Mood swings are intense, sudden changes in temperament that may seem out of line with the situation. Chronic and severe mood swings are a psychological disorder, a health problem every bit as real as a physical ailment.
In fact, they're sometimes the result of a physiological problem, like a premenstrual syndrome (PMS). And just like a physiological problem, they can be treated. Continue reading to learn the ins and outs of mood swings.
Menopausal women undergoing hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) may experience adverse mood swings, an effect which is more severe in women with a history of PMS.
Mood swings can be produced by a great variety of causes. However, when women approach menopause, the main cause is hormonal imbalance. The fluctuation in estrogen levels produces changes not only in body functioning, but also in mental health. Likewise, mood swings often occur at other times when hormone levels are out of balance, which is why many women experience them as a part of PMS.
There are many potential causes of mood swings, but they are grouped in two: psychological and physiological causes. The most important thing in getting the right treatment for mood swings is to find out whether your problem is psychological, physiological, or a combination of both.
Mood swings caused by bipolar disorder should be treated by a psychiatrist. In contrast, stress, overwork, and fatigue should be managed by scheduling rest and leisure time and integrating an exercise program into your life. Keep in mind that in most cases, a combination of psychological and physiological treatments is the best option to manage mood swings.
Estrogen and other hormones play a role in regulating the body's neurotransmitters. When hormone levels fluctuate, mood often follows. Because mood swings are often caused by low hormone levels, a hormone-balancing program is a good solution for many.
Mood swings are typically just an indication of a decline in estrogen levels. Therefore, the best and most effective way to treat mood swings is to control its root cause and balance hormone levels.
Three approaches for the treatment of mood swings
There are three levels of treatments for mood swings:
- (1) Lifestyle changes,
- (2) Alternative medicine
- (3) Medications.
It is recommended to start with the least risky approach, lifestyle changes, and go on to riskier approaches only if necessary.
The first level involves no risk but may be the hardest way to go. You'll have to change many habits of your daily life, so if you are considering this approach, you will need a positive outlook and strong motivation.
Nonetheless, techniques for stress reduction (e.g., yoga), a diet rich in estrogenic food (soy, alfalfa, cherries, rice, and yams), or even becoming more fit by doing regular exercises will have positive effects on the treatment of mood swings.
It's not easy to follow through with this approach, which is why you might want to consider the next level of treatment. Alternative medicine can also serve as a way to balance hormone levels and treat mood swings.
Alternative approaches involve little or no risk and can be considered the safest way to treat mood swings. In this approach, herbal remedies are the most effective option.
There are basically two types of herbs to treat mood swings: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs (e.g., soy, black cohosh) contain plant estrogens. Therefore, these herbs replace the missing estrogen; unfortunately, phytoestrogenic herbs may make the body less able to produce its own hormones if used over a long period of time.
Unlike phytoestrogenic herbs, hormone-regulating herbs don't contain any estrogen. Instead, these herbs nourish your hormonal glands for healthy production of your own natural hormones. This ultimately ends up balancing overall hormone levels. Due to this, hormone-regulating herbs, like Macafem, can be considered the safest way of naturally treating mood swings.
From Nature & Health magazine, Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
A combination of approaches is a good route to take for many women. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will likely take care of mood swings in a more efficient way than either approach alone.
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs, and they are often not necessary to manage typical mood swings. The most common drug therapy in the U.S. for the treatment of mood swings, especially during the menopause transition, is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There's no doubt that this is the quickest and strongest way to combat hormonal imbalance; unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different types of cancer.
Remember that these three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. You can use different approaches at different times or combine several at the same time. Nowadays, more and more women are finding that the best treatment for mood swings during menopause is accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.