If Youve Been Diagnosed With Depression In The Past
Having a history of depression makes it more likely youll experience an episode as you approach menopause. Talk to your doctor if your previous symptoms return or if you have new ones, including:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or irritability
- Low appetite or overeating
- Overwhelming fatigue and lack of motivation
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Difficulty making decisions and absorbing information
- Thoughts of suicide
Why Does Menopause Cause Mood Swings
The menopause is a time when the body is going through major hormonal changes. The hormones which trigger ovulation and menstruation are also important for releasing a mood-regulating chemical called serotonin.
As these hormones decline when you approach the menopause, so does the level of serotonin. Unfortunately the decline of these hormones is not a smooth and steady descent but a bumpy road down. When serotonin level is high, your mood soars; when it is low, so is your mood.
The menopause can also result in other symptoms such as hot flushes, sleep problems and memory lapses. These can be frustrating and add to your irritability. It is important to remember that all of these symptoms are a result of your hormones changing, and often these ease once you are through the menopause.
Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
Herbal remedies can be an effective solution if you suffer mood swings without being as intrusive as some conventional medicines such as HRT.If your periods have more or less stopped, use a supplement containing soya isoflavones â plant substances known as phytoestrogens because they mimic the oestrogenic hormones in your body.
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Q: Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Cope With Emotional Concerns During This Phase Of My Life
A: A healthylifestyle can help ease the menopause transition, including the followingsteps:
- Exercise and eat healthy.
- Engage in a creative outlet or hobby that givesyou a sense of achievement.
- Turn to friends, family members or aprofessional counselor for support. Stay connected with your family andcommunity. Nurture your friendships.
- Take medicines, vitamins and minerals asprescribed by your doctor.
Other Mental Symptoms Of Menopause
Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating are problems reported by some menopausal women. One study found a measurable decline in cognitive ability of others. However, these problems usually reverse when women are post-menopausal.
Emotional problems may not be as easy to see as a broken leg, or as directly diagnosed as heart disease, but they are no less painful, limiting, and potentially devastating.
Fortunately, help is available through counseling, medication, or a combination of treatments.
If menopause mood swings or emotional upheavals are interfering with a persons enjoyment of life, they should see a mental health counselor, or seek a referral from a general practitioner.
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Causes Of Mood Swings During Postmenopause
Mood swings can come and go constantly before, during, and even after menopause. Although you may wait for menopause to end for all of your symptoms to magically disperse, this is not always the case. Some women continue to feel the grip of moodiness into their 70s, long after menopause is no longer applicable. The relieving part is that the reason a woman would continue this exhausting cycle of erratic emotions is because she was not aware of the root causes. Once you know, you can address them in a positive way.
The Science Behind The Emotions
Your relationships have been built around the respected and competent woman you’ve become. To be told, or perhaps to realize that some of your adult reactions have suddenly become irrational due to hormonal changes can be challenging to accept. Its important to understand that there are many factors to help explain what youre experiencing.
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Depressed Mood Vs Clinical Depression
Many women complain of low mood or mildly depressed feelings during menopause. However, it is important to note that feeling mildly depressed or in a bad mood is not the same as having clinical depression, especially if there is a factor causing the depressed feeling. Clinical depression;refers to;chronic depressed feelings in the absence of factors that might reasonably cause one to feel sad or depressed .
What Are The Emotional Symptoms Of Menopause
Menopause is a natural process associated with hormones changes. During this stage, a womans body function starts to age, so there is a higher chance of hormonal imbalance in the body, leading to interference with sleep schedules, which causes restlessness, tiredness, and anxiety. All of these factors cause mood swings like depression, irritability, and anxiety.
- Feelings of increased stress and tension, nervousness and anxiety along with depression and melancholy
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Risks Factors Of Menopause Mood Swings
Frequent mood swings during menopause can lead to various problems. Firstly, a woman who has intense mood swings is at risk of damaging relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Secondly, these mood swings can place a woman under intense stress because she feels that her emotions are out of control.
How Hormonal Changes During Menopause Influence Your Mood
The decline in estrogen is thought to impact the way the body manages norepinephrine and serotonin, 2 substances which are responsible for causing depression. Reduced levels of estrogen cause mood swings.
Mood changes are directly associated with menopause and can take mild forms such as feeling upset or irritated, or more severe like aggression.
Feelings commonly experienced due to hormonal changes include:
- anxiety accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, and unstable breathing
- depressed or unstable mood
- discouraged confidence
- memory loss
The mood changes that happen in the menopause transition cause women considerable trauma, distress and affect their overall well-being. This also impacts other people, particularly spouses, family and colleagues with whom the woman spends a considerable amount of time.;
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How Does Menopause Affect You Emotionally
Menopause is a transitional period and one which is accompanied by a number of changes. From an emotional perspective, it signifies the end of the fertility cycle and it can cause a number of mixed emotions. Many women who go through menopause suffer from depression and anxiety. They are more irritable, nervous and have a low-tolerance to stress. It is important to be aware of such changes and get the necessary help.
The Difficult Transition Period In Mid Life
Mid-life is a time of new responsibilities to deal with growing children/adults and grown older adults; all of the stress associated with shifting roles and responsibilities paired with menopausal symptoms can lead to heighten mood swings. When you have a difficult transition time in your life, and you just hit menopause, you might face significant stress. Dealing with this stress in midlife is crucial to you as it might significantly affect your pending life.
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Create A Mood Reminder
Set up an alarm on your phone that goes off every few hours and reminds you to step back and check in with how youre feeling. Its easy to get so caught up in work and family responsibilities that your self-care falls to the wayside. If you notice that youre feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, take some deep breaths and find a way to calm yourself.
Having go-to self-care tools for these moments can be especially helpful; when youre depressed, calling a loved one or reading some positive affirmations can be helpful. Anxiety relief can come in the form of some deep breathing or a focusing exercise.
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.;
Spot Your Warning Signs
Thankfully, most bouts of anger or irritability have warning signs before they become full-blown. Identify what your signs are. A few common ones are perseverative thoughts , tense muscles, increased heart rate, and pressured speech.;When it comes to tracking triggers, this is where a journal comes in handy. After a mood episode, reflect on the situation and your triggers, making notes in your journal, to help you identify patterns and become more self-aware.
Causes Of Severe And Violent Mood Swings
There are many causes for mood swings, but among menopausal women, the primary cause is a hormonal imbalance. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are important in the production of the neurotransmitter in serotonin . During menopause, imbalanced levels of estrogen and progesterone cause serotonin levels to fluctuate, which can cause sudden and drastic mood changes. This effect can be amplified if there is a large amount of stress in your life, for example from careers, children, or elderly parents.
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Cultural Influences And Mood Changes In Menopause
The psychological changes that occur at menopause vary between women from different cultural backgrounds. These differences are thought to arise because of the different social meanings of menopause and the relative value different cultures place on younger and older female bodies.
Western cultures tend to emphasise youthful women and give them the most visible and valuable female roles in society. This can make women approaching or passing menopause feel under-valued. Similarly, cultures that emphasise fertility and womens child-bearing roles tend to undervalue post-menopausal women.
On the other hand, some cultures associate menopause with strength and wisdom, and may even attribute special powers of healing to women in the menopausal period. These cultures view menopause and ageing as natural and desirable events, reducing the apprehension women feel when they approach menopause. These societal factors are all thought to influence the extent to which women experience psychological symptoms during the menopausal transition.
The Typical Mood Swing Experience
Women often find themselves reacting to the slightest things with unexplainable anger, tears, sadness or irritability. There can be great emotional stress suffered by women because of these mood swings and often result in people around them being affected as well. Relationships suffer, and women find themselves wondering what is happening.
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What Causes And Triggers Mood Swings
During the lead up to menopause a womanâs oestrogen levels begin to drop and hormone levels begin to fluctuate like a roller coaster and it is this roller coaster like effect that causes women to experience symptoms of mood swings. Statistics from the North American Menopause Society suggests up to 23 percent of women will experience mood swings before, during and after menopause.
Evidence suggests that mood swings in menopause and peri-menopause can be attributed to hormone fluctuations which relate to a corresponding imbalance in levels of serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the nervous system which assists feelings of happiness and well â being. Serotonin helps to fight against anxiety and depression and assists feelings of hope, peace, optimism and relaxation. If the levels of serotonin are too low or too high, there will be a corresponding change to mood and emotions. Low levels of serotonin contribute to distress and high emotions, sleeplessness, anger, panic attacks, headaches, anxiety and even certain cravings. The changes to serotonin levels can be related to the changes in oestrogen levels. Not only do serotonin levels contribute to mood swings other symptoms of menopause have their own effect on mood swings.Â; Hot flushes, sleep deprivation resulting in tiredness and fatigue can contribute to these fluctuations in mood.
Panic In The Face Of Aging
Many women may panic as they begin to approach a certain age; they may be fearful of the onset of menopause and worry about what the transition will be like for them. It is completely normal to worry about getting older. Indeed, there are more aches and pains and other ailments that arise as we all get older. Know that you are not alone in how youre feeling; many women are fearful about menopause, primarily for fear of the unknown future life and aging. If you are adequately prepared to understand the upcoming changes your body will undergo in menopause, you might feel empowered to handle any situation as it arises. You can always reach out to your doctor, family or friends, or even menopause support groups. Thus, panic and uncertainty about what to expect can cause stress and mood swings.
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Natural Ways To Manage Mood Swings
Get active and find a positive, healthy way to channel any negative feelings.
Finding healthy, natural ways to cope with your mood swings will help you develop a greater emotional intelligence. For many women, menopausal mood changes are a major wake-up call that help them identify some unhealthy habits or thinking patterns theyve been living with for far too long.
You cant control your mood, but you can control how you respond to it. These are just four ways you can work through your mood swings and restore some balance to your brain during times of distress.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Just like adolescence, the hormonal storm of menopause doesnt last forever and with a little effort, you can regain control over your body and emotions. Some women go through menopause and never experience emotional ups and downs. For most of us, however, menopause requires having to re-evaluate the way we respond to others, especially the people we love. Recognizing and accepting that menopause is a major life change – one to be celebrated – is a good first step. The goal is to try to maintain a positive attitude and keep your relationships healthy and intact until you reach the end of the tunnel.;;
One last thing. Fluctuations in hormones plus external stressors can become overwhelming. It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling depressed, anxious, sad, angry, irritated, fearful, and develop coping mechanisms and seek professional help when you need it. Don’t try to ride it out alone or wait for your next checkup. Make an appointment to see your doctor and learn about treatment options. For help finding a therapist, check out the Anxiety and Depression Society of Americas Therapist Finder directory.
For more support to manage your mood swings, visit us at Lisa Health and start our Mood Boost Journey.
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How To Cope With Menopause Mood Swings
With so much going on in the body during the perimenopause that directly and indirectly affects mood, it can be hard to know where to start to make yourself feel better.
The first step is to confirm that your symptoms are caused by your ovaries becoming less responsive to the control hormones and to rule out any other medical conditions as a cause.; Female Hormone Mapping will help establish if your ovaries are less responsive by measuring all four female hormones – FSH, LH, oestrogen and progesterone – across an entire menstrual cycle.; From this we can produce an ovarian responsiveness score which, combined with symptoms, will indicate if you are perimenopausal.;;In addition, blood tests for conditions such as an over active thyroid can be carried out to rule out medical conditions.
Once you’ve got a diagnosis that the symptoms are caused by the perimenopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy should be considered as a way to rebalance oestrogen and progesterone levels to help manage the variety of symptoms experienced during perimenopause including anxiety and depression.; In addition, HRT will help protect against longer-term health issues caused by declining hormone levels such as osteoporosis.
Hormonal Causes Of Mood Swings
The hormones estrogen and progesterone play a major role in the brain’s regulation of mood and emotion. When hormone levels are naturally balanced, an individual is more likely to have appropriate emotional responses to her environment.
However, mood swings may affect a woman during periods of hormonal change, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.
During menopause, the body begins to decrease its production of reproductive hormones. This change in hormone levels disturbs the body’s natural equilibrium, which can affect a woman’s emotions and her moods.
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Everything You Need To Know About Mood Swings During Menopause
Menopause technically begins when a woman has not had a period for over one year. However, many women may experience mood swings and other menopause symptoms in the few years leading up to menopausea time known as perimenopause. The exact length of time to experience menopause symptoms varies from woman to woman. Some women may still have hormone-related mood swings up to 10 years after the point of menopause.
Lifestyle Factors & Other Perimenopause Symptoms
Lifestyle factors such as children leaving home, ageing parents and pressures at work can also contribute to stress, anxiety and low mood.
There are other life events, such as worry over elderly relatives, teenage children, and pressures from work that commonly occur around the time of menopause, that may also contribute to psychological symptoms, says Dr Currie.
Other perimenopause symptoms such as night sweats and anxiety can cause disturbed or poor sleep quality, and the inability to have a good night’s sleep can cause other changes in the body that impact mood.
A lack of sleep impacts another hormone within the body, cortisol.; Cortisol is the stress hormone and prepares our ‘fight or flight’ response.; Cortisol levels are at their highest around 9 am and decline throughout the day. However, a lack of sleep can cause cortisol levels to rise during the day upsetting the balance of what’s known as the HPA axis.;
The HPA axis is made up of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and the adrenal gland which are just above the kidneys.; It coordinates the body’s response to stress including the production of cortisol.; Sleep and stress response both share the HPA axis pathway and when the HPA axis is overactive it can disrupt sleep cycles5.; Lack of sleep further unbalances the HPA axis due to an increase in cortisol levels. Constantly high cortisol levels can also affect mood, digestion and the immune system.;
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