How to Regain Your Emotional Balance

Menopause mood swings plaque a lot of women. Sadness, irritability and doom are followed by feelings of contentment and happiness.  A short while later it is all gloom and doom again. Women feel like they are out of control and don’t understand what is happening. The reason for the mood swings is the fluctuation in estrogen during the menopause transition, which makes perimenopause mood swings especially frequent. (BTW: Mood swings are also a PMS symptom for the same hormonal reason).

During perimenopause your body is fighting the hormonal changes which lead to wild fluctuations of estrogen. Estrogen levels affect the neurotransmitters in your brain. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin which regulates your mood.  Additional issues, such as stress, bad eating habits or negative life events also contribute to menopause mood swings.

Mood and emotional problems in women are sometimes difficult to diagnose because of the hormone component.  But know that you know what causes your irritability and emotional imbalance, what can you do to get better?

Treatment options range from herbal supplements, hormone treatment, drug therapy and psychotherapy. Depending on the severity of your symptoms a combination of these approaches can be your best course of action.

The best herbs for mood swings are:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Ashwaganda
  • Passionflower
  • Valerian
  • Licorice Root

Licorice Root is very beneficial for women in menopause because it give several benefits. It regulates your estrogen levels because of the phytoestrogens (plant estrogen), benefits the neurotransmitters and also help to fight stress (functions as an adaptogen). Licorice root can have some negative side effects so make sure that you don’t go over the recommended dose.

Perimenopause mood swings are often treated with birth control pills, especially in women who develop heavy menstrual periods during the menopause transition. 

Women who are at a later stage of the transition will benefit from hormone therapy, especially estrogen replacement. Hormone therapy is safe if it is done for a shot period (1-5 years) in the lowest effective dose for your symptoms.

To support any therapy for your menopause mood swings, consider some supporting treatments. Omega-3 fatty acids (as found in fish oil) is a essential raw material for the proper function of your cells and neurotransmitters. The B vitamins, some of the trace minerals, calcium and vitamin D are also beneficial to regulate your mood.

Avoid highly refined carbohydrates (i.e. sugar, white flour etc) so you don’t get the blood sugar spikes which increased irritability. When your blood sugar drops, you not only develop sugar cravings, you also feel a negative impact on your mood.

It is also beneficial to learn relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to lower your stress level. Stress has a very negative effect on your overall health and you emotions. 

When the mood swings are severe and hormone therapy alone does not help, consider the help of a specialist in women’s mood disorders for medication to treat your symptoms. (You can find these specialists in most major university hospitals.)  Treatment with this kind of medication is tricky because only after the proper diagnosis is made can the correct kind of medication be selected. If you take the wrong kind (i.e. SSRIs) and your brain chemistry reacts negatively, the side effects can be worse than the original symptoms.

Mood swings and depression can be indications of treatable illnesses. If you feel that your symptoms negatively impact your daily functioning, if you find that you make bad judgments, or if you have thoughts of harming yourself, get help immediately. Clinical depression and bipolar disorder are severe diseases that are treatable with the proper medication.

Your menopause mood swings are usually getting better after your hormones stabilize. But what woman wants to suffer for several years? Your friends and family will thank you if you treat your menopause mood swings and become again “more you”.