As women, we have some unique things to deal with as we age. Not only do we stress about our appearance, get fewer hours of sleep, and have trouble losing weight—we have to deal with menopause. Menopause starts to affect women around age 50, but it can start as soon as your early 40s. It’s inevitable and rather than try to fight it, we believe you should embrace it. However, there are some problematic symptoms of menopause that can cause you to want to pull your hair out. Menopause can bring about many different symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, migraines, sleep disturbances, and even sexual changes. But one of the most common symptoms of menopause that women come to see me for is mood swings.
Mood swings are difficult to deal with on a good day, let alone when you’re going through a major physical change. They manifest in a number of different ways, but most commonly appear as irritability, decreased patience, feeling more emotional than usual over small things, depression, and anxiety. This is difficult for women. You’ll feel the changes occurring in your body, yet you don’t feel like you have any control over what’s happening. Another frustrating physical change that occurs during menopause is weight gain, regardless of how healthy you’re eating or how much you’re exercising. This is even more discouraging and can lead to feelings of depression or frustration.
Sexual changes from menopause are one of the more apparent changes that contribute to mood swings. These changes may make you feel less attractive, but they can also reduce your libido and/or produce vaginal dryness. This is due to a dramatic decrease in the production of women’s sex hormone, estrogen.
Estrogen has a close relationship with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved in mood stability. Estrogen increases serotonin levels, leading to a healthy emotional state. When estrogen starts to decline, there may also be a decline in serotonin, which leads to the inevitable mood swings. Low estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone can lead to low confidence, more anxiety, depression, reduced optimism, and an increase in mood swings.
When this occurs, a lot of women start to doubt themselves and their self-worth in their marriage or relationship, which then in turn contributes to more mood swings. It may feel like a lose-lose situation, but understanding what you’re going through will help you find a solution while maintaining healthy communication with your partner.
The health of the adrenal glands also affects the severity of mood swings. Since the adrenal glands are in charge of blood pressure regulation, sugar metabolism, and the stress response, when they’re stressed or drained, it can manifest in mood swings. If you drain your reserves and have adrenal fatigue due to a prolonged stressful lifestyle, it will contribute to your feeling exhausted and stressed.
If mood swings start to become an issue in your family life and marriage, you may start to experience more interpersonal conflicts. Although irritability and low patience can be evident to the people around you, the cause of the mood swings themselves often affect you abruptly and without notice. Mood swings then lead to guilt because you may feel like you should be more in control of your emotions. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself, though. As long as you communicate with your loved ones, they’ll understand. This is a difficult time, but every woman experiences it.
If you are struggling with mood swings and menopause, contact Atlas Health Medical Group today. We have naturopathic medical care to help and, if you’re a good candidate, hormone replacement therapy.