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.
About Mood Swings
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
• Lack of motivation
• Extreme moods
• Decreased patience
• Increased stress
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.
During menopause, women experience drastic changes in their hormone levels. This imbalance can lead to mood swings and intense hunger. To help manage mood swings and intense hunger episodes, women should maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and using some alternative treatments.
Menopausal women may at times experience severe and violent mood swings as a result of their changing hormones. Some signs and symptoms include extreme irritability, anxiousness, and lack of motivation. To help manage severe and violent mood swings, women should adopt a healthier lifestyle by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and trying natural supplements.
Causes of Mood Swings
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.
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
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.
Hormone deficiencies can cause a woman to experience drastic changes in mood. Moods swings can be exacerbated by poor health, stress, and lack of social support. To restore hormone levels in menopausal women, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and add herbal supplements to your diet.
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating can be detrimental to one's physical and emotional health. The lack of proper nutrition can cause a hormonal imbalance lead to mood swings. Eating disorders are serious physiological conditions that should be treated under the guidance of a medical professional.
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.
• Past mental illness
• Past trauma
• Relationship issues
• Coping with change
• Poor diet
• Inadequate exercise
• Stimulant use
• Early menopause
• Heart disease
• Sleep disorders
• 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Typically, 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.
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.
Some of the most effective and healthiest treatments for mood swings include maintaining a healthy diet, sleeping at least seven hours a night, and getting plenty of rest and relaxation. These will all help rebalance hormone levels and relieve mood swings as well as other menopausal symptoms.
- "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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