Mood swings during menopause – causes and lifestyle solutions
What causes mood swings during menopause?
Mood swings during menopause often go hand in hand. During peri-menopause, it’s very common for mood swings to become much more extreme. For many women they will become less tolerant and may even feel mildly depressed. This article explores the causes, effects and treatments for mood swings during menopause.
The term ‘mood swing’ is often used to describe an emotional reaction that is inappropriate to its cause or trigger. This over reaction can significantly impact the lives of people around you whilst you are going through the menopause.
Studies show that serotonin levels can have an effect on mood and behaviour and is thought to help produce healthy sleeping patterns as well as boost your mood. Oestrogen plays a major role in the brain’s production of serotonin and as oestrogen levels fluctuate, the chance of mood swings and other emotional disturbances increases.
Additionally, women in their 40s and 50s, often stretched already by work and home pressures, find that fatigue, sleep problems, hot flushes and other symptoms can directly and negatively impact their mood and emotions.
Lifestyle solutions to help manage mood swings during menopause
Mood swings during menopause can be treated naturally by implementing self-help techniques and by making lifestyle changes.
1. Simple changes to your diet
- You can help improve your mood, by making changes to your daily diet and incorporating certain foods.
Avoid foods containing sugar and keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. You don’t want to consume food that will drive your sugar levels up and down as this can shock the body. When our blood sugar drops it releases cortisol and adrenaline which puts our body under stress. Foods such as white bread and even most shop bought brown breads contain sugar and should be avoided. Instead consume healthy natural fats such as avocados and nuts and also good forms of protein such as eggs, meat and fish.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines all contain Omega 3 Fats which are very good for our brain function.
- The body will convert foods which contain the Amino Acid, tryptophan, into serotonin. Foods which contain tryptophan include nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. If consumed with a healthy carbohydrate such as sweet potato you will get more tryptophan in your blood which will help your mood even more.
- Having a healthy gut means having a healthy brain and the best way to have a healthy gut is through vegetables such as leeks, garlic, artichokes, onions and cruciferous greens such as kale, rapeseed, cauliflower and broccoli.
2. Fresh air and exercise
Exercise that will lift your mood such as a Zumba or an aerobic class is an excellent remedy as is working out with friends. Try a brisk walk or light jog outside in the sunshine which will help boost your mood.
Read our fitness articles for some inspiration.
Meditation has helped many women ease through menopause, from a physiological approach by breathing properly, focusing your mind and by consciously relaxing you are able to reduce your heart-rate and keep your mind calm.
4. Herbal Remedies
Although some studies show incomplete results on the effectiveness of these remedies, some women find certain herbal supplements to be helpful when feeling low. These herbal remedies include Agnus Castus and St John’s Wort.
Please note: You should always consult a professional or your doctor before taking any supplements, and especially if you have any medical history that could contraindicate with any side effects.
If you are experiencing extreme mood swings which are impacting your life, we advise you seek professional or medical advice. Depression during menopause must be discussed with your doctor who will recommend the best course of treatment for you.
To identify and monitor your individual symptoms, why not try out our Free Menopause Symptoms Tracker™.