You may be familar with PMS mood swings, but they’re a perimenopause symptom, too. Here’s what to look out for—and how to navigate them with natural remedies.
Maybe you’re feeling irritable, like everyone around you is doing everything in their power just to annoy you. Maybe you’re feeling incredibly low energy, even about things that usually make you excited. Maybe you’re tearful; maybe you’re temperamental. Whatever you’re feeling, you’re not alone—and perimenopause mood swings might be to blame.
If you’re in your early 40s (or a bit earlier or later) and experiencing mood changes that don’t correspond with your menstrual cycle, you might be dealing with perimenopause mood swings. This symptom—one of what can be many
horrible perimenopause symptoms—often happens because of the hormonal changes during perimenopause. Here’s what you need to know about perimenopause mood swings and how to find relief. What are perimenopause mood swings?
Perimenopause mood swings are sudden changes in how you’re feeling emotionally and your mental state. While mood changes are common with premenstrual symptoms (PMS), perimenopause mood swings happen specifically during the menopausal transition, and may not correspond with specific parts of the menstrual cycle.
These mood swings can feel different from one person to the next, but they’re often described as a rollercoaster of emotions. Common symptoms of perimenopause mood swings include:
Irritability and frustration: Small annoyances can feel overwhelming and patience may wear thin. You may feel more irritable about situations that wouldn’t have bothered you as much before. Sadness and tearfulness: Unexplained bouts of sadness are not uncommon. You may feel down or like crying more often without a clear trigger. Difficulty concentrating: You may find it challenging to focus on tasks and experience forgetfulness. If you feel a lack of mental clarity, you might be experiencing perimenopause brain fog. Fatigue: The emotional tool of mood swings can make you feel low energy and tired. Sleep disturbances, another common perimenopausal symptom, can further exacerbate these feelings. Mood disorders may also arise during this time. Studies have shown that women are two to four times more likely to experience depression during perimenopause, even without a prior relevant history. Some women might experience perimenopause anxiety, or heightened feelings of fear and What hormones are to blame?
During perimenopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decline.
Estrogen specifically can have a large impact on mood; the hormone influences serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain, two neurotransmitters that play key roles in mood regulation. When estrogen levels decline, they can influence how much these neurotransmitters are produced, leading to mood swings, irritability, and even feelings of sadness. What else causes perimenopause mood swings?
While hormonal fluctuations are a main cause of perimenopause mood swings, the physical and neural symptoms that come from these fluctuations can exacerbate mood swings.
Perimenopausal women may experience hot flashes and night sweats, both of which can contribute to insomnia and poor quality of sleep. These sleep disturbances can make women irritable, frustrated, and susceptible to mood swings.
Hormone changes during perimenopause also can affect
brain structure and function. These changes can affect neurotransmitter activity, neural pathways, and even the responsiveness of the brain to emotional stimuli—all of which can affect things like mood regulation and emotional reactions. Perimenopause mood swings treatment
Treatment for perimenopause mood swings involves both getting to the source of the mood swings—hormone fluctuations—and lifestyle changes and natural remedies that help navigate symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT aims to restore the hormonal balance that is often disrupted during perimenopause. This treatment is for women experiencing severe mood swings and may be considered under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Natural remedies for perimenopause mood swings
Natural remedies for perimenopause mood swings consist of various lifestyle changes and therapeutic practices:
Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can release endorphins, alleviate stress, and contribute to emotional resilience. Balanced nutrition: A well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can boost your mood and energy levels. Eating high consumption of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes is even associated with a reduced risk of depression. Herbal remedies: Some women may find relief through herbal remedies like St. John’s Wort, which has been shown to alleviate mild to moderate depressive symptoms, and black cohosh, which can help manage hot flashes and mood swings. All herbal remedies should be taken with the guidance of a medical professional. Supportive therapies: Seeking support through counseling or therapy can help women share emotional experiences and get insights into coping strategies. Perimenopause mood swings: the bottom line
Perimenopause mood swings can be frustrating, confusing, and have you feeling emotionally all over the place. This is a completely normal symptom that comes with this transition period—often caused by perimenopause hormonal fluctuations or other perimenopause symptoms.
If you’re experiencing perimenopause mood swings, you’re not alone, and there are many strategies for navigating this symptom. Whether you’re interested in HRT or more natural perimenopause mood swings remedies like exercise or supportive therapy, there are tons of ways to take back control of your emotions and come out the other side feeling much, much more balanced.