Mood changes and the menopause
Menopause can be a rollercoaster of emotions for some women – one minute you're feeling upbeat and the next you can feel quite down. You may find loved ones are more annoying than usual or you may become irritated and fly off the handle into a rage over the smallest of things. Your emotions may be so out of sorts that you may not know whether you should be sad or angry: this of course will make you feel like you are going mad. These types of symptoms are experienced by more than 50% of women as they approach menopause.
Mood changes can be frustrating not only for you but for all those around you. When exploring treatments, you might want to begin with methods that are likely to have the least side effects. Fortunately there are ways to manage mood changes: they do not need to rule your life. Small achievable changes could make a big difference to how you feel during this time. Firstly, there are a couple of simple things you can try to help you feel better, such as acknowledging you may be having a mood swing and putting stressful situations on hold until you are better equipped to deal with them. Lifestyle and alternative therapies can also help reduce mood changes.
Making lifestyle changes is not always easy and whilst these changes can help alleviate mood changes, they do not address the problem directly at a medical level and so further treatment may be necessary.
Alternative therapies involve little or no risk and can be extremely effective in managing mood changes.
Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture can provide relief from stress and help lift your mood.
Some women find that herbal supplements are an alternative treatment, however there is limited evidence for the effectivenessicacy of this type of treatment. As with any treatments it is dependent on the individual, you may find things such as St.Johns wart help improve mood, however it is always advisable to consult your GP when looking at the decision making process with regards to taking supplements.
Lifestyle changes combined with alternative therapies may be a good combination to help manage mood changes. However, for some women if the symptoms are more severe, a more intensive treatment may be necessary such Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). If you are considering the HRT option you should speak to your doctor for guidance.
You may wish to speak to others about your mood changes, perhaps friends or join a support group or consult your doctor. This in turn may help you understand and accept the symptoms, giving you the support to deal with the mood changes. Spending time with loved ones can also boost levels of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone , that counteracts mood imbalance.
- Not all women report feeling negative effects of the menopause, instead seeing it as a transitional phase centering around reflection, inspiration and a phase of personal growth. Themes that are common to those experiencing it in this way are
- Thinking positively about the experience: for example keeping a diary of things that happen each day that bring a sense of enjoyment
- Laughing often: taking part in activities that make us laugh can help us feel closer to others and stimulate the immune system
- Taking time out for yourself: even if this is for fifteen minutes each day it may help you feel less stressed
- Staying connected: social support is important to help us share experiences and have others to go to in times of need
- Living in the moment: when we live in the moment this can reduce anxiety levels worrying about past or future events. Being mindful of what you are doing at each point in time can often help us feel relaxed and better able to manage mood changes.
Sources used in writing this article are available on request
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. Our evidence based articles are accredited by the PIF TICK, the only UK quality mark for trustworthy health information. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 20 May 2014
Next review: 20 May 2017