All about each symptom of menopause
women going through menopause

How to Handle Mood Swings

How to Handle Mood Swings

Mood swings are a common symptom of menopause. While the severity of mood swings will differ for each woman, more severe mood swings can be distressing. Fortunately, more research is being done to understand the causes and effects of mood swings, as well as ways to treat them.

What Are Mood Swings?

Mood swings are sudden changes in emotion when there isn't a logical reason for the change in emotion. For example, a person may be happy one moment, and then sad and irritated the next. Although it is normal, especially during significant life events, mood swings can become so frequent and severe that they impact daily life.

What Causes Mood Swings?

Medical researchers have identified a range of factors that can cause mood swings, including biological or environmental circumstances and chemical changes in the brain. However, more still needs to be done in order to better understand people's range of emotions and what controls them. Since estrogen regulates some neurotransmitters, a dip in estrogen levels, such as during menopause, may trigger mood swings.

Mood Swings as a Result of a Chemical Imbalance:

Emotions – such as happiness, fear, stress, and anger – occur when the brain releases certain neurotransmitters (compounds that act as brain hormones). Since the release of these compounds – dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) - regulate feelings, mood swings may result from an imbalance of these chemicals.

How Can I Control My Mood Swings?

How to Handle Mood Swings

A healthy body often means a healthy mind as well. Thus, it is recommended that you maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen. If your mood swings are changing the quality of your life, it may be a good idea to see a therapist. Therapists can help you to better understand your behavior and work through your emotions. This can be especially helpful if your mood swings feel disproportionate to the situation or seem out of control. Click on the following link for more on controlling mood swings.

Menstrual Mood Swings

The exact causes of menstrual mood swings are not well understood, but they may be connected to chemical changes in the brain and hormone fluctuations.

Female Mood Swings after Birth Control

Mood swings have been associated with hormonal changes when going off birth control. Click here to learn more.

Understanding the Difference between Menopausal Mood Swings and PMS

During women's reproductive years, mood swings often occur at the beginning and end of her menstrual cycle. Learn more here.

Sources:
  • Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
  • Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858