Mood Swings and Menopause – Real or Imagined?
One of the most commonly reported symptoms that occur during menopause is emotional turbulence, or mood swings. More than 50% of women in their 40’s and 50’s report feeling anxious or depressed at least some of the time. Based on current studies and reports, there is notable disagreement among professionals about the true cause of mood swings during menopause. Some attribute it directly to the gradual reduction in estrogen production and other hormonal imbalances. Other health professionals have suggested that external circumstances are more to blame. Stressful situations such as unstable finances, living with teenagers, body image, and an unhappy spouse can all affect how a woman behaves and feels. Regardless of the cause, there is no question that these symptoms will disrupt most women’s lives during middle age.
To make matters worse, a woman in the midst of perimenopause and menopause will experience other unpleasant symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, and a lack of libido. This can be quite unnerving to a woman’s sense of control as her physical appearance changes, weight gain in new and different areas of her body, and an unstable sleep cycle, causing physical and mental fatigue. While many of these symptoms are inevitable and the outlook looks bleak, there are many things a woman can do to counteract them.
First and foremost, it is important to take advantage of whatever support is offered from your spouse and your children, as you may need some reassurance and need to talk about what you’re feeling. A good friend who is trustworthy and who might be experiencing the same issues is also an excellent place to start. There are also support groups that consist of others who are experiencing the same feelings which are of great comfort to those in need.
An ideal way of coping is to be aware of situations that might trigger mood swings, whether highs or lows, and circumvent them before they get out of control. This is especially important in the work environment where women are very vulnerable. If you do “lose it” in an inappropriate environment, you must learn to forgive yourself and remember that no one is perfect. It is very likely your coworkers will understand.
A woman needs to pay special attention to her diet during this period of her life; some minor changes can make a great deal of difference such as eliminating processed foods and drinking more water. This is essential for clearing your system of toxins which can drag you down during the day, especially in the mid-afternoon. Fruits and vegetables will also improve your frame of mind, as will some extra fiber to keep the bowels moving regularly. A schedule that includes at least 30 minutes of exercise, meditation and/or yoga, has proven to be beneficial to alleviate the effects of mood swings. Having such a regimen will give a woman a better sense of control, and help her feel refreshed both emotionally and physically. Another positive side effect of these measures is a healthier weight, reducing the possibility of long term illnesses such as heart disease and osteoporosis.