Alright, so I knew menopause wasn’t going to be a walk through the park and I understand how my hormones are throwing my body into a tail spin. So I get why I’m having these other symptoms (hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, etc.) but what is the reason behind these blasted mood swings? One minute I’m happy (though more rarely these days), then I’m angry for no particularly good reason and the next minute I am crying. I can barely deal with it myself so it’s no wonder my husband and children are having a hard time with it. Is there a hormonal cause behind it? How can I fix it?!? Thanks in advance!
There is absolutely a hormonal cause behind mood swings; it is just as much a symptom of menopause as hot flashes are. It’s not your fault and you are not alone. There are two main causes – a double whammy.
In menopause, your hormones are fluctuating wildly. Your periods and ovulation become erratic, causing seemingly random bursts of hormones and then lows of hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. When your estrogen levels are high, it signals the production of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating and managing your moods. High levels of estrogen mean high levels of serotonin which causes emotional sensitivity. When estrogen drops, serotonin drops. Your mood swings are essentially the swing or fluctuation of estrogen and serotonin.
Secondly, add to this emotional sensitivity and hormone fluctuation the other menopause symptoms and you have a recipe for disaster. Sleep for example helps us keep our moods in check and helps us maintain rationality and composure – in short, without sleep we are grumpy! So on top of a hormonally caused sensitivity, you are adding a lack of sleep, extreme temperature variations, stress and more, it is no wonder you are cranky!
The solution comes from the cause. Your estrogen levels are causing your serotonin levels to go haywire; balance your estrogen with natural bioidentical hormone therapy and it means balance your serotonin and removing emotional sensitivity and those ups and downs. Furthermore, hormone balance will rid you of hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia and the others, and that will make for a much happier you!
Additionally, remember that exercise and a good diet will help regulate your hormones, manage your emotions and make sleep easier to come by. Start there and if that doesn’t provide satisfactory results, consider bioidentical hormones.
Oh and keep in mind that men experience a similar occurrence in andropause (the male menopause), it’s caused Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS), so tell your husband he might want to try to be a bit more understanding – what goes around comes around!
Good Luck Melissa!