Menopause is a trying time for any woman. From the hot flashes, to lethargy, there isn’t much to look forward to during this period of time.
But that’s not all; often mood swings are a common accompaniment, and can turn a day from barely getting by to unbearable. Given, there are triggers that make mood swings more likely to occur, or more severe. But in that same vein, there are things you can do to help manage this unpleasant symptom and make your suffering less difficult.
Common Causes Of Mood Swings During Menopause
Lack Of Sleep
Sleep is notoriously difficult to achieve while going through menopause, for one reason or another, but often as a result of hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night. After a period of time, women may become apprehensive of going to sleep, especially when they almost certainly know they will have to make one or more unscheduled wake up calls throughout the night.
However, not sleeping is not the answer. In reality, the hot flashes occur whether or not you are sleeping, but it is more noticeable to be woken up from them. Plus, not sleeping sufficiently during the night only causes great irritability during the day, playing right into the hands of mood swings.
The Fix: sleep. Just do it. Yes, you may wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot and drenched, but go back to sleep as fast as you can.
Also, try using fans, or an air-conditioner to help keep you cool through the night. Use sheets made of a cool material, such as cotton, there are also cooking blankets being sold on the market that are made to keep your body cool
Diet High In The Wrong Foods
The first food that comes to mind when talking about wrong choices should be sugar laden ones. This would be a correct assumption, as sugar is notorious for causing drastic mood swings regardless of your age.
This is compounded during menopause, however since unstable blood glucose levels coupled with fluctuating and diminishing estrogen levels make for a perfect storm. Hell hath no fury like a menopausal woman craving sugar! But sugar is far from the only culprit.
Caffeine heavy beverages/foods are also to blame, as they cause an adrenal energy crash 1-2 hours following consumption, which dictates taking more or becoming volatile.
The Fix: consume whole foods that offer slower digesting carbohydrates, which keep blood sugar levels steady much longer. Stable blood sugar equates to lessened tendency to go crazy with hunger pangs. Caffeine, should at a maximum be limited to breakfast only.
The Hormonal Connection
This is the typical “spark plug” that ignites mood swings on a far more frequent basis. Unknown to many, estrogen plays a part in influencing the synthesis of serotonin, which is one of the primary brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) responsible for maintaining balanced mood.
This diminished production of serotonin results in enhanced depressive states, as well as inability to process pleasure.
The Fix: this is tough to address with a one-size fits all approach. For example, some women employ the use of hormone replacement therapy, which is effectively as estrogen (and optional progesterone pill) which reduces the severity of menopausal symptoms by acting as the body’s natural hormone would.
If a woman does not opt for HRT, however, she may need to rely on foods, such as soy-based products, which are known to have an estrogen mimicking action.
There are other factors that contribute to the occurrence of mood swings, such as stress and the use of certain medications. The ones mentioned above are the most frequent causes, and the ones which can lead to greatest ease of symptoms by addressing them.
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
I believe Yoga is for everyone.