What Is a Mood Swing?

As your body transitions into menopause, hormones in your body are fluctuating. As a result, according to the North American Menopause Society, roughly 23% of women experience mood swings during this time. Put simply, a mood swing is any extremely rapid change in mood, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. While mood swings are one of the many inconveniences that are typically caused by menopause, understanding why they occur and how you can prevent them will allow you to better handle the experience.

If you are dealing with long-term depression or anxiety, especially during perimenopause, make sure to see your doctor and ask about PMDD. PMDD is a premenstrual disorder that can cause long-term mood swings and depression.

What Causes Mood Swings During Menopause?

While many women go through menopause without experiencing any major changes in mood, some studies have shown that menopause is linked to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Declining levels of estrogen during menopause can cause a host of less than pleasant symptoms, from hot flashes to feeling like you’re in a constant state of PMS. The hormone estrogen has the power to regulate your levels of serotonin, which is a hormone associated with positive feelings.

In addition to changes in mood, decreasing levels of estrogen associated with menopause can also cause night sweats, hot flashes, and headaches. These symptoms may lead to insomnia, which is also linked to symptoms of mood swings and depression. For some women, Relizen provides much needed and night sweats, which can in turn help relieve mood swings as a symptom of insomnia.

How to Stop a Mood Swing Before It Begins

There are many natural ways to prevent mood swings. The best way is to take preventive methods before you feel a mood swing coming on. It may be a good idea to keep a journal in order to monitor your moods, and to track certain triggers that may cause a decline in mood.

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can help improve your overall mood. This Everyday Health article on menopause and mood swings cites a study that found people who ate more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins reporting fewer depressive symptoms. Healthy carbohydrates and good sugars can give your body more energy to help you manage the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Try to incorporate healthy recipes that are heavy in fruits and vegetables into your weekly meal plan, too.

What to Do When You’re Experiencing a Mood Swing

You can take all of the preliminary cautions to prevent a mood swing, but occasionally, one might sneak up on you—that’s completely normal. When you find yourself in a slump or a moment of intense anxiety, step back from whatever you’re doing. Carve out time to go for a walk or run, as the endorphins released during exercise may help you to feel more balanced.

Have a plan ready. That plan could include calling a friend to chat, having a cup of tea, doing breathing exercises, or practicing yoga. Once you feel that your mood has returned to normal, take note of any triggers that may have caused the mood swing, and do what you can to avoid them in the future.

If you experience mood swings or depressive episodes that don’t subside after a few days, be sure to check in with your doctor. Your health care provider should be able to assist you in creating a plan that works for you in order to sail through your mood swings with grace and ease. Go easy on yourself—mood swings are a natural part of menopause. Sometimes, self-care techniques like a good nap or a chunk of dark chocolate are all it takes to help improve your mood.

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