If you’re a woman in your 40s or 50s and feel like you are losing your mind, chances are you’ve experiencing the physical and emotional symptoms of perimenopause. One of the most common—and most challenging—symptoms is mood swings. Sometimes they present as sheer rage. Other times, you are just more irritable. Read on to learn more about why mood swings happen during perimenopause and what you can do to manage them.
What Causes Mood Swings During Perimenopause?
There are a few different reasons why mood swings are such a common symptom of perimenopause.
First, fluctuating levels of estrogen can cause changes in the brain that affect mood. Additionally, perimenopause is accompanied by other hormonal changes in testosterone and progesterone. The hormone fluctuations are not a straight decline. In fact, sometimes estrogen can go up at times. The problem is the erratic nature of the levels declining and rising.
Insomnia can further exacerbate mood swings. Sometimes hot flashes interfere with sleep. Other times, anxiety may make sleep difficult. For some women, there is not a set cause. Regardless, not getting enough sleep leads to day time fatigue. This fatigue can cause irritability, increased depression or anxiety.
Peri-menopause starts in your forties. This is a season of life where many women are full throttle in their career. Additionally they probably still have children at home as well as aging parents. Have you heard of the “sandwich generation”. That’s you! It is a lot to have so many responsibilities at once. The mental load can take a toll on your emotional well-being and contribute to feelings of irritability or depression.
Tips for Managing Mood Swings During Perimenopause
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help manage mood swings during perimenopause. It may feel daunting to make any changes during this taxing time. However, the external stressors are not going anywhere so its up to you to change.
First, try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. This may be easier said than done, but it’s important to give your body the rest it needs. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s sleep cycle. You might also want to cut back on or eliminate caffeine and alcohol, as both can interfere with sleep.
Exercise Really Does Work
Another helpful tip is to exercise regularly. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. Even moderate exercise like walking or swimming for 30 minutes three times per week can make a difference. However, avoid working out right before bedtime as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Finally, practice stress-reduction techniques like yoga or meditation. Finding ways to relax and de-stress can help alleviate some of the emotional symptoms of perimenopause. Find your tribe. You know, other women who really support you and make a point of getting together regularly. Carve out time to read a book or watch a show you love. In other words, say no to something so you can find some time for yourself.
If you’re dealing with mood swings during perimenopause, know that you’re not alone. Millions of women experience this symptom every year. While mood swings can be challenging to deal with, there are things you can do to help manage them. Try getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, exercising regularly, and practicing stress-reduction techniques like yoga or meditation. If you find that your mood swings are interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor about treatment options such as hormone therapy or antidepressants.
Are you in the Baltimore, Maryland area? Join us for an afternoon of information and fellowship. Nurtured Well teamed up with Perissos Therapy to offer a Perimenopause Workshop on February 5, 2023. Register now while spaces are available.