Mood Swings and Menopause

By CMCarr

There are dozens of roller coasters around the world named Boomerang.

There are also roller coasters named Mind Eraser, Rita-Queen of Speed, Sky Princess, and my personal favorite, Big Looping Coaster.

Big Looping Coaster

Perimenopause should be renamed the Big Looping Coaster based simply on the fact women can experience up to 10 moods in a single hour.

You read that correctly: 10 moods in ONE HOUR!

Mood Defined

Merriam-Webster defines MOOD as ‘a conscious state of mind or predominant emotion.’ defines MOOD as ‘a state or quality of feeling at a particular time.

It’s easy to ridicule the mood swings that accompany hormonal changes when it’s happening to others.

It’s not so funny when you’re the one riding the Big Looping Coaster.

Mood Swings and Hormones

The levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate and fall as a woman enters perimenopause, which occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age of menopause being 51.

This causes a variety of symptoms, including irregular periods, hot flushes, and vaginal dryness; however, roughly a quarter of women may experience mild to severe mood swings.

Some women are more affected by their bodies’ hormones, although it’s unknown why some people are more sensitive to their hormones than others.

Hormones and the Brain

This sensitivity has a variety of effects on the body, including the neurotransmitters in the brain.

Mood swings aren’t a figment of the woman’s imagination.

Hormonal alterations cause an actual physiological change in the brain.

Women who have had severe PMS or clinical depression before to perimenopause are more likely to develop mood swings or depression at this time.

Other events that occur at this time of life can potentially exacerbate the problem.

For example, if fluctuating hormones cause hot flushes (which 75 percent of women experience), you can have difficulties sleeping at night, which can contribute to a melancholy, tense, or nervous mood.

Workplace stressors, as well as situations with adolescent or adult children and elderly parents, can exacerbate anxiety, anger, and melancholy.

Keep in mind that some symptoms of menopause can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as excessive or inadequate thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) or sleep deprivation.

Mood Swings and Sleep Deprivation

Women who lead a sleep-deprived lifestyle or who experience vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats are more likely to develop a mood disorder as a result of sleep deprivation.

Sleep disturbances are more likely after the age of 40.

Sleep disruption or a sleep problem alters your mood.

Mood Swings and Depression

You are also more prone to experience mood difficulties during your menopausal years if you have a history of serious depression.

If you’ve already taken antidepressants or been diagnosed with a depressive disorder, the menopause years may bring on a new attack of depression.

If you feel that your mood is deteriorating again, seek help as soon as possible to avoid the onset of depression.

That’s why your doctor should be your first port of call if you’re experiencing extreme mood swings.

You and your doctor will have all the information you need after a comprehensive physical exam to safely address all of your problems.

Back to the Roller Coaster

When my oldest daughter started middle school the principal told parents, “Your child is about to embark on a hormonal roller coaster. Whatever you do, DO NOT get on the roller coaster with them!”

On difficult days parents would text one another, ‘I got on the roller coaster with my kid.’

Now I’m fairly sure if I checked my children’s phones I’d see similar text messages, only in reverse: ‘I got on the roller coaster with Mom.’

On second thought, maybe there’s an upside to this ride after all.

mySysters is an app for women in perimenopause and menopause.

Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day named mySysters the Best App for Women in Perimenopause and a Must Have App for Women.

The preceding information does not constitute medical advice or treatment.