About Menopause

Menopause Mood Swings: Managing Mood Changes in the Big Change and Beyond

Menopausal mood swings are often one of the most challenging aspects of the menopause transition women experience. Typically beginning during perimenopause, the mood swings may feel reminiscent of prior  premenstrual syndrome mood changes with strong  swings between anxiety-ridden highs, and deeply depressing lows. This coupled with hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and vaginal dryness can create a world of discomfort during the menopausal era. But fret not! Support and relief awaits! Remember that no one is alone in this and you don't have to go through this new season without guidance. From holistic methods to the connecting with peers, Kindra is here for you each step of the way. Read on to learn more about what causes these mood changes and what options for relief are out there.

What Causes Menopause Mood Swings?

Perimenopause marks the beginning of the menopausal era. In perimenopause and throughout the duration of all the stages of menopause, both estrogen and progesterone levels begin to change. With the fluctuating of these hormones comes the side effects that are often talked about during menopause (think hot flashes, decreased sex drive, night sweats, fatigue, brain fog, and the like). Mood changes also begin to come into the picture. Estrogen is directly linked to the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that keeps our brains feeling balanced and often in a good mood. However, when estrogen levels begin to decrease, so can the production of serotonin -- leading to mood swings. 

A mood swing is easily characterized as a series of highs and lows. You may feel energized and in great spirits or even a bit anxious and irritable. This would be considered the high point of a mood swing. But you could find yourself rapidly experiencing a shift downwards in mood. Perhaps you are feeling lethargic, sad, or even depressed. This is the low point of a mood swing. What makes this such a challenging experience is the rapid fluctuation between these two states. When the frequency becomes almost daily, the changes become even more difficult. You may suddenly be crying during a sappy commercial or get overly irritated at a coworker. You may be bursting with energy only to crash an hour or two later. In between these highs and lows can be concerns over body image, difficulty concentrating, and even panic attacks. According to the North American Menopause Society, women who had severe mood swings during premenstrual syndrome are more likely to experience mood swings during the menopausal era. 

Options for Lasting Relief

When it comes to finding relief for mood swings, there are luckily quite a few options! We'll start with natural, holistic lifestyle changes that can make a lot of  difference. Don't overlook the power of herbal formulas. For example, our Core Dietary supplement is a natural, plant-powered, all-in-one formula that tackles the seven most common symptoms of menopause: mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, brain fog, disrupted sleep, and stress. This formula features a nourishing blend of Ashwagandha and Pycnogenol to naturally level out your body's natural chemicals. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. This means it naturally adapts to your body's highs and lows, softening both ends of the spectrum! It can have a bit of an antidepressant effect, in that it can help keep moods elevated, however it doesn't cause overstimulation. In a sense, it provides a floor and a ceiling to fluctuating moods. Pycnogenol is an antioxidant that is more powerful than Vitamin C. It promotes healthy blood circulation which in turn decreases hot flashes and night sweats and lowering instances of night sweats leads to better rest. Getting enough sleep is a major key in regulating mood swings.

​Speaking of rest, getting a minimum of eight hours sleep can help decrease the occurrence  of mood swings. If you find that you're struggling significantly with sleeping through the night, our Sleep Enhancing Dietary Supplement may be helpful. It has the aforementioned Ashwagandha and Pycnogenol, but it also has melatonin. Melatonin is a gentle and natural sleep support that promotes regular rest with no grogginess in the morning! 

Mindfulness and meditation has shown clinical success in helping those experiencing menopause mood changes, especially when it comes to irritability, anxiety, and depression. Try out the Calm app and see if a daily meditation practice is helpful to you. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has also shown clinical success in supporting those dealing with challenging mood symptoms during menopause. Check out Psychology Today to find a CBT-trained therapist in your area. 

Regular exercise is key during the menopause transition. When you exercise, serotonin is produced. This can help offset the naturally low levels of serotonin that may be the culprit for these mood changes. Calming, low impact exercises like yoga and tai chi are often recommended during this era of life. These activities can also help enhance your overall well-being, in mental health and beyond.  

If you find that natural remedies and psychotherapy aren’t providing the relief you need, it may be time to consult your women's health professional. Together, you can explore what may be the best solution for you. Your healthcare provider may present you with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as an option for relief. HRT can provide some relief to those experiencing mood swings, however it comes with some hefty side effects. There's an increased risk for breast cancer amongst women who opt for HRT so it isn't an option for everyone. Your women's health expert may provide you with a referral to a mental health specialist. This way you can explore  mental health-specific treatment options like low-dose antidepressants. It is worth mentioning that during this midlife transition, mental health can shift thanks to all the internal changes that are happening. A trained mental health professional can assess whether you're experiencing typical menopause mood swings or if your symptoms are correlating to an undiagnosed mood disorder. 

Building Community

Connecting with a peer group can offset some of these frustrating mental health effects. In fact, NPR recently released a podcast episode dedicated to the importance of menopausal mental health and social support - you can take a listen here. Kindra created a Facebook group for women experiencing menopausal transition to come together and foster a sense of support and community. It is a safe space to vent and seek solutions - join us! If you find that you're experiencing immediate crisis due to menopausal mood swings, don't wait to seek help. You can contact the Crisis Text Hotline by texting HOME to 741741. You can also reach out to your doctor or your loved ones for support as you find the solution that is right for you. 

Sources:

https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/menopause/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190117090449

https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause-pictures/the-best-exercises

https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/mental-health-at-menopause/depression-menopause

 

 

 

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