Perimenopause Answers

Perimenopause Mood Swings

If you've been going through this website, you have been learning the many different symptoms of perimenopause, and how each one can affect a woman's daily life. Most of these symptoms affect only the woman; symptoms like headaches, irregular periods, insomnia, hot flashes, etc. However, there is one symptom that affects more than just the woman. It also affects the people around her. This symptom is perimenopause mood swings.

What are perimenopause mood swings and what are its symptoms?

As always, the fluctuation of hormones during perimenopause can trigger mood swings. These hormonal changes affect a woman's emotional stability. As a result, the woman can go through drastic shifts in emotional state with often inappropriate causes or triggers to the abrupt changes. These fluctuations in mood are called perimenopause mood swings.

Symptoms of perimenopause mood swings include anger, irritability, lack of patience, anxiety, feelings of sadness to the point of crying, feeling nervous, and lack of motivation. The changes in a woman's mood happens frequently and can change without warning. These changes are usually attributed to the sudden increase or decrease of the hormones within her system.

When a woman has mood swings, she can be crying one minute then laughing the next, she can be really sweet and loving one minute then yelling at you the next. This is how mood swings affect more than just the woman. About 75% of perimenopuasal women will go through perimenopause mood swings.

What causes perimenopause mood swings?

The main cause for the mood swings is the fluctuation of hormones. Since estrogen influences the production of serotonin, a mood regulating neurotransmitter, the imbalance of estrogen results in an increase of serotonin receptor sensitivity, an increase in serotonin receptor levels, or an increase in serotonin production. Any of these increases can cause the mood swings.

Some women are at higher risk for perimenopause mood swings. Having a history of psychological problems or having psychological problems accompany the coming of perimenopause can heighten the chances of a woman's susceptibility to mood swings. These psychological problems include: stress, lonliness, having an introverted personality, relationship issues, past trauma, coping, and past mental illness particularly mood disorders.

Other causes of perimenopause mood swings include health problems like diabetes, heart disease, sleep disorders, use of sleeping pills or diet pills, use of SSRIs or HRTs, and excessive use of substances like nicotine, alcohol, amphetamines, and other stimulants. Sometimes a change in lifestyle or the other symptoms of perimenopause can trigger the mood swings as well.

Why should perimenopause mood swings be given attention?

Mood swings are a very serious symptom. In extreme moods, such as extreme happiness or elation (also known as mania) or extreme sadness or depression, a woman can put herself at risk or harm. In cases such as these, it is best to seek psychological help because a psychological disorder may have been triggered by the sudden increase of serotonin or its characteristics. Some psychological disorders that can be triggered by mood swings are bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and/or anxiety.

What can be done about mood swings?

If your mood swings are not extreme and have not triggered a psychological condition, you can naturally treat your mood swings through diet and exercise. First, avoid sugary foods and coffee so as to help stabilize your mood (you are trying to avoid sugar and caffeine highs and crashes.) Also, regulate your intake of starchy carbohydrates so as to regulate your levels of serotonin. At the same time, eat a lot of healthy protein or protein high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help your body's amino acid levels. Finally, hang out with friends and make it a point to do things you enjoy. This will make your brain produce oxytocin naturally, which is one of the happy hormones of the brain.

If your mood swings seem to be extreme, consult a psychologist and they can provide a treatment method or prescription medication you can follow.

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