When you thought the physical symptoms of menopause were enough to make the transition into the next stage of female sexuality more complicated than it needs to be, mood swings and emotional changes enter from stage left.
While it is common for most people to associate physical symptoms like hot flashes and flushing with this time of transition, mood swings during menopause are also prevalent symptoms.
As every woman experiences aging and menopause differently, the severity of an individual’s mood swings and emotional stability is subjective and personal, making it more difficult for those with severe symptoms to get the adequate level of care they need without strongly advocating for themselves.
Looking to provide education and support to all women entering menopause, we created this resource to deep dive into the complexities of menopausal mood swings.
This article explores some of the most critical questions about this condition, from “can menopause cause mood swings?” to “what can I do to regulate my mood during my transition better?”
We hope this article is a helpful resource for anyone struggling with their mood as they transition into menopause — because no one should have to go through these changes without the support and compassionate care.
Menopausal hormone changes impact the entire body (including the brain)
Menopause is not just a condition of the female reproductive system — it is something that affects the whole body.
As a woman enters menopause, the natural amount of estrogen (the primary female sex hormone) decreases.
When estrogen decreases, many areas of the body can be affected, and symptoms can develop, from vaginal dryness and irritation to sleep disturbances, slowing of the metabolism, and possible emotional irregularity.
But, it is important to note that not all symptoms of menopause can be seen or felt physically. Mood disturbances, often described as a depressed mood, stress anxiety, or a decreased sense of overall well-being, are genuine symptoms of menopause that are often hard for women to express or explain.
Unfortunately, due to these symptoms, it is very easy for these feelings to be overlooked as “normal” or even used as an excuse to blame women for their behaviors and emotions.
With this in mind, education about the most common symptoms and how to advocate for yourself if you begin to experience these feelings is essential in ensuring that women get the correct level of care they need to reduce the severity of their emotional symptoms during this time.
Signs of menopausal mood swings
Emotions and feelings are already a very personalized experience — so it should be no surprise that menopausal mood swing symptoms are also specific to the individual.
Varying in duration, intensity, and timing, knowing which feelings are being brought on by menopausal hormone changes is not always a black and white situation.
While it is not possible to definitively define what constitutes the actual symptoms of menopausal mood disturbances, signs that you may be experiencing mood swings during menopause include:
- Increased irritability — If you notice that you are quickly becoming frustrated or have a shorter than usual temper with your friends, family, or even yourself, this may be a sign that you are experiencing menopausal mood swings.
- Lack of motivation — Having a lower mood, less energy, or less drive to complete your everyday tasks is also a common experience felt by women with menopausal mood swings. If these feelings persist and interfere with your day-to-day routines, we suggest speaking with your doctor about possible treatment options for better managing lower moods.
- Increased anxiety — It is not uncommon for women to experience more significant stress and anxiety as they enter menopause. Like the treatment for having a low mood, if you notice that your anxiety symptoms prevent you from participating in daily activities, we recommend speaking with your primary care provider for additional support.
- Feeling not like yourself — Often harder to explain, if you have been feeling “off” or not like yourself, it is possible that these feelings are being brought on by hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Other sources of stress also play a role in developing mood swings
As the easy scapegoat for negative feelings, menopause is likely not the only emotion-filled event happening in your life when you enter middle age.
From work challenges making you more fatigued, children leaving home for the first time leading to feelings of loneliness, and even the ever-changing state of the world causing plenty of stress, many other factors can be underlying reasons for your change in mood and emotions.
Regardless of the causes of your mood swings, it is essential to know that you can take steps to reduce the extent to which they interfere with your daily activities.
While different women benefit from other treatment options, some common examples of at-home treatments for mood swings during menopause include:
- Making diet changes to include more nutritious foods
- Practicing mindful meditation and self check-ins
- Partaking in daily exercise that you enjoy
- Getting outside and seeing friends and family
- Taking time for yourself to participate in hobbies
Suppose you or those nearest to you are still noticing significant changes in your mood despite trying these at-home options. In that case, we recommend speaking with your primary care provider for additional support.
Depending on your unique needs, they may prescribe other mood-supportive treatment options like medications or psychotherapy that can make the transition into menopause a less stressful and emotional experience.
You aren’t alone in age-related mood changes.
Mood swings and emotional disturbances are a natural part of aging and menopause — but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer through these symptoms without support.
While these mood changes are deeply connected to our hormones, it is vital to approach handling these changes holistically to ensure that you tackle them in the best way possible.
From at-home changes to seeking medical attention and support for your mood, options are available to reduce the severity of any mood swings during menopause.
Access to education, resources, and support are essential first steps to getting the care you deserve.
At Fit4100, we strive to be your go-to place for high-quality educational resources about menopause, aging, and everything in between.
We strongly believe that all women deserve access to supportive and easy-to-understand resources about their transition into the next chapter of their lives.
Do you want to learn more about menopause and the natural progression of aging in women? Read more educational and supportive articles on our blog to gain more information about this critical topic, anytime, anywhere.