It’s a beautiful day – the weather is lovely and the sun is out. You’re going out with your hubby to unwind and enjoy. Out of the blue, a torrential rain of negative emotions just floods on you. It leaves you confused and hopeless.
Menopausal mood swings are common in perimenopause, and they can come out of nowhere.
YOU ARE NOT GOING CRAZY! It’s your hormones messing up your mood.
I experienced this myself, and it wasn’t easy. I thought it was part of my pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). My hubby and I even had a silent code every time my mood was all over the place. He didn’t say a word and waited until the storm was over. Congrats to my hubby who handled my mood swings so well! 😀
Know what’s causing your mood to go on a roller coaster ride. I’ll also share with you my best tips to manage your mood swings better!'My moods don’t just swing – they pivot, recoil, rebound, oscillate, fluctuate and occasionally pirouette!' 😀Click To Tweet
How Does Hormonal Imbalance Cause Mood Swings During Menopause?
Besides stress and poor lifestyle, a big part why we have mood swings is because of hormonal imbalance.
Both estrogen and progesterone calm your body, but progesterone is the main anti-anxiety hormone. Estrogen, on one hand, protects your brain and keeps it healthy.
Your brain produces serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and GABA. These are brain chemicals that also act as happy hormones. They help you cope with stress, calm your mood and relax your body.
When your sex hormones are out of balance during menopause, it impacts your happy hormones in a negative way. To be specific, low sex hormones slow down your brain from producing your happy hormones. This may lead to mood swings, anxiety and depression.
Low estrogen and progesterone also affect our adrenal glands. This gland is in charge of your stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. Stress hormones suppress the production of your happy hormones, which worsens your mood swings.
Low estrogen and progesterone, in combination with high stress hormones, is a recipe for health disaster. They suppress melatonin production, which causes sleep problems. They also slow down your thyroid glands and gut which may lead to fatigue and sluggish digestion.
One of my favorite holistic doctors, Dr. Eric Berg, has some great explanations about estrogen, mood and menopause in this video [7:05]:
9 Natural Ways to Stop Having Mood Swings in Menopause!
Hormonal imbalance is a big cause of mood swings during menopause, but poor lifestyle can also add to this symptom. Everything in our body is connected. What we eat and do affects our health and well-being.
For our body to have balance, it needs support and nourishment. Give your body the care it deserves and work for hormone balance with our 9 best tips:
1. Eat a hormone-balancing diet!
Let food be your medicine! Load up on foods that help you make and balance hormones. Below are some food choices:
- Eat a big bowl of salad at least once a day. Fill it with different assortments of veggies and greens. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants and nutrients which can get rid of toxins.
- Consume more omega-3-rich fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, herring and barramundi. Omega-3 is a healthy fat that helps build hormones.
- Get healthy fats and antioxidants from almonds, walnuts, chia, goji berries, lentils, avocado, ghee and dark greens. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals!
- Add all kinds of adaptogenic and phytoestrogenic herbs in your diet. Adaptogenic herbs help streamline your body functions and promote hormone balance. Phytoestrogenic herbs contain plant-based estrogens. More estrogen means more happy hormones!
- Give yourself a treat with a small piece of dark chocolate. It is rich in flavonoids which helps release happy hormones. Giving yourself a reward satisfies and makes you feel happier!
- Cut down on stimulants. Having a warm cup of coffee and a glass of wine is good every now and then, but don’t overdo because they can trigger mood swings.
Besides hormonal imbalance, stress can cause of mood swings. The culprit is the sneaky stress hormone, cortisol. Check our FACT BOX below to know more about how cortisol controls our mood!
Here’s how to stress less!
- Let go of stressful situations, prioritize, slow down and take a break!
- Meditate, do deep breathing, self-massage and other natural therapies to relax!
- Try acupuncture and acupressure. Hitting your energy spots releases tension in your body and makes you feel better.
- Think positive! A positive mind leads to a happy life! Change your perspective and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Say a positive affirmation – the power of spoken words can change your mood!
3. Get quality, uninterrupted sleep.
Who doesn’t get crabby when they don’t get enough sleep? I do! Night sweats can be a big bugger, so it’s good to address this problem. We have an article about the best tips to manage night sweats better, go check it out!
4. Exercise daily!
I love the outdoors! I do quick walks and trails in nature, and they do wonders for my mood. The sunshine and fresh air just make you feel better. Besides this, you can also try these exercises:
- Do mind-body activities like Yoga, Qigong, Pilates and Tai Chi. These exercises calm your central nervous system, which helps you manage mood swings.
- If you already exercise, you can do strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These two are especially good during menopause.
Sweating removes toxins and burns calories. It also improves blood circulation and strengthens your muscles and bones. A 30-minute exercise daily will keep you fit and happy!
Adrienne has a great yoga routine to relieve mood swings. Try it here [23:44]:
Eating healthy is still the best way to get vitamins and minerals, but you can also support your body with natural supplements.
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical in the brain that regulates your mood. Magnolia bark, Valerian, Ashwagandha, Lavender and Green Tea are rich in GABA. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is another excellent supplement for mood swings. It’s a precursor to your happy hormone, serotonin. Check our FACT BOX to know how GABA and 5-HTP help with mood swings in detail!
- Consider using natural progesterone! Progesterone is your body’s natural calming hormone.
- Experts say low magnesium can cause mood swings, anxiety and depression. Doctors call magnesium the chill pill”. It relaxes your nerves and it’s a great multi-tasker that helps build hormones such as serotonin!
- Amino acids are the building blocks of hormones. Taurine and theanine are especially helpful in making your happy hormones.
- B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, E and C are nutrients that support your hormone-producing glands.
6. Take care of your gut!
The gut and brain help each other to regulate your mood. 95% of serotonin comes from your gut, so keeping it healthy is a must!
- Eat more fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. They are rich in probiotics, which keep gut health at bay.
- Support the absorption of probiotics by eating more prebiotics rich foods, such as artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic and asparagus.
- Cut gluten, dairy and sugary foods because they can cause gut inflammation that slows down digestion.
7. Boost liver function!
The liver plays a huge role in balancing estrogen levels. Boost your liver function by eating more broccoli, carrots, spinach and pumpkin. Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are also great for your liver. These foods are rich in antioxidants which helps your liver fight toxins. Detoxify your liver by practicing intermittent fasting!
8. Relieve mood swings with quick-relief tips.
- Have small rollers of essential oils ready inside your purse! Lavender, peppermint, chamomile and frankincense are the best essential oils for mood swings.
- Decompress by placing a warm pack around your neck and shoulders. Take a foam roller or tennis ball to massage your body. This relieves tension and helps you calm down.
- Tune in to relaxing music. It is a great way to ease mood swings! Create a playlist and listen to relaxing songs to ease your mood swings.
9. Reach out!
Nurture healthy relationships with family and friends. Surround yourself with loved ones who support and give you calm! Allow other people to help and connect with you.
Eileen of A. Vogel explains why your mood goes up and down and how you can manage it in this video [5:19]:
Experiencing mood swings is not about your lack of will power or control over yourself, it’s because of your hormones. Take menopause tests to check your hormone levels and don’t be afraid to talk to a health practitioner.
How Do GABA and 5-HTP Help Curb Mood Swings?
It all starts in your central nervous system (CNS), which is your body’s natural wiring. Your CNS has wiring pathways to and from the brain and out in every part of your body. The carrier of your messages are brain chemicals like GABA./
GABA is your brain’s natural brakes. In the medical world, it’s called an inhibitory brain chemical. When you’re faced with stressors, it lowers your gear so that your central nervous system doesn’t get all riled up. It also allows you to think better.
If you have low levels of GABA, your brain keeps firing excitatory chemicals. As a result, your central nervous system gets hyped up, and you will not only suffer mood swings but panic attacks and even seizures.
5-HTP is an amino acid that comes from tryptophan. Tryptophan is also an amino acid found in foods such as spirulina, turkey and eggs.
To put it simple terms, 5-HTP helps create serotonin. 5-HTP converts to serotonin through a chemical reaction. The activation is made possible by other nutrients such as vitamins B2, B3 and B6. Magnesium, zinc and vitamin C also participate in converting 5-HTP to serotonin.
Don’t allow mood swings to get in your way during menopause!
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Gita is the founder of My Menopause Journey. Since 2014, she has been supporting midlife women by sharing hard-earned learnings from her own experience. To advance her knowledge, Gita puts a lot of her time and effort into understanding the broad spectrum of women’s health. She immerses in extensive research about the physical, mental and emotional aspects of menopause. Gita believes in the life-changing power of healthy, holistic living — this is where she anchors her message to all women. Learn more about her marvelous mission in About us - My Menopause Journey.