swings during menopause.

Not only can menopause prompt uncomfortable physical symptoms, it can also turn a woman's emotions into an out-of-control pendulum, by afflicting her with mood swings. Menopause is a time of significant hormonal changes, and these changes, typically occurring in women between the ages of 45 and 55, can affect emotional stability just as much as the body's equilibrium. More than 50% of women experience mood swings as they approach menopause. Fortunately, there are ways to best manage mood swings during this transitional time.

Continue reading to learn all about mood swings, their causes, risk factors, extreme cases, and treatment options.

Mood swings are defined as extreme or abrupt fluctuations in mood. During mood swings, people often experience drastic shifts in their emotional state. The term “mood swing” is often used to describe an emotional reaction that is inappropriate to its cause or trigger.

During menopause, women commonly experience mood swings because their hormones, which regulate mood and emotions, are thrown off balance. Though this is a common and normal symptom of menopause, it can nonetheless be very troubling.

It is often helpful for women going through mood swings to understand the symptoms of this condition. Keep reading to learn more about how mood swings can manifest during menopause.

Symptoms of Mood Swings

Because each woman has her own unique way of managing her emotions, stress, and her environment, all women experience the symptoms of mood swings differently. However, many symptoms of mood swings are common among women going through menopause.

Common Symptoms of Mood Swings

Frequent mood changes

Unexplainable emotions

Depression

Sadness

Lack of motivation

Extreme moods

Irritability

Aggression

Decreased patience

Increased stress

Anxiety

Nervousness

Melancholy

Various moods experienced by menopausal women over time

Did you know?

Up to 75% of women going through menopause suffer from mood swings.

Being aware of these symptoms can help a woman develop a well-rounded perspective of mood swings. Now, with a clear understanding of what mood swings are, it's time to learn about the underlying causes of them to become better equipped to deal with and treat mood swings. Click on the following link to read more about mood swings, or continue reading to learn about the causes of mood swings.

6 Sports That Keep Mood Swings Away during Perimenopause

This common symptom of menopause can really be hard to pull yourself out of emotionally. That is why is important to let physical activity assist in the task of rising above negative feelings; and these sports are a fun and uplifting way to do so.

3 Ways of Managing Mood Swings

Mood swings can be one of the most trying symptoms women face during menopause. Especially when compounded with other elements of menopause, such as hot flashes, they can leave women feeling upset. This article discusses three things women can do to help control their mood swings.

Causes of Mood Swings

Hormone imbalance affects production of serotonin in the brainMood swings during menopause are caused largely by the hormonal transitions women go through during this time. Hormones, such as estrogen, influence the production of serotonin, which is a mood regulating neurotransmitter.

However, there are other causes of mood swings. Other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, physical changes, and fatigue can cause or intensify mood swings, but these symptoms are generally caused by hormonal imbalance as well.

1. Hormonal Causes of Mood Swings

Medical researchers have found that estrogen plays a major role in the brain's production of serotonin, also known as the mood regulating neurotransmitter.

Estrogen's Effects on Serotonin

Increases serotonin receptor sensitivity

Increases serotonin receptor levels

Increases serotonin production

Because perimenopausal hormone imbalances temporarily disturb serotonin production in the brain, there is an increased chance of mood swings, depression, and other psychological disturbances during menopause.

While hormonal imbalance is thought to be a major underlying cause of mood swings during menopause, experts also point out that mood disturbances may be caused by other menopausal symptoms.

Keep reading to find out how other menopausal symptoms can affect mood and emotions.

2. Other Menopausal Causes of Mood Swings

Menopausal Causes of Mood Swings

Night sweats

Hot flashes

Physical changes

Fatigue

Doctors believe that mood swings are often the result of other menopausal symptoms. Women in their 40s and 50s, often stretched already by work and home stresses, suffer from fatigue, sleep problems, hot flashes, and other symptoms that can directly contribute to problems with mood and emotion.

Click on the following link to read more about the causes of mood swings, or continue reading below to find out the risk factors for mood swings.

Birth Control Triggers Mood Swings

Birth control can cause some women to experience mood swings. The increased levels of hormones introduced to the body can affect the brain's chemical make-up, causing a woman to drastically change emotional states from periods of euphoria to depression. To alleviate mood swings consult your doctor and discuss alternative contraception methods.

Reasons for Mood Swings and How to Deal with Them

The primary reason why women experience mood swings is a hormonal imbalance that occurs during menopause. However, a lack of exercise and a poor diet can also provoke mood swings. To reduce their occurrence, women should have a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and sleep for at least seven hours a night.

Risk Factors for Mood Swings

Why are some women more prone to mood swings during menopause? The answer has much to do with a woman's chemistry, her environment, and other factors. In addition to the hormonal causes of mood swings, several psychological, behavioral, and health related factors can increase the likelihood that a woman will develop mood swings during menopause.

Psychological Factors

Past mental illness

Stress

Past trauma

Relationship issues

Coping with change

Behavioral Factors

Smoking

Alcohol

Poor diet

Inadequate exercise

Stimulant use

Health Factors

Diabetes

Early menopause

Heart disease

Sleep disorders

Cancer

Lupus

Thyroid disease

Click on the following link to read more about risk factors for mood swings, or continue below to learn about extreme cases of mood swings, and when to see a doctor.

Mood Swings and Early Signs of Pregnancy

Mood swings are just one of the many early signs that a woman is pregnant. Additional signs include tender breasts, constipation, and nausea. While these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they can be managed by maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. Women should always consult their doctor to confirm pregnancy.

Extreme Cases of Mood Swings

While mood swings are normal during menopause, emotional and mood related symptoms sometimes indicate a more serious condition. Mood swings that are extreme, last for an extended duration, or put a woman or others at risk of harm warrant professional help. To learn more about when to seek help for mood swings, read on for the symptoms of bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and anxiety.

Phases of bipolar disorder

1. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is a group of mood disorders, characterized by the presence of one or more episodes of mania, or abnormally elevated mood, and alternating episodes of depression, or prolonged low moods.

2. Depression

Depression, termed major-depressive disorder, is another condition more serious than mood swings for which professional help is often necessary. While many people experience the symptoms of depression at different times in their lives, clinical depression is more than a temporary state or a symptom of menopause.

3. Anxiety

Disorders of Clinical Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder

Social phobia

Panic disorder

Anxiety is another condition more serious than menopause-induced mood swings. Anxiety disorders affect up to 18% of adults in the US, making this the most common type of mental illness. Clinical anxiety is a group of disorders and phobias.

Fortunately, excellent help is available for women who experience psychological conditions that are more serious than mood swings. Most women who go through menopause will not develop such symptoms. If concerned about mood swings or other symptoms during menopause, it is best to speak with a qualified health professional.

Click on the following link to learn more about the extreme cases of mood swings, or continue reading to find out about the best treatment options available for mood swings.

How Do I Cope with Extreme Mood Swings?

Many women find themselves suffering from mood swings during menopause, and it can be one of the hardest symptoms to deal with. Fortunately, there are things you can do to bring mood swings under control. This article describes some ways in which mood balance can be restored, including eating healthily and staying hydrated.

Heavy Mood Swings

Heavy and severe mood swings affect nearly 20% of women. They are commonly caused by fluctuating levels of hormones and chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. To help alleviate symptoms of mood swings, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, sleeping at least seven hours a night, reducing stress, and exercising regularly.

Treatments for Mood Swings

When exploring treatments for mood swings, it's important to begin with methods that are the least invasive, with the least likelihood of side effects, and progress from there.

This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin. For instance, sometimes mood swings can be alleviated simply by getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy diet rich in nutrients.

Woman with vegetables: a healthy diet can help fight mood swingsTypically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicines produces the best treatment results. Alternative medicines include different herbs and supplements, or techniques like acupuncture and massage. When seeking an alternative medicine, keep in mind that because mood swings during menopause are associated with hormonal imbalance. Look for supplements that balance hormonal levels naturally, which will go a long way in treating mood swings at the core of the issue.

Finally, if still experiencing mood swings, there are different drugs and surgeries that can be explored. Drugs are often prescribed, which may help women to cope with mood swings, but do not provide a cure. This final option comes with the most risk and potential side effects.

Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for mood swings, which begin with lifestyle changes, followed by alternative medicines, and finally, if those options don't seem to help, drugs and surgery. The most effective treatments for mood swings typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.

How to Handle Mood Swings

When hormone levels change in menopausal women, so do the levels of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. This can cause drastic changes in mood. Although mood swings cannot be completely controlled, some women find relief by balancing their hormones through eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Treating Extreme Mood Swings

Many women experience extreme mood swings during menopause as a result of hormonal changes. Mood swings are easy to treat with a series of lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet and regular exercise routine. Natural supplements and alternative therapies can also help, though prescription drugs should be used as a last resort.

Sources:
  • "Adult Mood Swings". The Health Center. www.thehealthcenter.info.
  • Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
  • Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
  • "Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Molecular Psychiatry. www.psycheducation.org.
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Mood Swings
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