What Can You Do to Stop the Emotional Rollercoaster
Suffering from menopause mood swings and irritability? Wild emotional ups and downs and quick irritability are vexing problems of menopause because they make you feel so totally out of control.
One minute you are happy or content and the next you believe the world is crashing around you. You feel totally out of control and at the mercy of your emotions - no fun to be you and a pain for those around you.
Here you can find information about the treatments for your mood swings and irritability and what to do to get your emotions and yourself back in control.
Menopause Mood Swing Treatments
The treatments for mood swings and irritability need to address the reasons for your symptoms. Depending on their severity, you can try one or several of the natural treatments.
But if your symptoms are bad enough that your life is negatively impacted, herbal treatments for mood swings may not be enough. In this case your doctor will either prescribe hormone or drug therapy.
Herbs for Menopause Mood Swings
Several herbs are beneficial for your emotional balance and decrease your irritability and mood problems.
If you also suffer from hot flashes and night sweats or other estrogen related menopause symptoms, consider some of the phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens include herbs like Licorice Root, Red Clover and Hops.
Adaptogens on the other hand, help the body to adapt to stress and are a good addition to symptom specific herbs.
Ashwaganda or Wintercherry (Withania somnifera) helps to fight the effects of stress on the body and has a mild calming effect. It is considered an adoptogen that not only relieves nervous exhaustion, but it also gives a boost to the immune system.
St John's Wort (Hypericum perferatum) has been used for thousands of years to treat depressed mood and anxiety. It is also used for insomnia because of its mild sedative effect.
Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis) is a very powerful anti-anxiety herb. It is best taken at night until you understand the effects on your body because it can make you drowsy. (Valerian is a personal favorite of mine and I use it regularly for insomnia).
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has great calming powers. It is often used for insomnia and anxiety and is a natural serotonin booster (Serotonin is important for your feelings of happiness and overall well-being).
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a great option for women in menopause because it works on so many different symptoms. It is a phytoestrogen, an adaptogen and is also used to treat menopause depression because of it's action on the neurotransmitters.
Which herbs to choose is a matter of personal preference but it also depends on your symptoms and your overall health.
For example, if your health is good, you may not need the adaptogenic action as much as an herb that treats your symptoms. On the other hand, if your overall health is not great, adaptogens might work better for you because of their immune system boost.
Keep in mind, herbs can be combined to maximize the effect on the symptoms. But be careful not to combine herbs that can make you feel drowsy or sleepy.
Alternative Treatment Options
Believe it or not, but your food choices influences your emotional balance and brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, need omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in fish oil) to function. It is a good idea to take fish oil supplements for this reason alone but fish oil also helps with the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
Whole foods are metabolized much slower than highly refined carbohydrates. They also don't spike you blood sugar level which avoids some of the agitation and irritability you might feel. Additionally, they allow the body to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients better. The B Vitamins are especially important for proper brain function and will help mood swings and depression symptoms.
Stress relief is an important part of any treatment for menopause mood swings. Learn some deep breathing exercises which can be done anywhere and anytime. They help with stress, hot flashes and can prevent that your irritability will get the better of you in social or family situations.
Menopause is a time when many women experience important life events aside from the menopause change. Things like kids leaving home, elderly parents needing your help and marriages having problems are stressful enough, and more than many women can handle.
Add hormone changes to the mix and they act like magnifying glasses for normal feelings of sadness and irritability. If you feel lost about the things that are going on in your life and don't know how to deal with the challenges of your life, look for support. Group therapy or cognitive therapy might be a good option to help you get back on track and teach you better coping skills.
Hormone and Drug Therapy for Menopause Mood Swings
Perimenopause mood swings are often successfully treated with birth control pills or progesterone especially if you also suffer from heavy bleeding. The hormone in the pill balances hormones that are beginning to fluctuate during perimenopause. This in turn balances your mood swings and often regulates your period. And progesterone is the "feel-good" hormone that can balance the erratic levels of estrogen during this time.
Severe mood swings in late perimenopause, when the intervals between your periods are becoming more erratic and when estrogen levels are consistently low, can be treated with hormone therapy. If you suffer from other symptoms like severe hot flashes and night sweats together with mood swings, hormone therapy is a valid option to get you over the worst part of the menopause transition.
There are numerous drugs that treat serotonin imbalance and may give you relief from your mood swings. However, if your symptoms are so severe that you and your doctor are considering drug therapy, a proper diagnosis is important to find out if you are suffering from bipolar disorder or from depression. These diseases are treated with different medications and the wrong drug can have side effects that can be worse than your symptoms. Several of the major universities have "women's mood disorder" centers that can aid in the proper diagnosis and treatment.
In a nutshell: use herbs and alternative treatments if your symptoms are not severely impairing your daily life. Hormone therapy is a great option if you have additional menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. In some cases, drug treatment is advised.
Most important is to take action before your menopause mood swings and irritability will negatively impact your family and social life.
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