FAQ: What is a mood swing?A: A mood swing is an often wild, exaggerated emotional response that is often inappropriate for the event that caused it. The source for these emotions is often seemingly nonexistent.
FAQ: How common are mood swings during menopause?A: Mood swings are a natural symptom of menopause, with nearly half of all menopausal women experiencing them. Although they are incredibly confusing and irritating, mood swings are an extremely common occurrence during one’s menopause.
FAQ: When do mood swings begin?A: For the women who do experience menopausal mood swings, they are most likely to develop during the period of perimenopause, the prelude to menopause in which menopausal symptoms, such as irregular periods, begin to appear.
FAQ: What does it feel like to experience a mood swing?A: Although the experience of mood swings will vary wildly from woman to woman, there are several characteristics that nearly every emotional episode has in common. Although mood swings are an incredibly common feature of menopause, some women may be comfortable consulting a healthcare professional if they are exceedingly concerned about their emotional imbalance and the symptoms it entails. Common symptoms of mood swings may include:
• Frequent or extreme changes in mood
• Inexplicable emotions
• Irritability, anger, or aggression
• Anxiety or nervousness
• Depression or sadness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Less motivation
• Lack of patience; emotional sensitivity
• Increase in stress
FAQ: What can cause a mood swing?A: A combination of many factors can cause an emotional imbalance; however, it is the loss of hormones during menopause that is thought to be the main cause of mood swings and other menopausal symptoms. Other features of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, can also cause mood swings in the already stressed menopausal woman. It also seems as though some women are more susceptible to mood swings during menopause.
A hormonal imbalance directly influences the production of important mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, a scenario that is perfect for the development of menopausal mood swings.
Q: Are certain women more prone to menopausal mood swings?A: Because there are many factors that influence the development of mood swings during menopause, some women are definitely more susceptible to emotional imbalances than others. Psychological factors, behavioral tendencies, and health related factors all can influence the development of mood swings.
• Mental illnesses, whether past or present
• Too much stress
• Traumatic events, whether past or present
• Personal relationship problems
• Trying to cope with major change
• Cigarette smoking
• Alcohol consumption
• Unhealthy diet
• Not enough exercise
• Use of drugs
• Diabetes or other similar conditions
• Early or medical menopause
• Heart disease
• Thyroid condition
FAQ: When do mood swings require professional treatment?A: Because mood swings are such a common occurrence during menopause, professional attention is likely unnecessary unless certain symptoms are exhibited. If several of the following are present during one’s mood swings, professional assistance may be warranted:
• History of psychological illnesses
• Significant disruption of normal life routines
• Serious personal relationship problems
• Extreme or frequent emotional issues
• The presence of other health conditions
• Signs of clinical depression, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorder
FAQ: What can be done to alleviate the symptoms of mood swings?A: Mood swings may leave the menopausal woman feeling hopeless and confused, however, there are some methods that can be implemented to help ease the grasp of mood swings on one’s life. Some simple modifications to one’s lifestyle that can help include:
• Stress-reducing exercises such as yoga and meditation
• An adequate amount of sleep
• Frequent exercise
• Balanced, healthy diet and appropriate foods