Scary Ladies: How to Fight Perimenopausal Mood Swings

scary ladyOne day you’re as peppy as a poppy flower; the next day (or make that minute) you’re as evil as a witch. No, it’s not because it’s Halloween. It’s because you’re in perimenopause.

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!


Ellen Dolgen

Ellen Dolgen

Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women’s health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

Menopause MondaysTM is a platform from which Ellen reaches the true needs of her readers through varied and substantive discussions of menopause, women’s health, and the modern woman’s life today as a menopausal woman. Her weekly newsletter provides readers the most current menopause news and research. With her updates,women gain access and the knowledge needed to take charge of their health and happiness. Her motto is: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

In addition to Ellen’s ever-growing social media presence, has fast become “the place” on the web for informative and entertaining women’s menopause and wellness engagement. Ellen is #1 on Dr. Oz Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Menopause. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 Mondays was named first on the list of the “Best Menopause Blogs” by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women’s health blogs.

Ellen has founded a women’s health and wellness program that provides corporate education events for businesses, healthcare institutions, and other organizations. She produces and facilitates Menopause Mondays PartiesTM for organizations across the country. In addition, she works with pharmaceutical companies in helping them to have new point of view in order to better understand and address women’s health needs. Ellen chaired a social media roundtable for Novo Nordisk in 2012. In 2013, Ellen was a key spokesperson for GLAMTM (Great Life After Menopause), a non-branded campaign sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

Ellen serves on the Community Advisory Board of Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla and has chaired and served on various boards and committees for Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, San Diego Hospice, Brandeis University, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, NARAL, the Phoenix Heart Ball, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Weizmann Institute of Science, Angel Charity for Children, Brewster Auxiliary, and Handmaker Home for the Aging. Ellen’s lifelong commitment to philanthropy through board representation, fundraising, and event organization continues with her founding of her weekly newsletter, Menopause MondaysTM, which promotes viable women’s health practices and wellbeing for women around the world.

Ellen has appeared on the “TODAY Show”, “TODAY Kathie Lee & Hoda”, “The Katie Show,” “NBC Nightly News”, “The Rachael Ray Show,” “The Doctors,” Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets. In 2011, she appeared in a production of “The Vagina Monologues.” Ellen was one of the first regular contributors to debut on The Huffington Post’s “Huff/Post50,” which targets 116 million Americans over the age of 50.

Ellen is the founder and president of Menopause MondaysTM and is a principal of Dolgen Ventures.

Like Ellen Dolgen on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and Pinterest, connect with her on LinkedIn, Google+, and Klout, watch her videos on YouTube, and subscribe to her newsletter.


  1 comment for “Scary Ladies: How to Fight Perimenopausal Mood Swings

  1. October 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    During menopause too, great tips!

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