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emotional roller coaster
one of those women
mood swings
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poor diet
hormonal imbalances
Menopause And Mood Swings
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Menopause And Mood Swings

Mood Swings: An Emotional Component of Menopause

50% of perimenopausal and menopausal women will suffer with mood swings. Some research states that if you suffered with PMS or post-partem depression in your earlier years, you are more prone to suffer with mood swings. I can tell you that from personal experience, this is absolutely NOT TRUE. I was one of those women who was blessed with very normal periods. No heavy flow. No bad cramping. No PMS. Pretty uneventful, really. Then came the perimenopausal changes that included MOOD SWINGS! If there was such a term as mood roller-coaster, that would be more accurate.

Imagine my horror. I am a health-care professional. I am the CEO of a wellness center. I eat organic foods. I exercise. I do all the right things.....and yet I suffered horribly with mood swings. And I mean HORRIBLY. This suffering inspired me to research the physiology of menopausal mood swings. As I said above, some research states that menopausal mood swings are related to PMS and Post-Partem depression in earlier years. Other research stated that alcohol use, tobacco use, poor diet and lack of exercise are also contributing factors to menopausal mood swings. I knew that those factors did not play a role in my own mood swings so what is it that happens that makes phenomenal, powerful, self-assured women turn to seemingly illogical lunatics?

The easy answer is related to hormonal imbalances...we all know that....but what exactly is happening? We can all remember the joy we had as we were going through puberty. We were on an emotional roller-coaster ride then, too. The good news as a teen was that as our surging hormones came in to balance, so too, did our moods. Our mood swings during menopause are a little more complicated than that. Melatonin and serotonin are neurotransmitters made in the brain that aid the the feeling of peace and calm. When the brain is making generous supplies of melatonin and serotonin, we tend to be at peace.

As our estrogen values start to decrease, it seems to directly alter our brains' ability to make adequate serotonin. This is a temporary phenomenon and our brain does get back to making the correct balance of serotonin and melatonin, but when the balance is off, the consequences are troublesome. There is also research that states that low levels of progesterone exacerbate mood swings. So, if we know that altered levels of estrogen, progesterone, melatonin and/or serotonin can lead to mood swings, what can we do about it?

There are a few things we can do.

  1. Eating a clean diet is the first thing you can do to be proactive. This is so important because traditional raised livestock contains 'growth' hormones that are endocrine disruptors. (This means they mess with your hormone levels) The chemical components of pesticides and herbicides are also endocrine disruptors. That is why it is so very important to eat organic vegetables and fruits and consume animal products that do not contain growth hormones, steroids or anti-biotics.
  2. There are several herbs available to balance mood. Maca, licorice root, and ginko biloba are some of my favorites.
  3. Bio-identical hormones may be warranted for a window of time.Find a great holistic physician who deals in bio-identical hormones and get your hormones tested.
  4. Exercise....if you don't.

While it is never fun being on this emotional roller-coaster, it is only a phase and it will pass. Do the best you can to nourish your body and get good sleep and you will get through this phase as fast as possible.


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