Signs of menopause irritability are elevated stress, insomnia, bursting with anger, overreacting. reduced patience, reduced tolerance and frustration. Sound familiar?
The best way to handle this symptom is to understand it.
Irritability is the excessive reaction to stimuli, including environmental, situational, emotional and sociological stimuli. It is usually used to refer to frustration or anger.
When a woman is undergoing the menopausal transition, she encounters various types of emotional and physical effects. Menopause irritability is a common emotional complaint of perimenopause and postmenopausal women.
Women in perimenopause, the transitional phase leading to menopause, notice a lack of stability in their feelings which is one of the key reasons for menopause irritability. This symptom is initially experienced quite subtly and then tends to be more persistent and severe which can lead to problems in relationships and every day interactions. If you have a history of premenstrual syndrome or mood disorders, irritability could worsen over the years.
Menopause irritability will probably not be your normal state and this can cause you to feel guilty about your outbursts. It is important that you forgive yourself for any outburst and apologise and explain why this is happening. Staying angry, guilty or ashamed by your outburst may give the incident more power over you.
Other symptoms of menopause such as insomnia, fatigue, night sweats, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and concentration difficulties can all contribute to irritability.
It remains an area of controversy whether or not mood symptoms are independently associated with hormonal change or whether they are secondary to other symptoms of menopause such as insomnia – research is presently lacking in this area.
There are a number of lifestyle changes and alternative therapies that you can try to help alleviate this symptom, however, in the event that symptoms of irritability persist and is disrupting your life you must seek advice from your Healthcare Professional.
Symptoms of Irritability
• Less tolerance of people and events
• Muscular tension
• Feeling on edge
• Reduced patience
• Increased stress
• Angry outbursts
• Mood swings
• Jaw clenching
Estrogen has a direct, multifaceted, effect on the brain’s regulation of emotion and mood.
Progesterone has a relaxant or sedative effect.
As the production of estrogen and progesterone start to decline, irritability can occur.
Chronically high stress levels and poor nutrition can amplify the effects of changing estrogen and progesterone levels.
• Major life events/changes
• History of depression, mood disorders
• Physical inactivity
• Caffeine, alcohol, drugs
• Poor nutrition Physical Causes
• Drug withdrawal/reaction
• Headaches and migraines
• Viral Infections
• Diabetes, Hypoglycemia
Lifestyle Changes to Combat Menopause Irritability
Chocolate can boost mood temporarily but it may also worsen irritability. As a precaution women should consume dark chocolate in moderation.
- Exercising regularly can immediately bring you out of any outburst that may be brewing. When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins which can produce feelings of euphoria and a general state of well being.
- Eat a healthy well balanced diet. Avoid all kinds of processed foods.Take a high quality menopause supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps.
- Practice relaxation techniques and contemplative practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation.
- Avoid alcohol and tranquillisers.
- Engage in a creative outlet.
- Take steps to ensure that you get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors in reducing your stress hormone, cortisol.
- Take steps to balance your hormones with safe natural menopause solutions.Take time for yourself or in the company of positive people. It is also a good idea to talk to women who are experiencing the same symptoms.
- Pursue pleasurable calming hobbies.
- Maintain open communication with your loved ones.
Anxiety, Irritability & Anger in Perimenopause, Menopause & Postmenopause. Retrieved from http://www.yourhormones.com/protocols/anxiety_irritability_menopause.html
menopause, Irritability & Mood Swings. Retrieved from http://www.gotmenopause.com/irritability/
Irritability. Retrieved from http://www.menopausecentre.com.au/Symptoms-Irritability-menopause
Spyropoulou, A., Zervas, I. et al. (Apr 2008) A study of irritability in menopausal women. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22217928
Symptoms – irritability and mood swings. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealthnetwork.com/yourhealth/symptoms/moodswings.aspx