What To Do When Menopause Mood Changes Are In Full Swing

What To Do When Menopause Mood Changes Are In Full Swing

Women experience a range of symptoms during menopause and changes to mood are no exception. With this marked decline of estrogen, some women may experience irritability, anxiety, stress, and even downright depression. In fact, studies have shown that up to one quarter of women experience mood changes associated with perimenopause and menopause (1). These can be serious symptoms, deserving of attention. 


What causes menopause mood swings?

Many women experience some degree of mood change during menopause. In this time, estrogen levels fluctuate and less progesterone is produced, which can disrupt serotonin production, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter (2) and lead to emotional distress, and mood swings. Other symptoms associated with menopause, such as night sweats and its associated sleep disturbances, may also adversely impact mood. 

This phase of life can bring with it a range of new stressful life situations to consider. Many women are caring for children while also helping aging parents and navigating major life changes or age-related health conditions. This combination can create a perfect storm of sorts for many women going through menopause, which can ultimately lead to mood changes.

If you’re experiencing disruptive mood changes and/or depressive symptoms, it is always encouraged to reach out to your healthcare practitioner for guidance.


Can menopause cause anxiety?

Anxiety can appear at any age, but fluctuating hormones during menopause may be a trigger for some women. Panic attacks can feel oddly similar to hot flashes or night sweats. They both cause your heart to race, your body to sweat, and shortness of breath (3). The connection between estrogen and anxiety, however, is still relatively unclear. If you’re experiencing severe anxiety or panic attacks, talk to your healthcare practitioner.


What to do about menopause mood swings, anxiety, and more

While researchers may not not fully understand hormones’ role in mood changes, women can start to take small steps now to better manage symptoms during this often-times stressful transition (2, 3):

  • Listen to your body. Your body is going through a big change. Your hormones are rising and falling throughout the day. If you need to rest more than usual or cut back on your workload, that’s okay. Listen to your body—it’s sending you signals about what it needs, and it’s never been more important to pay attention to those signals than right now.

  • Trust that this is temporary. Most of the mood changes that begin during menopause don’t last. Even if you’ve had to reach out for treatment during this time, you probably won’t need that treatment forever. Studies show these hormone-related risks ease with time, the further away from menopause you get (3).

  • Remember you’re not alone. There are many women out there struggling to maintain emotional balance. Reach out to the people you trust and share your experiences or ask them to share their own. It can help to hear how other women are dealing with this change.

  • Sleep in and sleep long. Losing sleep can make your mood worse. Seek out ways to get in the hours you need. Try swapping your curtains for light-blocking ones, investing in a comfortable sleep mask, or brewing up some sleepy time tea to help you drift off. Little changes to your nightly routine can go a long way.

  • Delight in your healthy diet. A well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In general, better overall nutrition contributes greatly to better overall health. ​​

  • Enjoy treats in moderation. Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods can exacerbate menopause symptoms. This includes mood swings, sleep disturbances, and hot flashes. Cutting back on your intake can help reduce their effects.

Settling into the new 

Menopause is a major life transition. And, hormones are a powerful force that affect many body systems. It’s normal to feel different during this time and it’s okay to feel like everything is changing. Embrace what this change means for you and continue looking forward to all this new phase of life has to offer. 



◊Equelle.com online survey of US women (n= 9,150) from Sept 2019 – April 2020

  1. Depression, mood swings, anxiety, sexual side effects of menopause | The North American Menopause Society, NAMS. (n.d.). https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/depression-mood-swings-anxiety 

  2. Society, E. (2022, March 31). Menopause. Endocrine Society. https://www.endocrine.org/patient-engagement/endocrine-library/menopause 

  3. Harvard Health. (2020, March 1). Menopause and mental health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/menopause-and-mental-health