By: Guest Author
Published: October 7, 2020
Written by Ralph Macey -Guest Contributor
you a 50+ woman and going through the issue of irregular periods every month? If so, then no one better than you can understand the struggles and pain that menopause can cause a woman. Women normally face menopause after the age of 51 (on average in the U.S.A.) and when they are not having periods for 12 months. The years before menopause are called perimenopause.
During perimenopause, a woman might experience irregular periods, longer/heavier menstrual flow, or shorter/lighter flow than it was before. These changes are happening due to changes in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels which help to regulate the female reproductive system.
Few of the many women experience menopause without facing a severe mood disorder. But a majority of them may also go through rapid physical changes when they experience menopause, and also encounter severe emotional reactions.
Doctors don’t know exactly why a majority of women have mood swings as a symptom of menopause. But most experts believe it is caused by fluctuating hormone levels in women’s bodies. So, before initiating the treatment process of menopausal mood swings, they have to determine how severe the condition is by analyzing the symptoms and factors that can influence mood swings.
Doctors must evaluate and confirm that the mood swings are caused by menopause and not by the effects of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. Sometimes, perimenopause or menopause can also trigger depression.
As per the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), nearly 23% of women experience mood swings before, during, or after the menopausal period. Few women who are having hormonal treatment or have had their uterus removed after an operation may face symptoms of mood swings as a prime indication of their menopausal transition.
Common menopausal symptoms
Women might experience some of the emotional changes or symptoms because they undergo perimenopause or menopause issues. Those symptoms may include – mood swings, anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, dark thoughts, forgetfulness, feeling worthless, low self-esteem, loss of hope, vaginal dryness, bloating and breast soreness, hot flashes, burning mouth, insomnia, irritability, tearfulness, headache and joint pain, dizziness, aggressiveness, fatigue, diminished sex drive, digestive issues, muscle tension, itchy skin and allergies, increased body odour, hair loss, low energy, decreased libido, osteoporosis or bone density issues, etc.
Factors causing menopausal mood swings
Practically all women do not experience mood swings during menopause equally. Some women have severely experienced mood symptoms during menopause due to multiple factors. Some of the most important factors for difficult menopausal mood swings are – a history of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a history of depression, and other significant mental health problems.
A woman may also have a greater risk of emotional problems during menopause if she has some critical issues such as – if her peri-menopausal period exceeds 27 months, high levels of stress, poor physical health, unsatisfactory relationships with loved ones; especially with spouse or husband, if she is facing a difficult living situation with people around her and experiencing low self-esteem, if she has a negative body image in her mind, consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol, etc.
Cope with menopausal mood swings
The mood swings happening when a woman faces a menopausal transition may impact her quality of life and create distress. As a result, others related to the woman may also get affected, especially people who are close to that woman, such as her spouse, family members, and colleagues.
So, to cope with this change-of-life and emotions, a woman may try these tips and take control of her hormones, mood, and happiness.
The first step a woman should take to control her mood swings is becoming self-aware. Women with a history of severe depression are most likely to face mood swings during menopause or perimenopause. Some women may also have hormonal mood symptoms, such as premenstrual syndrome or postpartum depression. So, women who already experienced these issues earlier must be focused on their problems and their mood. They shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if they feel unusual mood swings.
Try to have a good night’s sleep
It might sound weird to everyone, as having a good sleep during menopause is like finding a needle in a haystack. Some severe physical symptoms such as hot flashes and increased heartbeat can disturb quality sleep.
So, what should be the solution? If a woman can find the factors that trigger insomnia, she may try to eliminate them. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can damage sleep habits, which makes a woman more emotional and moody. During menopause hormone levels are fluctuating, they may naturally create mood swings. During such situations, if a woman drinks coffee more than once a day, it will have a bigger effect on sleep habits.
Avoid having coffee or any type of caffeinated drink after lunch and before bedtime. Similarly, a woman should quit smoking too. Women must limit their alcohol consumption.
Always maintain a calm and cool environment in the bedroom and go to bed regularly at the same time. Avoid late-night movies, parties, or dinner, if possible.
Exercise daily is a must
Exercise is important not only for women facing menopause but also for women of every age. Exercising daily can help tremendously to control the effects of menopause. Proper workout can protect the heart and help people maintain a healthy weight.
It’s also an excellent stress buster. As per a recent study conducted by Penn State University, 50+ women doing 30 minutes of moderate workout daily were happier, active, and had great energy, as well as had good psychological health.
While exercising the body releases endorphins, which are called feel-good hormones, reduces pain, and triggers a positive feeling in the human brain. As a result, women experiencing mood swings due to menopause feel much more comfortable.
So women should do a few cardiac workouts such as walking, biking, running, dancing, swimming, or skating, for 30 mins daily. Apart from that, they can also try meditation or yoga to calm their minds and reduce mood swings.
Follow a healthy diet plan
It is very important to analyze what kind of food women are having during menopause. Due to this physical and hormonal change, the body of a woman becomes heavier due to weight gain. So, with proper exercise, a healthy diet can also help women to maintain their shape as well as a good mood. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat food, and less sugar can help to control weight, control diseases such as diabetes, it removes toxins from the body, and provides natural moisture to the skin. A balanced diet reduces fat, builds muscles, keeps the balance of hormones intact, and keeps the body active. As a result, women can remain fit, and their skin regains its natural glow.
A proper diet helps to stabilize mood. Fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, milk, honey, can keep the body healthy and the mind steady. Scientists don’t know for sure what the connection between mood and food is, but it can be said clearly, people who maintain a balanced diet become healthy and happy.
Talk to an expert on mental health
If a woman is having severe mood swings that are affecting her family and professional life, then she must look out for mental health treatment, from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D., president of the North American Menopause Society in Cleveland, OH, believes women shouldn’t feel ashamed to seek mental health support from a professional who has experience in helping women deal with mental health issues such as mood swings, anxiety, or depression. Women must know that they aren’t alone in this world who need professional help to get their emotional health back on track.
Opt for HRT if possible
If a woman can discuss her mood swing issues caused by menopause with her doctor, talk about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is a revolutionary treatment for women facing menopause. But, it can’t be prescribed to all women. As per studies, there are some potential health side effects of HRT, such as an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. So, only the doctor can suggest whether or not this treatment is suitable for a person.
Dealing with depression and stress
According to different research, women become more vulnerable to depression and stress when they are going through their pre- and post-menopausal years. Depression and stress can exacerbate mood swings. Light mood fluctuations are normal during menopause. But if a woman feels extremely sad, furiously angry, disturbingly annoyed, and loses interest in almost everything that she used to love, and if this continues for more than 14 – 15 days – you may need to seek help from a psychiatrist for treatment of depression, stress, and mood swings.
Women may also undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to get help with anxiety, stress, and depression. CBT can help patients identify negative or critical thought patterns. Through CBT, patients can change those thought patterns into positive ones. As a result, they can counteract negative feelings before they turn into serious matters.
Whenever a woman feels depressed or stressed, there is a possibility that she will also feel a severe mood swing. So, if such a situation arises, women should keep their calm and try to stay happy. Deep breathing exercises may help in this situation, by relaxing the body muscles and increasing the oxygen levels in the body.
Last but not the least, women should learn to say no. If a woman always tries to please everyone, she won’t get any time or energy left for herself. So, apart from your daily exercises, women should engage in different sports activities to reduce depression and stress caused by menopause.
Author Bio: Ralph Macey, a professional writer since 2008 and medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014, writes articles on mental health, depression, and anxiety. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He has provided mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.