X

Mood Swings: Symptoms, Cause, Risks Factors, Treatments and More

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

What Are Mood Swings?

Mood swings occur when there is a rapid and extreme mood change. This is usually not an issue if it motivates an individual to solve the problem at hand. But in situations when the mood swings are disruptive to normal life and affect family and/or colleagues, then an individual may have to seek medical attention.

Mood Swings and Menopause

During menopause, most women (up to 90%) experience mood swings varying in intensity. These mood swings can affect quality of life and make it difficult for the woman to perform regular tasks and communicate with others effectively.

Symptoms of Mood Swings

There are various symptoms that are directly linked to mood swings during menopause.

Depression:

A woman in menopause or perimenopause who is suffering from mood swings often has to deal with depression as well. During this time a woman often feels that because of the time of life that she is in, she needs to have accomplished a certain number of things. As she looks back on her life, she feels that she falls short of where she should be at the moment. This brings on an intense feeling of depression, which can affect her quality of life and the way she relates to those closest to her.

Frequent Mood Changes:

Frequent mood changes during menopause are a common occurrence. As someone once said, menopause is like premenstrual syndrome (PMS) on steroids. During child-bearing years, women experience mood changes during PMS. However, these are nothing compared to the severity and frequency of mood changes during menopause. The shift from happy to sad or furiously anger takes just seconds, and sometimes it is not known what triggers this.

Edginess:

A menopausal woman who experiences mood swings tends to feel edgy most of the time. This is because she sometimes feels that she is not in control* of her emotions. Hence, she does not know when and what will trigger an angry outburst, and bring hurt to her family.

Unexplainable Emotions:

When a woman goes through menopause and has frequent and severe mood swings, it is difficult for her to explain her emotions. Because she has never experienced such intense emotions which are triggered by seemingly inconsequential events, it is difficult for her to make sense of what she is going through, let alone provide an explanation to someone else. The tide of emotions swings back and forth regularly, and makes it difficult to lead a normal life.

Anger:

Feelings of anger often accompany mood swings during menopause. This anger is usually intense and occurs suddenly, without any prior notice. This is especially difficult to handle for women who have been complacent and even tempered all their lives. A woman suffering from these bouts of anger usually takes it out on those closest to her.

Sadness:

Feelings of sadness often overwhelm women who are experiencing mood swings during menopause. These sad feelings are brought about by the woman’s outlook on life and her perception of where she should be at this point in her life. She feels that she has not accomplished as much as she would like, and usually this is the time of life when her children are leaving home further exacerbating her feelings of sadness.

Intolerance:

Intolerance occurs during menopause when a woman easily loses her patience because of the actions (or lack thereof) of others. This is often accompanied by a loss of temper, anger and irritability.

Lack of Motivation:

Motivation is what drives us to do the activities we have set out for the day. A woman who lacks motivation during menopause does not want to take up the various activities that she has to do. This could include cooking, cleaning, or even activities related to her job. The lack of motivation can also extend to activities with her family and friends, as well as recreational activities that she normally enjoyed prior to menopause.

Extreme Moods:

Extreme moods that change often and without notice are usually a symptom of menopause. These can make it difficult for a woman to relate well with colleagues and family who are in contact with her on a daily basis.

Impatience:

A woman who experiences frequent mood swings is prone to being impatient, more especially with those closest to her. It is difficult for her to wait for people who are slower than she expects them to be, and it is also difficult to explain concepts to someone who does not understand.

Irritability:

Mood swings are also accompanied by irritability, a condition where a woman is overly sensitive to her environment and quickly responds in angry outbursts.

Aggression:

Aggression is usually an unprovoked attack or hostility directed at other people. Because a woman going through menopause is irritable and impatient, she is often aggressive as well.

Anxiety:

A menopausal woman experiencing mood swings may be frustrated because she cannot seem to be able to control* her anger. Because she is aggressive to those she cares about, she may begin to feel anxious about her uncontrollable condition that is hurting those dear to her.

Decreased* Patience:

During menopause, a woman suffering from frequent mood swings is usually low on patience. She may find it difficult to do normal activities that require time and patience – activities that she may have enjoyed prior to menopause.

Nervousness:

Nervousness comes about because a woman experiencing frequent mood swings does not know when she will lose* her temper again. She is nervous because she does not want to be the source of pain for her family, and is worried about when her mood will change again.

Melancholy:

A menopausal woman suffering from mood swings may also become melancholic – a condition where she is depressed and mournful, in a gloomy and depressed state of mind.

Increased Stress:

Stress levels during menopause usually rise because a woman is unhappy with the changes happening in her body and in her life. She may find it difficult to handle the changes in her physical wellbeing, emotional stability and mental outlook. She may also be struggling with life changes that are taking place at the same time, thereby increasing* her stress levels.

Does Menopause Cause Mood Swings?

Menopause does affect a woman’s moods. Lower estrogen levels during this time period are blamed for this. This is actually a normal part of menopause.

Are Mood Swings a Common Occurrence for Women in Menopause?

Mood swings are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, with up to 90% of women experiencing them. It is probably the most widespread menopausal symptom, cutting across different races and cultures.

Risks Factors of Menopause Mood Swings

Frequent mood swings during menopause can lead to various problems. Firstly, a woman who has intense mood swings is at risk of damaging relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Secondly, these mood swings can place a woman under intense stress because she feels that her emotions are out of control*.

How Can I Minimize Mood Swings?

In order to minimize mood swings, a woman should make sure those closest to her are informed about her condition and know how to assist her when she has a mood swing. She should also avoid known triggers for her mood swings. A healthy lifestyle will also go a long way in making her patient and tolerant.

How to Manage Menopause Mood Swings?

In order to manage mood swings during menopause, it is important to avoid or control* the risk factors that could make the mood swings worse. For example, certain behavioral activities like lack of sleep, smoking, imbalanced diet and high levels of sugar, caffeine and alcohol in the diet should be avoided.

Treatments for Menopause Mood Swings

Treatment of mood swings during menopause fall into three categories: changes in lifestyle, natural medicines and drugs. A woman should try lifestyle changes first, as this has no side effects. If this does not work, then natural remedies like Vitamin E and ginseng can be taken before attempting medicinal drugs as a last option.