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The Ups and Downs of Mood Swings

Dealing with menopause can be difficult. Not only is your body changing, but the symptoms that accompany menopause can have a significant effect on your life as well. For some women, mood swings are the most dramatic symptoms of menopause.HFN 027 MoodSwings 1 11053498

While having the potential to drastically affect your lifestyle, they also possess the ability to negatively affect your personal relationships and work performance as well.

The Causes
As is the case with the overwhelming majority of other menopausal symptoms, mood swings and emotional instability are caused by the changing hormone levels in your body. Hormones are in charge of regulating our emotions, and when they start acting in an unpredictable manner, so do our emotions. The fact that this is a normal part of menopause does not make it any less troublesome or easier to understand. The additional symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats, fatigue, and especially hot flashes, can further intensify these mood changes. Who doesn't feel like lashing out at the first person she sees while having a hot flash?

In extreme situations, mood swings can last for an extended length of time and could result in depression and severe anxiety. This is why it's important to be aware of the different treatments available, even if you aren't experiencing extreme mood swings.

The Treatments
The best and safest way to try to alleviate mood swings is by making changes in your lifestyle. Excessive use of alcohol can cause your mood swings to be longer and harsher, and should be avoided. Sleep deprivation can have the same effect, so it's in your best interest to make as many modifications to your life as needed to ensure a good night's sleep regularly. For example, a reasonable amount of exercise in the day combined with a sensible bedtime can help. Wearing light clothing to bed can also help combat sleep-depriving night sweats. It is also recommended that you maintain a healthy diet, as the depression and guilt that are associated with bad eating habits can worsen menopausal mood swings.

If lifestyle changes fail to make a difference, your transition years will be all the more difficult. Ask your doctor about some of the different medications and behavioral therapies available. For many years hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was one of the most common ways to deal with the symptoms of menopause, but after clinical trial results revealed some serious problems, it's now considered to be one of the riskiest. Many women have found that the use of herbs and supplements that have estrogenic components, such as black cohosh, present an effective alternative to HRT. There's a very large selection of drugs and alternative treatments available, and many come with their own unique effects and side effects. If you choose to go this route, it's important that you communicate honestly and openly with your doctor about your symptoms. This way, he or she can pair you with the best possible solution for your situation. ♀

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