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Things to Know about Mood Swings and Anxiety

During the menopause transition, many women experience different symptoms, sometimes experiencing a combination of two or more symptoms. Affecting anywhere from 40-50% of menopausal women, mood swings are a highly common occurrence during this transition. Anxiety, as a result of hormone fluctuations and the overwhelming stress many women experience during this transition, is another common side effect of menopause. At times, women can experience mood swings and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle of stress and negative feelings, which can impact a woman's life. Read on to learn more about the causes of mood swings and anxiety, how they go hand in hand, and the treatment options available for your menopause symptoms.

Things to Know about Mood Swings and Anxiety

Causes for Mood Swings

During menopause, estrogen production drastically decreases. Linked to proper cognitive function, estrogen plays a vital role in mood regulation. Along with the decrease in serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin production, this can negatively impact your mental health, making you more vulnerable to mood swings. Other causes of mood swings include poor sleep quality, poor diet, lack of exercise, and the occurrence of other menopause symptoms.

Causes for Anxiety

Declining estrogen levels can also strongly affect your ability to feel and stay relaxed. This is because the amygdala, which is in charge of emotional processing and response, is altered by the sharp shift in your body. This can trigger symptoms of anxiety, including increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, and feelings of panic.

Common Symptoms

Mood swings and anxiety can encompass just about every emotion imaginable. Mood swings can actually make you feel inexplainably  happy at times. When you come down from the temporary bursts of joy you can feel irritable, angry, depressed, worthless, hopeless, alienated, fatigue, and incapable. Anxiety can result in panic, tension, obsessive worry, and even muscle pain.

Anxiety and mood swings can negatively impact your life, as well as your relationships. Luckily, there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms.

Lifestyle Solutions

While it may seem daunting, exercising can go long way in decreasing the frequency and intensity of your mood swings and anxiety episodes. Thirty minutes of physical activity per day five days a week will go a long way toward improving your overall well-being, including your mental health. Cardio will help raise serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin levels. For stress relief, try yoga or meditation.

Eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way toward improving your health, as well. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, yogurt, whole grains, and lean meats. Drinking alcohol or eating chocolate can also be good for you, if done in moderation.

Herbal Remedies

Herbs can be very useful for managing anxiety and mood swings. For depression, try St John's Wort or ginkgo biloba. For anxiety go for kava kava or holy basil. For anger, skullcap is good for calming your nerves. If you want an overall boost in estrogen, take phytoestrogenic herbs like black cohosh and dong quai.

Even though mood swings and anxiety can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with, there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. Follow the link below for further information on how to treat menopausal mood swings.

Understanding Menopause: Mood Swings and Irritability

Mood swings and irritability can be managed in a variety of ways. Read on to learn more about what causess these menopause symptoms.

Mood Swings during Early Pregnancy

Mood swings during early pregnancy are very common and they may appear due to hormonal imbalance.

Mood Swings and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition, but eating disorders are often misunderstood or dismissed.

Sources:
  • National Institutes of Health. (2008). Black Cohosh. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/
  • National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression in Adults. Retrieved April 3, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23377209
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). What is Depression? Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml#pub1
  • NYU Langone Medical Center. (2013). Kava. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21785
  • Medline Plus. (2012). Dong Quai. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/936.html
  • Office on Women's Health. (2012). Premenstrual Syndrome Factsheet. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrualsyndrome.html