Menopausal Mood Swings and How to Cope with Them

    Menopausal Mood Swings and How to Cope with Them
    Updated 02 February 2023 |
    Published 04 May 2019
    Fact Checked
    Tanya Tantry, MD
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Women going through menopause experience various symptoms. Some of these symptoms include hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, weight gain, and vaginal dryness.

    Menopause also causes emotional changes. Studies have shown that some women experience depression and anger during menopause. Fortunately, menopausal mood swings are manageable with treatment and lifestyle changes.

    Menopause and mood swings: is it inevitable? 

    Some research studies suggest that there is a link between menopause and mood swings. This could explain why many women experience varying mood patterns during menopause. These studies suggest that menopausal mood swings are due to hormonal changes

    During menopause, the levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone decline, causing physical and psychological changes in the body. 

    Perimenopausal rage

    Perimenopausal rage is an emotion characterized by a sudden feeling of anger or irritation. One moment you could be feeling untroubled, and the next you’re bursting with anger. This could be because of low estrogen levels. 

    You can try to manage perimenopausal rage by identifying triggers to avoid. You can also learn anger control techniques like deep breathing and meditation.  

    What causes menopausal mood swings?

    Studies suggest that menopausal mood swings are caused by fluctuating hormone levels.   

    Menopause involves three stages. The first stage is the perimenopause stage, and it is referred to as the menopausal transition.

    Typically, perimenopause occurs at age 45, but it can happen earlier. During perimenopause, you might experience symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, headaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irregular periods, and low libido

    All these symptoms are caused by changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. During the menopausal transition, the reproductive hormone levels drop because your ovaries are producing less of these hormones. 

    The second stage is called the menopause stage, and this is when women have stopped having their period for a full year. At this stage, the ovaries no longer release eggs and vastly decrease the production of reproductive hormones.

    During the postmenopausal stage, which comes after menopause, the hormone levels stabilize at a lower level. You’ll start to experience fewer menopausal symptoms until they eventually stop manifesting completely. 

    Symptoms of menopausal mood swings

    • Menopausal symptoms can be categorized into emotional and physical symptoms. 
    • Emotional symptoms may include: 
    • Aggressiveness
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Sadness 
    • Excessive joy
    • Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and/or hopelessness
    • Physical symptoms can include low energy, headaches, digestive problems, and insomnia.

    Risk factors

    Some risk factors of menopausal mood swings include the discomfort of menopausal symptoms, life stressors, health behaviors, lack of social support, and an unhealthy lifestyle. 

    Women who have had a history of depression are also at risk of developing mood swings during menopause.

    Menopausal mood swing treatment 

    Treatments for menopausal moods swings can include medication, lifestyle changes, antidepressant therapy, and hormone replacement therapy

    Lifestyle changes

    • Regular exercise — According to medical experts, doing aerobic exercise every day for 30 minutes or more can help boost your energy levels and improve your mood. It can also help alleviate other symptoms of menopause. 
    • Nutrition — Eating a healthy balanced diet is a great way to ease menopausal symptoms. You may need to limit your intake of certain beverages and foods such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food, as they can exacerbate your symptoms. 
    • Combat stressStress can not only make symptoms worse, but also cause other health problems. You may feel like you are dealing with a lot, but try to let go of the stress by relaxing more. Use relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. Dance or go for a walk.  Engage in activities that are fun and relaxing. 
    • Get enough sleep — Not getting enough sleep can alter your mood. If you’re experiencing sleeping difficulties, talk to your doctor. There are treatment options that may be able to help.
    • Manage depression — Research findings have shown that some women experience depressive symptoms and disorders when they enter perimenopause and menopause. If you find that you are constantly feeling sad, don’t find joy in anything, or are constantly feeling hopeless or helpless, talk to your doctor or a psychiatrist. 

    Natural remedies for menopausal mood swings

    There are natural remedies that can help improve your menopausal moods swings as well as other symptoms. It’s all about a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

    Lots of fruits and veggies, high-fiber foods, and omega-3 fats are great at helping relieve menopausal symptoms. It is important, however, to talk to your doctor about your diet if you are going through menopause. Some foods might help ease your menopausal mood swings; others might not. 

    Foods that might boost your mood include beans, fish, fruit, leafy greens, dark chocolate, and berries. Foods that might trigger mood swings include soda, high-sugar juices, alcohol, processed meat, salted peanuts, high-sodium canned foods, and sugary baked goods. 

    Drinking plenty of water is also very important. Hot flashes can cause excessive sweating. Drink plenty of water to replenish any lost fluids and stay hydrated. 

    Some say that herbal remedies like St. John’s wort, black cohosh, red clover, sage, and ginseng can help treat hot flashes and mood swings. But talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements for your menopausal symptoms. 

    As in all stages of your life, try to stay positive as you transition through the various stages of menopause. Engage in activities that are fun to keep your mood up. Avoid situations that may trigger feelings of anger, sadness, or depression. 

    And above all, love yourself. Stay healthy by eating healthy. Keep fit by exercising regularly. Increase your social circle by attending events. Try new hobbies. Connect with other women for support. And remember all the positive attributes that make you you; those have not changed.  

    History of updates
    Current version (02 February 2023)
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
    Published (04 May 2019)
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