During perimenopause, fluctuating levels of ovarian hormones can spur severe highs and lows that might make your family think you have a closet full of Halloween masks. Plus, night sweats and fatigue are all-too common during perimenopause—and I don’t have to tell you that a tired woman is a cranky one!
Still, some perimenopausal women are more at risk for mood swings than are others. “Some women are simply more influenced by the estrogen and progesterone in their bodies,” writes Dr. Risa Kagan, MD, a gynecologist with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees for The North American Menopause Society. “We don’t understand why some are more sensitive, but it’s clear that they are. That sensitivity impacts the body in many ways, but also influences the neurotransmitters in the brain. Mood changes are not ‘all in the woman’s head’ or ‘imaginary.’” What’s more, according to The North American Menopause Society, women who had severe PMS in their younger years may have more severe mood swings during perimenopause.
So whatever mask you’re wearing right now, get ready to take it off! Here are three ways to fight perimenopausal mood swings and feel like yourself again:
Skip on Sugar
Sure, the sweet stuff will give your mood a boost, but it’ll be followed by an even lower low. “Refined carbs such as white bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes release glucose into the bloodstream quickly, which can lead to high-low mood swings and weight gain, not to mention making you feel tired,” says Susan Wysocki, WHNP, FAANP, president at iWoman’s Health. Her recommendation: “Opt for low-glycemic carbs like wholegrain breads, cereals, and pastas that will provide energy without causing moodiness and fatigue.” Learn how to ease menopausal symptoms with food.
Get More Sleep
Like I said, sleepy lady = crabby lady. So make sleep a priority, not an “I’ll fit it in when I can” sort of thing. Set a schedule that guarantees you at least eight hours of sleep a night, going to bed and waking up at the same time every night. To help you keep it up, avoid alcohol, caffeine, large meals, and physical activity before bed, according to the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While you’re at it, turn off your gadgets before you head to the bedroom. According to growing research from the Australian Sleep Association, laptops, smart phones, and tablets emit about half the illumination of an ordinary room light—more than enough to trick your body into thinking it’s time for bright eyes and bushy tails. Get more tips for curing insomnia during menopause.
Break a Sweat
“Exercise, exercise, exercise is the best proven ‘natural method’ for fighting depression. 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week is necessary to experience this effect, but you don’t need to sign up for a marathon or a boot camp—walking, biking, swimming all work fine if you do enough of them,” says Dr. Julia Frank, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center. Plus, according to research published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, exercise significantly reduces feelings of anger, confusion, fatigue, tension, and vigor. A better body and a better mood? Yes, please!
This Halloween, let the kiddos do the dressing up! Slash your mood swings, achieve hormone happiness, and toss your broomstick for good!
Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
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