Like puberty, pregnancy, and childbirth, menopause elicits hormonal changes that can affect how you feel. For those transitioning into menopause, the most common emotional changes you might notice are irritability, mood swings, and mild depression. You might also notice decreased energy, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and headaches.
Anyone who has or has had a menstrual cycle is no stranger to the ways fluctuating hormones can impact mood. Menopause, too, can cause more intense and frequent mood changes.
Let’s talk more about why this is.
The cause of emotional changes during menopause
We know that hormones affect our moods — but how?
Estrogen and progesterone, two of the main female sex hormones, decrease during menopause.
Since estrogen impacts serotonin (feel-good chemicals in the brain) and progesterone is responsible for our moods, a dip in both of these key players can have a big impact on our mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Adjusting to hormone changes
There are lifestyle changes that can help mitigate the negative emotional effects of this decrease in estrogen and progesterone, including eating a balanced diet, moving your body regularly, and getting enough sleep.
And there are medical options to help with the transition, like hormone replacement pills, creams or injections that add back in the missing estrogen at varying levels. In addition to preventing mood swings, this type of medication can help with other physical symptoms, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Of course, all medications have risks in addition to benefits, and hormone replacement therapy isn’t right for every person.
Whether you’re menopausal or not, it’s always a good idea to seek help when you’re not feeling like yourself. Speaking with a therapist can ease your anxiety, depression, or other mood changes. Even though it’s normal to feel differently during menopause, you deserve support as you navigate the emotional side of hormone changes.
There are many options available during this phase. You, your therapist, and your doctor can work together to find a treatment plan that makes sense for you.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
Johnson, Traci C. “The Emotional Roller Coaster of Menopause.” Web MD. Web MD. August 9, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/emotional-roller-coaster