Mood and Hormone Balance for women in their 40s
As women enter their 40s it is not uncommon to experience changes to their mood. Subtle changes can emerge slowly and often be one of the first signs of perimenopause and hormone change.
Although changes to your mood and emotional wellbeing can be very unsettling at times, there are plenty of ways to minimise these symptoms
Hormones Balance and Mood
If you have ever felt down or irritable before starting your period, you will know that hormones can affect your mood and wellbeing.
Oestrogen helps regulate several hormones which have mood-boosting properties for example serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. It also helps the sharpness of your thinking skills and when levels reduce, the resulting ‘brain fog’ can lower your mood.
Progesterone has a calming effect on your mood, as well as aiding sleep and relaxation. And like estrogen, when progesterone levels drop, it can cause a rise in irritability and mood swings.
Testosterone is thought to have important effects on your mental stamina, quality of sleep, clarity of thought and concentration, and mood stability.
When oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate and fall during perimenopause, the effects on your mental health and wellbeing can be significant and impact on your daily life and those around you.
Common Mood Fluctuations
Hormonal shifts, particularly during perimenopause, can give rise to a range of common mood fluctuations. These include:
- Mood Swings: The fluctuations of hormones can lead to sudden mood shifts, from elation to irritability. Recognising the pattern of these mood swings empowers women to navigate them with self-awareness.
- Anxiety: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly a decline in oestrogen, can amplify feelings of anxiety. Women may experience heightened worry, restlessness, and tension, impacting their daily lives.
- Irritability: Hormone changes, notably the variations in progesterone levels, may trigger emotional sensitivity and irritability. Small stressors can elicit stronger emotional responses.
- Emotional Sensitivity: Heightened emotional sensitivity becomes more pronounced during hormonal fluctuations. Situations that were once manageable may trigger stronger reactions.
- Fatigue and Mood: Fluctuations in hormones can contribute to fatigue, which in turn affects mood. Feeling tired and drained can influence emotional well-being.
- Low Mood or Sadness: Some women may experience periods of low mood or even sadness. Hormonal changes can impact serotonin levels, influencing emotional states.
Do Mood Swings Stop After Menopause?
Mood swings do lessen for some women, but not for all. Once menopausal (women have not menstruated for 12 consecutive months) there is no further need to manage the reproductive system, so oestrogen and progesterone levels drop even more significantly.
While mood swings may persist to some extent post-menopause, they tend to diminish as hormonal fluctuations settle.
Mood Swings: How To Treat Them
Mood swings can sometimes feel like an unpredictable storm, disrupting your emotional landscape and affecting your overall well-being. Whether you’re navigating the challenges of perimenopause, menopause, or simply seeking a more balanced life, these practical strategies may help your mood and promote hormone equilibrium.
- Find your hapy place: Mood swings related to hormones do not last all day, nor do they last forever. In fact, they usually subside as quickly as they arise, and learning to let go of the episode without blame or shame can significantly help women to manage this time of life. By tuning into your emotions without judgment, you can identify triggers and patterns behind your mood swings. This heightened emotional awareness empowers you to respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively. Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and journaling, provide valuable tools to navigate mood swings and foster a sense of control over your emotions.
- Balanced Nutrition: Eating better and drinking the right amount of water will have a beneficial impact on your mood as well as well as supporting your hormonal health. Focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods that support hormonal health. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, to promote brain function and mood stability. Antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables combat inflammation and oxidative stress, contributing to emotional well-being.
- Stress Management Techniques: Stress is a significant contributor to mood swings, often exacerbating their intensity. Engaging in stress management techniques is essential to restore hormonal harmony. Incorporate practices such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and spending time in nature. These activities activate the body’s relaxation response, easing tension and calming the nervous system.
- Regular Exercise: Physical activity is a natural mood enhancer. When you engage in regular exercise, your body releases endorphins – often referred to as “feel-good” hormones – which can alleviate stress, improve mood, and contribute to hormone balance. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, whether it’s brisk walks, dancing, cycling, or yoga, and make it a consistent part of your lifestyle.
- Prioritise Sleep and Rest: Quality sleep is essential for hormone regulation and emotional well-being. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for 7-9 hours of restorative sleep each night. Create a calming bedtime routine that includes activities such as reading, gentle stretching, or a warm bath to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. A comfortable sleep environment – with dim lighting and a cool room temperature – can also enhance sleep quality.
- Seek Professional Support: If mood swings persist, intensify, or significantly impact your daily life, seeking professional support is a proactive step towards emotional wellness. Healthcare professionals can provide personalized guidance and explore potential hormonal imbalances. Hormone testing, therapeutic interventions, and counseling can be tailored to address your unique needs.
In the journey towards achieving hormone balance and managing mood swings, remember that progress is a gradual process. Each day presents an opportunity to implement these strategies, allowing you to regain emotional control, nurture your well-being, and embrace life with greater harmony.
Book a free Nourishing call if you need any help.