During menopause, normal events or activities can elicit mood swings. These are sudden and unpredictable emotions - like sadness, irritability, anxiety, depression - and can seem to appear out of nowhere. However, scientists believe these swings are somewhat predictable, in that they are rooted in the natural fluctuation of progesterone and estrogen that occur during this time. These two hormones have been found to influence the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter in the brain that influences moods, so, when hormones change with menopause, so does the regulation of our moods.
Mood swings may also be influenced by other factors during menopause. Insomnia, a common symptom, can lead to irritability, which in turn, intensifies moods. Dealing with hot flashes, night sweats and other physical changes can also result in feeling emotional vulnerability. And, let's not forget that many women in their 40s and 50s are sandwiched between the demands of their children, work and aging parents. Juggling the needs of others, while simultaneously managing menopausal symptoms, can make almost any woman feel on edge. It's important to know your body and mind during this challenging time, so you can stay as steady as possible as you manage them both.