Menopause Madness - Top Tips for Dealing with Mood Swings
Have you had it yet? The red mist of a menopausal meltdown? One minute you are calm, polite, reasonable, even adorable. Then something happens. It doesn’t need to be a big thing.Maybe the cat throws up on the kitchen floor, your partner puts a red sock in the white wash, the kids are just a little loud, the washing up isn’t done or some idiot has raided the fridge and eaten the ingredients for your well-planned Friday supper.
The nice woman becomes the raging bull of hormonal fury. Nothing appeases her. Nothing calms her. And God forbid if someone tries to reason with her.
Sassitas report being actually frightened by their moods. As one reported: ‘You can feel it bubbling up inside and then the explosion. Sometimes I feel as though I am someone else and I look at myself and think “what the **** is she doing?” But then it’s too late. Once the fury gets a grip, only exhaustion shuts me up.’
Talking to partners brings an even sadder response.
‘I dread walking through the door as I don’t know which woman I will meet – my wife or the demon’
‘I used to try and help but I made it worse. So now I just lie low. I don’t know how we will stay together.’
So what is causing this maelstrom of moods? Well there are many theories.
Hormones. Falling progesterone and testosterone are associated with mood change. As your endocrine system slows down your reactions heat up
Depression. Many women find the peri-menopausal years pretty grim. Gaining weight, losing concentration, feeling older etc. takes its toll and when we feel bad we kick out at the safest people – those who are closest to us. However, telling your partner ‘I take it out on you because I love you,’ will not get you far in a relationship
Water retention. If your Oestrogen levels are changing you are more prone to fluid retention. Your brain retains water too. Some researchers have linked PMS to higher levels of fluid in the brain – so maybe we are in a permanent pre-menstrual cycle
Triggers. Many women note that certain foods or drink triggers their reaction. White wine seems to be high on the list
So what do you do?
First things first – if your moods swings are so extreme that you become violent or self-destructive then seek professional help.
If they are manageable then there are a few things you can do:
Analyse the patterns. Are you more likely to mood swing in response to certain trigger events, tiredness, time of day? Monitor your moods and see if you can find a pattern. If you know the cause you are more than half-way to a solution.
Check your foods.Are you reacting to specific foods? Are you worse after alcohol, sugar or processed food? Do you get very mean if you are hungry. If so, shift your eating to a clean diet (which will make you feel better anyway) and opt for small snack-meals spaced through the day to stop any ‘hangry’ moments
Get rest through mindfulness. Nights disrupted by night-sweats means that our brain has not had enough rest. But 15 minutes of good mental relaxation using mindfulness techniques is said to be the equivalent of an hour’s sleep. Take fifteen minutes alone to clear your head
Exercise. If you up your endorphins (your natural feel good hormones) you are better able to manage moods. Even better you get a positive kick from taking control of your body
Walk away. That old advice of breathe, count to ten and think again is a pretty good idea. Giving yourself time to think before you get swept up in the reaction is an effective method – but it takes discipline
Supplements. Lack of vitamin B affects your nervous system and therefore, your mood. Take a good supplement for a few weeks and see if it makes a difference. Quality is essential here, so go to a supplier of high-end vitamins or, if you are referred by a practitioner, an excellent supplier is The Natural Dispensary
HRT. This is a very personal choice and you have to get good advice in order to weigh up the ever changing advice on whether HRT increases your likelihood of breast cancer. However, those who opt for it claim the effect on mood is palpable and positive
Whatever you choose, remember one thing. Words never die and there are some words you just can’t erase. There is no point claiming “It wasn’t me it was my hormones”. We have to take responsibility and recognise that the only source of control lies within ourselves.