One moment, you’re laughing hysterically. Next, you’re in tears over a chocolate commercial. Then you’re putting on a performance that would win you a gold at the World Champs of Road Rage tournaments. Yep, menopause mood swings are a thing.
While this is not the type of swinging you may have wanted to get into in your midlife, your shifting moods are more than understandable. You’re not doing anything wrong. The rollercoaster is real.
And just because heightened emotional shifts are common through the transition period around menopause, it doesn’t mean we should dismiss them. There is help available.
If you are struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, it’s really important to get help. Talk to your doctor. Reach out to friends and family. Join us on Peanut. You don’t have to suffer through this alone.
With all that in mind, let’s get into it. What’s the deal with menopause mood swings, how long do they last, and what can we do about them?
Menopause and mood swings FAQs
How long do menopause mood swings last?
Menopause is defined as the point twelve months after you have your last period.
Perimenopause is the name given to the months or years leading up to this moment.
These are helpful definitions as they allow us to create a more definitive timeline to talk about the changes that occur at this time in life.
In reality, menopause is more of a chapter than a moment, with symptoms typically occurring over about a seven- to eight-year window.
During this time, your body goes through major hormonal shifts.
Estrogen and progesterone—the hormones that have been hard at work regulating your reproductive life—start to slow down their production.
These hormonal changes can lead to all sorts of symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
One frequent experience is serious shifts in moods—so common, in fact, that, according to this literature review, up to 50% of menopausal women experience depression symptoms.
So no, you’re not imagining it. No, you’re not crazy. This is happening and you will get through it.
Can menopause cause anger issues?
Yes, it appears that hormonal shifts during menopause have a bearing on your mood.
One reason for this is that there is a link between estrogen and serotonin, the hormone that regulates your moods and helps you feel happy.
It’s no wonder then that as estrogen production shifts, so can your feelings of wellbeing.
(There is evidence to suggest that estrogen therapy may help decrease these symptoms. While the research is young, it’s promising to know that there is help out there.)
Progesterone, another hormone that declines during menopause, also plays a role here.
There is a marked link between progesterone and feelings of anxiety and irritability, and as its production shifts during your menopausal years, you may feel the effects.
But the topic is not without controversy. As this study explores, while mood changes and depressive symptoms appear to be far more common in women of menopausal age, the exact link is a tricky one to draw.
There is so much else going on at this time. Other health issues, a lack of external support structures, and major shifts in your day-to-day life may all contribute to how you’re feeling.
Your environment can also play a key role in how you experience this time.
You may be dealing with all sorts of shifts in terms of your career, family, and social network. The need to support each other is real.
How long does menopause irritability last?
We would love to give you a firm answer here, but the reality is that everyone is going to experience this transition differently.
Your symptoms may last anywhere from a few months to a few years during the perimenopausal phase until you reach menopause.
The good news is, there’s a good chance they’ll slow after your period takes its final bow.
What we can tell you is that, if your irritability quotient feels off the charts, you’re not alone. In fact, according to this study, feeling irritable is the “primary mood complaint for up to 70% of women during perimenopause.” It’s all real—perimenopause mood swings are a thing.
How can I stop menopausal mood swings?
So what can we actually do about these swings?
After all, we still have to get up every morning, perform admin tasks, get some sort of food on our tables, and care for the people in our lives.
The reality is there’s no quick fix here. There are, however, some measures that you can take to help you get through this time.
First, don’t do it alone. This is more important than anything. Talk to your doctor. Explore talk therapy. Reach out to others who are going through the same thing.
Other options that can really help:
- Meditate. Mindfulness practices are as old as the hills—but recently, there has been a surge of interest in the connection between mindfulness and our mental health. You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again—meditation is definitely worth a try.
- Do things you love. This may sound simplistic, but if you want to get at those serotonin levels, there are ways. For example, there’s a link between creativity and serotonin production. And exercise has also been shown to increase serotonin.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains are the basis of a healthy menopause diet.
- **Stay away from triggers. You may find it helps to keep a journal to find out what these are. Alcohol, caffeine, certain annoying people—steer clear as necessary.
And if you’re wondering what to take for mood swings during menopause, there are options:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT can relieve several menopause-related symptoms. Talk to your doctor to see if it is right for you.
- Antidepressants. Your healthcare provider may prescribe SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) or other antidepressant therapy. These may even help with other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes. Just be warned—they are not without their side effects, including decreased sexual function in some cases. Work with your doctor to find the right balance for yourself. It’s not a one-size-fits-all.
- Supplements. Menopause supplements can help manage your symptoms, too.
All the best. We’re rooting for you.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know
Hot Flashes: Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do
What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain
Unusual Menopause Symptoms You Might Not Know
Why Are My Breasts Getting Bigger After Menopause?
Menopause Fatigue: What to Know and What to Do
What to Do About Menopause Bloating
Are You Getting Cramps After Menopause?
Essential Oils for Menopause: What Helps?