One of the least expected symptoms of menopause are mood swings. From depression to anxiety, moods can fly all over the place from one moment to the next. For women who have a hysterectomy, the mood swings can be even more sudden and life changing. The most common question is why are moods affected by reproductive hormone levels?
Hormones, Mood, and Menopause
Estrogen and progesterone, the two most recognizable reproductive hormones are no longer needed once egg supplies are gone and the body is in menopause. During natural menopause, hormone levels gradually reduce over time which makes mood swings a bit easier to handle, but severe swings can still happen for some women.
Estrogen is responsible for more than reproduction. Serotonin, a chemical in the brain that controls mood, is also regulated by estrogen. When estrogen levels drop, so may serotonin levels and thus moods can be all over the place.
Experts do not always agree on the estrogen / serotonin link. Some believe mood swings are associated with mental changes during menopause. Menopause signals the end of reproductive years and for some women, this could mean feeling less like a woman.
Menopause Symptoms and Mood
A woman in menopause is bound to suffer from hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. Exhaustion, irritation, dry skin, no libido, and vaginal dryness and irritation are just a few other common symptoms. With all these changes, there is bound to be some emotional effect on a woman suffering from menopause.
There is a clear difference between menopause and postmenopause. Menopause is a learning phase of life like a transition to another chapter. During the transition, which can take years for women with all female organs intact, mood will likely be affected by many menopause symptoms.
Fighting the Mood Monster and Winning
Living in a constant state of mood fluctuation can leave relationships strained. Women do not have to suffer day in and day out from constant mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can supply estrogen and progesterone to help regulate mood. Even if HRT is only taken for a short period, mood balance can result giving a woman some time to decide on the next step of menopause therapy.
You are not alone. Nearly every woman in menopause will suffer from mild to severe mood swings at some time. Severe mood swings may required treatment from a psychological or mental professional until hormone levels can be raised and mood swings relieved.