How to Get a Handle on Hormonal Mood Swings

Good morning everyone!

One of the most biologically frustrating realities of being a woman are the mood changes that come with hormonal fluctuations. I’ve soothed countless friends (and they have comforted me!) through emotional upheavals that felt dire one day, only to seem insignificant the next. The difference in 24 hours? Our monthly cycle.

As we move through life and hit peri-menopause those feelings intensify. They also become random, no longer following a monthly pattern because there is no regularity to your period any more. Relief becomes as elusive and irregular as your cycle. For many women, it can feel like they are losing their minds. Crying one minute and happy the next, it is an extremely challenging time of life that can get in the way of your relationships, your motivation and your outlook.

But fear not—there is so much that you can do to help soothe these feelings, and in today’s video I am going to outline steps you can take to start getting a handle on your emotional wellbeing. Once you understand how diminished estrogen levels affect serotonin levels and it’s impact on mood, you’ll understand how to stabilize your hormones and calm your mind. Whether it’s from PMS, peri-menopause or menopause, there is a lot you can do to find stability.

Stay tuned to the end because In addition to nutritional and lifestyle suggestions, I offer up a practice that can help you navigate the choppy waters of mid-life. Yes, it is true that your hormones are likely making you feel unsteady, but it is also possible that life itself is trying to tell you something about the direction you’re heading. Menopause is a time when many women reassess their path and decide how well it reflects who they are. These thoughts can be uncomfortable because they may disrupt the status quo, making the hormonal mood swings feel more intense. It is important though, to explore those thoughts and feelings so you can better navigate the road ahead. You’ll see what I mean once you’ve watched the video.

Once you’ve tuned in, I’d love to hear from all the ladies out there! Do you find yourself feeling sad and weepy at certain times of the month? Is peri-menopause making you feel crazy? What do you do to stabilize your mood? And for my menopausal sisters out there, what has menopause taught you that has impacted the way you live your life? I’d love to hear your stories!

Wishing you the happiest of Mondays!

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8 comments on “How to Get a Handle on Hormonal Mood Swings

  1. AvatarLynn

    Thank you, Barbara. Very timely video for me (now in Menopause, starting about 6 mos or so ago). I could type a few Entire Pages with my own observations/approaches, but I know folks won’t want to read that much 😉 …so, I’ll try and make this as brief as possible.

    1) I never got PMS symptoms when I had periods. Most I got was occasionally noticing I could get teary-eyed over a sad story (which at any other time of the month, would not have made me cry). Sadly therefore, not relating to women who talked about their PMS every month, I considered them ‘drama queens’. (For that I apologize, as NOW I understand. It was only when I went through Peri and now Menopause, that my hormones began affecting my mood! 😉

    2) Our doctors don’t fully prepare us for what to expect in Peri/Menopause. All we ever hear about are Mood Swings (which I always thought to mean ‘crying one minute’ and ‘an irrational angry woman the next’) or Hot Flashes. But how many of us knew that Mood Swings can also include actual ‘depression’?….or ‘anxiety attacks’? I never knew that. Or that there’s something called ‘Night Sweats’, which are different from’Hot Flashes’? Or that you can get ‘brain fog’? My point is, we need to speak up to our doctors and tell them to keep us, and all their patients, better informed. I chastised both my Primary Care and my Gyno…that they both knew my age (53) and that my periods were becoming irregular, yet neither of them thought to suggest that I read up on the vast range of symptoms I might encounter during Peri/Menopause? Maybe if they’d suggested that, I wouldn’t have thought I was going crazy…I would have understood….’ah, it’s my hormones…that’s why I feel so depressed….that’s why I’m sitting at my office desk 8 hours later and questioning what the hell I did these past 8 hours…that’s why I can’t seem to get this project done….’ Etc.

    3) While I understand that diet is everything, I’m not totally good when it comes to my diet, but not bad either. I’m more on the side of ‘good’ though…no processed foods, no sodas, not too much sweets, 1 coffee per day, alcohol use is negligible. When I buy meat/fish, it’s only from good sources, meats are antibiotic-free, range-free etc.. Probably should eat more fruits/veggies though. What I do now focus on is legumes…I think I read something about it helping with serotonin and or B-complex vitamins. Ditto for snacking a few times a day on low-fat carbs… so for me it’s rice cakes or Terra Chips…something like that.

    4) I bought a sunlight therapy lamp to help with mood. While the shorter (Winter) days never made me ‘depressed’ before, once I hit peri and then menopause, it does affect my mood, so I must be vigilant. This is the model I bought…nice small size, attractive, 3 light levels and 3 timer options. I love it.

    5) I take Calcium, Vit. D and Rainbow Light Menopause One pills. Natrol’s Chewable Melatonin 20 mins before bed if I think I need help sleeping. Trying to get myself back on regular exercise program. As Barbara says, bedtime routine helps…keep lights low…light a candle…avoid computer/TV at least one hour before you want to go to bed…

    6) Talk to friends about what you are going through. I don’t believe that menopause should be something that’s ‘private’ or shouldn’t be talked about. Why should we all suffer alone, in silence? If we are sick with a cold, we don’t hesitate to tell people. Why should peri or menopause be any different? I was looking for a Menopause support group about a year ago and was very surprised to find none. I even contacted my gyno’s office which is part of an entire practice dedicated to women’s health, and shockingly, they had no such group or any advice. So… I started my own Menopause support group on! 😉 If interested, please sign up. (We haven’t had all that much traction in folks attending meetings, but we HAVE had a few folks come out. 😉

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Well put Lynn! I knew what was happening to me while it was going down but it didn’t make it easier to deal with. It still took a lot of effort. Once you’re through it though, it does calm down and a sense of equanimity is easier to maintain~
      Medicine has gotten so far away from preventive care that it is rare that a doc would discuss things in-depth. Perhaps if you pay out of pocket to a doctor that can give you more time. In the meantime, it is important to be your own advocate and clearly you are!
      Thanks for the feedback~ I am glad to know you’re finding your balance…

    2. AvatarKaren

      Hi Lynn,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply here. I read all of it. I am not there yet, but approaching peri-menopause, and it’s really helpful to hear honest accounts of people’s experiences. It sounds like a crazy ride. I for one will be a littlemore prepared, thanks to Barbars’s post and your feedback 🙂

  2. AvatarDayna

    As always, thank you Barbara for sharing & caring?
    As you said, exercise is key! It was my saving grace during menopause ~ worked out 6 days/week & made it a breeze!
    And now am using Sam-E for calming anxiety & working on getting better sleep next ~
    Happy Monday to you?

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      That’s great to know Anna! Sam-e is one of the better ones… talk to your doc about B-Complex to offset potentially elevated homocysteine levels from Sam-e. I have a video in the archives about homocystein so you can learn more about it before discussing it with him/her~
      Have a great week!

  3. AvatarAnna McNally

    I”m 49 years old and really appreciated the video. Even though my monthly cycles are almost non-existent, I still experience PMS and am happy to try these steps.


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