Summer Survival: Menopause and Mood Swings 

It's no secret that menopause causes significant hormonal changes that can impact our day-to-day lives. Whilst everyone’s experience is different, many women experience a variety of unwelcome symptoms, including mood swings.

Sudden changes in mood are more common than you might think. A 2022 survey of 950 perimenopausal women found that a large majority of respondents (68.9%) experienced mood swings, while 68.3% reported brain fog, and 66.8% suffered from fatigue.

If you already struggle with mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, experiencing low mood during menopause can be especially challenging. When this happens, it's important to remember that you're not alone in how you’re feeling. Breaking through the taboo surrounding menopause by discussing your feelings, and seeking support, is a crucial part of self-care.

As part of our Summer Survival Guide, we explore the causes of menopausal mood swings and provide some positive and actionable steps to help you feel more in control. Remember, we understand how difficult this time can be, and we're here to help.

What are mood swings?

It can be tough to experience sudden and intense changes in mood, known as mood swings. These can present themselves in different ways like irritability, tearfulness, anxiety or depression. It's important to note that mood swings can vary in intensity and duration, with some lasting for just a few hours while others can persist for days. Communication is key during this time, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and talk through your feelings with somebody you trust.

Are mood swings a symptom of menopause?

The reason behind mood swings during menopause is not completely clear, but it’s believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including fluctuating hormones. During menopause, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone decrease, which can affect mood regulation and lead to mood swings.

Additionally, the menopausal transition can be a stressful time which can contribute to mood swings. Other factors include sleep deprivation, changes in appetite, and changes in body image.

Why am I so angry all the time in menopause?

As you near menopause, your ovaries produce less oestrogen which affects the amount of serotonin being produced in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate mood, so lower oestrogen levels may result in less serotonin production.

Can menopause mood swings get worse in summer?

The most obvious menopause symptom that’s likely to cause an issue in summer is hot flushes. Experiencing a hot flush on an already hot day can be extremely challenging, often leading to poor quality sleep and therefore negatively impacting your mood.

How can I manage mood swings during menopause?

Dealing with mood swings during menopause can be tough, but there are ways to manage them. Firstly, it's important to prioritise self-care. Taking time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you joy can have a positive impact on your mood. Whether it's going for a walk in the park, practising yoga, or indulging in a hobby, finding moments of tranquillity can help alleviate mood swings.

Seeking support from loved ones and joining menopause support groups can help provide a sense of community and understanding during this transitional period. Sharing your experiences and listening to others can be incredibly comforting and empowering.

If mood swings become overwhelming or interfere with your daily life, it may be beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can offer guidance and explore potential treatment options, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), or alternative therapies like acupuncture or herbal supplements.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also make a significant difference. Regular exercise not only boosts your mood by releasing endorphins but also helps regulate hormone levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, most days of the week. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can also support hormonal balance and overall well-being.

Lastly, don't forget to prioritise sleep. Menopause can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and exacerbating mood swings. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and limit caffeine and electronic device usage before bed. Quality sleep can work wonders for your mood and overall well-being.

Remember, menopause is a natural part of life, and whilst mood swings may be challenging, they are temporary. By taking care of yourself, seeking support, and exploring various coping strategies, you can navigate this phase with grace and embrace the new chapter that awaits you.