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Mood Swings
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Mood Swings

Did you know?

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

Not only can menopause prompt uncomfortable physical symptoms, but it can also turn a woman's emotions into a pendulum, prompting moderate to severe 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. More than 50% of women experience mood swings as they approach menopause. Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage menopausal mood swings.

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

About Mood Swings

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

During menopause, women commonly experience mood swings because their hormones, which regulate mood and emotions, are thrown off balance. While this is a common and normal symptom of menopause, it can negatively impact your personal and professional relationships.

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.

  • Frequent mood changes
  • Inexplicable emotions
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Extreme moods
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Decreased patience
  • Increased stress
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Melancholy

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. Click on the following link to read more about mood swings, or continue reading to learn about the causes of mood swings.

Hypothyroidism and Mood Swings

Thyroid problems can be difficult to deal with, especially during menopause. This is because thyroid hormones are just as important for regulating mood as sex hormones are. When your levels are off, you can experience erratic emotions. Find out just how it is that the thyroid is involved with your mental state.

Bipolar Disorder or Mood Swings? The Difference

While immersed in a mood swing episode, you may begin to worry that you are bipolar. There are, however, sure signs to determine whether or not your concerns are justified. Read on to find out what both of these conditions are and the key ways to recognize the difference.

Causes of Mood Swings

Hormone imbalance affects production of serotonin in the brain

Mood 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.

Hormonal causes of mood swings

Medical researchers have found that estrogen plays a major role in the brain's production of serotonin, meaning that estrogen has a hand in mood regulation.

Estrogen's Effects on Serotonin

  • Increases serotonin receptor sensitivity
  • Increases serotonin receptor levels
  • Increases serotonin production

Because perimenopausal hormone imbalances temporarily disrupt 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 menopause symptoms.

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

Other menopausal causes of mood swings

Menopausal Causes of Mood Swings

  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue

Mood swings can be the result of other menopause 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.

Does Endometriosis Cause Mood Swings?

Mood swings are a very common symptom of menopause, and they actually affect the majority of women at some point in their life. Find out how the pain condition endometriosis might play a role in these bursts of emotion, as well as what exactly is causing the pain.

Vitamins to Prevent Mood Swing Episodes

During menopause, your metabolism changes and your body becomes more sensitive to nutritional deficiencies. It's more important than ever to consume these essential vitamins for taming anxiety and fighting depression. If you are lacking certain vitamins in your diet, bringing them up to healthy levels could help.

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 experience mood swings during menopause.

Psychological Factors

  • Past mental illness
  • Stress
  • Past trauma
  • Relationship issues
  • Coping with change

Behavioral Factors

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Stimulant use

Health Factors

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Early menopause
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cancer Lupus

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: a Perimenopause Symptom

Perimenopause, the stage before menopause, comes with a variety of troubling symptoms. One of these symptoms, mood swings, are known for being particularly difficult to deal with. However, there are treatments. Learn more about the causes and treatments for mood swings.

Mood Swings and Early Signs of Pregnancy

Mood swings can be frequently experienced at any age and stage of life and consequently they often get dismissed as inconsequential. However, the phenomenon can also be an early indication of pregnancy. Read more information on the symptom and other signs of pregnancy.

Extreme Cases of Mood Swings

While mood swings are normal during menopause, emotional 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.

Bipolar disorder

Phases of 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.


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.


Clinical Anxiety Disorders

  • 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 U.S., making this the most common type of mental illness. Clinical anxiety is a group of disorders and phobias.

Fortunately, 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 you are 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 menopausal women find themselves dealing with mood swings, some of which can be extreme. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with this symptom, which include changes in diet, exercise, and hydration. This article also helps women identify when they are suffering from extreme mood swings, or if they could be signs of depression.

Mood Swings and Sex Hormones

Are you experiencing mood swings during menopause? These are caused by fluctuations in a group of hormones collectively known as the sex hormones, which includes estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Click on the following link to learn more about how these three hormones can influence your mood.

Mood Swings Treatments

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 typically 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 swings

Typically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicines produces the best treatment results. Alternative medicines include different herbs and supplements, as well as techniques like massage. When seeking an alternative method, keep in mind that 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 you are still experiencing mood swings, there are different prescription medications that can be explored. Generally, 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, medication. The most effective treatments for mood swings typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.

How Can I Prevent Postmenopausal Mood Swings?

If excessive moodiness is getting in the way of your happiness or your interactions with others, you may want to look toward these healthy and effective remedies for emotional wellness. Unfortunately, this symptom can continue after menopause has ended, but these simple lifestyle changes can restore you back to your normal self again.

5-day Plan to Stop Mood Swings

Mood swings come and go so often during menopause that they can leave you feeling dizzy. It is very helpful to know what to incorporate into your week to help ward off these spontaneous eruptions of grief. This article provides detailed advice about what to do and eat Monday through Friday to prevent breakdowns.

  • 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
  • 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 12, 2016, from

General articles

Updated on May 21, 2015
Understanding Menopause: Mood Swings and Irritability
Feeling irrationally irritated over seemingly trivial things? Experiencing mood swings? It's likely that hormonal fluctuations are to blame for your erratic emotional state. While mood alterations are a common menopause symptom, many women are needlessly suffering in silence. Check out this article and take steps to stabilize both your hormones and your mood.
Updated on Oct 27, 2014
What's the Difference between Severe Mood Swings and Depression?
Are you struggling with sudden changes in your mood because of menopause? Depending on the types of changes you're experiencing, these could be mood swings or depression. Click the following link to learn the differences between the two and how to identify what's happening to you.
Updated on Jun 26, 2014
How to Control Hormonal Mood Swings
Mood swings are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and they can be very difficult to deal with. You may feel extremely happy one moment and truly depressed just a few minutes later. Women should try exercising, getting outside, spending time with loved ones, and practicing meditation to reduce mood swings.
Updated on Jun 25, 2014
Are Mood Swings a Sign of Perimenopause?
Mood swings are a common occurrence during many life stages. The frequency of mood swings during these times can often lead to women being irritable, anxious, or depressed even when they are not suffering from a mood swing at the time. But what role do mood swings play during perimenopause? Read on to find out.
Updated on May 29, 2014
Menopausal Mood Swings
Menopause comes with a host of unwanted side effects. One of the most difficult to overcome and live with on a daily basis is mood swings. For more information on the symptom and advice on how to overcome it check out the following article.