Although many people are quick to attribute mood swings to a number of internal processes that take place in a woman’s body at various stages of her life, a much lower percentage of people actually understand the reasons behind these sudden shifts in emotion and the often overwhelming highs and lows that accompany them.
Throughout menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause, hormones play a significant role in how women feel within themselves and have a significant impact on the wide range of emotions that are often linked to all of these important stages of life.
What are hormones?
Hormones oversee almost every aspect of human behaviour, helping us to fulfill our basic needs and express ourselves on an emotional level. There are two hormones in a woman, oestrogen and progesterone, that play an essential role in not only every element of the reproductive process but also in the function of various other organs.
In the lead-up to menstrual bleeding, the menopause and immediately after pregnancy, there are rapid falls in the levels of these hormones. This rapid change in hormone levels impact upon the physical and mental function of the female body and affect a woman’s emotions.
Some women find these changes may be profound and out of their control, leading to significant mood swings. Often, those affected will say that they really don’t feel their normal selves, which can affect personal relationships, mental and physical performance and professional productivity.
How much do hormones shift during these events?
The menstrual cycle is a complex process with daily changes in the levels of both oestrogen and progesterone. Levels of oestrogen and progesterone regularly fluctuate to such a degree that it’s completely natural to feel both elated and low in mood within the same day. Such a mixture of emotions can be hard to comprehend and can set the stage for increased irritation and anxiety with seemingly no apparent cause.
Pregnancy is a period of time where oestrogen and progesterone hormones levels are significantly raised above the levels they occupy during non-pregnancy. After the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, oestrogen and progesterone are produced by the placenta, rather than the woman’s ovaries. The high levels of these hormones stimulate both physical and mental changes of the female body. The combination of both physical and mental changes during pregnancy may lead to anxiety, altered sleep patterns, significant mood swings and depression.
During the menopause, the production of oestrogen in the ovaries falls dramatically. This relative deprivation of oestrogen affects large parts of the body, including the bones, heart, blood vessels and blood coagulation and the performance of the mental function. The ability to concentrate, sleep patterns and emotions may be negatively impacted. This may make you feel extremely irritable. All things considered, it’s little wonder that so many women encounter such significant mood swings when going through this transition.
Expert advice and treatment
Although mood swings can be explained, that doesn’t make these any less distressing and menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause can significantly impact on a woman’s emotional state. For some individuals, these changes can be very unsettling and disempowering both on a personal and professional level.
Mr Francis Gardner will give you a better understanding of the medical science behind mood swings and can offer you various approaches to deal with them. First of all, it is important to establish the cause of your mood swings and the options to make these more manageable include conservative measures such as counseling and acknowledging any underlying problems.
You may wish to consider hormonal or non-hormonal medical treatment or undergo surgical treatment, particularly if you are found to have significant health issues such as severe menstrual dysfunction. To book your consultation or One Stop See and Treat appointment with an internationally recognised gynaecologist, please get in touch today.
In addition to oestrogen and progesterone hormones, there are many other hormones which contribute to your physical and mental wellbeing. Many hormones influence organ function and regulate behavioural activities. Their production and secretion is tightly regulated and can be dramatically influenced by physical and mental stress. Our mood and behaviour depends on many hormones and their concentrations, the pattern in which they are released and the number, location and efficiency of our hormone receptors.
Although this may be difficult to do, talking about how you feel can put things into perspective and make them feel less overwhelming. Gaining a greater understanding of why these mood changes are occurring will help you to deal with those feelings in a better way. It may also be helpful to monitor your mood over a period of time in an attempt to identify potential triggers.
In certain cases, mood changes can be accentuated during periods of high levels of stress. Addressing or managing stress triggers may well help to moderate the hormonal changes relating to mood. Regular exercise, a healthy diet with regular meal times and the avoidance of simple carbohydrates which cause highs and lows in serum glucose can help to manage these issues. For those women who are suffering with chronic lethargy and tiredness, addressing issues of sleep hygiene may be very beneficial to both your overall wellbeing and mood.
There are many ways to manage issues with mood swings, depending on their underlying cause. There are hormonal medications, non-hormonal medications, and treatments available which may have an impact on things such as heavy menstrual bleeding or painful menstruation. If these issues are resolved, then this can have a positive effect on wellbeing, which may impact positively on your mood and how you feel.
For those going through the menopause, and experiencing lower oestrogen levels as a result, the consideration of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to address your oestrogen deficiency may be beneficial. Addressing other issues such low libido, vaginal dryness with soreness and painful sex will also impact on general wellbeing and mood. There are a number of potential treatments for this, including non-hormonal treatments such as MonaLisa Touch® laser treatment.
If you wish to address these issues in more detail, please book a consultation with Mr Francis Gardner. You may also be eligible for an appointment at his One Stop See and Treat clinic.