The end of childbearing years is marked by menopause, a period of time that is celebrated by some and grieved by most. Changes in the response of a woman’s body, other symptoms, and emotional mood swings are all part of “the change”, when a woman enters into the golden years of her life when child rearing responsibilities are over and she must once again focus on her health and herself, returning to the basics of self care to improve her health.
“For some women, especially those on hormone replacement therapy or those who have had their uterus removed, mood swings can be the most inconvenient aspect of this stage of life.”
What is “the change”?
Menopause is the series of changes that a woman’s body undergoes signifying the end of her menstrual cycle and the dusk of the reproductive cycle. Changes can be mild to moderate to severe, with mental, emotional, and physical changes noted as women report symptoms of all kinds associated with this cycle.
How does this stage of life affect my emotions?
Declining estrogen levels associated with this change cause more than just hot flashes. They can make a woman feel as if she is in a perpetual state of premenstrual syndrome. Some of the emotional changes that a woman can undergo include:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Feelings of sadness
- Lack of motivation
- Anxiety, fear
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes
What are mood swings?
For some women, especially those on hormone replacement therapy or those who have had their uterus removed, mood swings can be the most inconvenient aspect of this stage of life. Some of the more common emotions experienced at this time include:
1. Irritability – Up to 70 percent of women report that things that did not bother them before are now a source of contention and stress when going through their changes.
“women find themselves breaking down into tears of simple things that were not previously triggers for strong emotion.”
2. Depression – Periods of depression ranging from mild to severe affect 20 percent of women as they progress through hormonal changes. Knowing this is key to observing, rather than participating, in feelings of hopelessness and depression.
3. Anxiety – Many women feel like their anxiety spirals out of control, and some women even experience panic attacks for the first time. Few women welcome such erratic emotions during menopause, but knowing what to expect is essential in order to be able to move through them without additional distress.
4. Crying episodes – This is one of the most commonly reported menopause symptoms; women find themselves breaking down into tears of simple things that were not previously triggers for strong emotion.
5. Insomnia – Although this is not considered a mood swing, it is a contributor to the roller coaster ride of emotions prevalent during this time; doing what you can to get a full night’s sleep will help you regain some composure and control over your emotions and allow your body to balance hormones naturally.
How to control your emotions and stay calm during these changes?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are things that can be done to effectively manage mood swings, balance hormones, and keep the dragon at bay. Women may choose to undergo hormone replacement therapy, where premenopausal hormones are administered artificially to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
“If you find that your symptoms are severe and intolerable, perhaps it’s best to talk with your doctor.”
Diet and lifestyle changes can also be implemented; learning to take foods and drinks that are potentially toxic and harmful out of your diet will help the body to balance itself naturally. Exercise, meditation, and self-care techniques should be prioritized at this time to lessen the physical, mental, and emotional toll that menopause symptoms can take on the body.
If you find that your symptoms are severe and intolerable, perhaps it’s best to talk with your doctor to see if a combination of hormone replacement therapy and prescription medications can ease your discomfort. Often, use of these therapies is used in conjunction with psychotherapy and counseling with markedly improved results.
While there is no systematic way to deal with erratic emotions during menopause, there are simple steps you can take to avoid some of the more unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms. Rally the support of friends and family members who have gone before you into this golden age, and learn from their experiences as they give you advice on how to manage your body physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll emerge stronger, wiser, and even more beautiful than before. Embrace this time in your life; celebrate the work that you’ve done, and look forward to a bright future ahead of you!
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