Can Perimenopause Make You Feel Crazy?
The short version of this blog post is, "Yes."
Because permenopause really can make you feel crazy. And in this article & video we'll look at
- How this happens: How the hormonal changes of permenpause can affect your mood so much
- What it feels like when it happens so you can recognize it when it's happening to you
- Three strategies you can use to feel better if this happens to you
How Can Changing Hormones Cause Perimenopause Mood Changes?
What's the mechanism that causes it? Let's look at four ways perimenopause can cause mood swings.
Lower levels of Estrogen and Progesterone
Hormonal changes affect mood because you have lower levels estrogen and progesterone. As you go through your 30s 40s & 50s your ovaries start to fail. They produce less estrogen and progesterone, and they produce it less consistently and evenly, and ovulation can become intermittent.
Lower Estrogen Affects Your Brain
There are a lot of estrogen receptors in your brain! So an uneven or insuficient supply of estrogen makes the brain change - and not in a happy way.
Your brain tries to compensate for every fluctuation in estrogen, and it affects the production of your mood-regulating chemicals including serotonin and endorphins!
This can lead to mood swings, temper tantrums, depression, and surprising highs followed by unexpected lows that seem to have no external cause.
Also around this age its common for the brain receptors to become less sensitive to estrogen so its harder for the estrogen you do still have to register with your brain consistently.
So estrogen is directly related to your brain, and that's one way your ovaries making less hormones can lead to mood changes and feeling "crazy."
Lower Progesterone Levels Are Related To Stress
Progesterone is the calming feel good hormone. When all of a sudden you have less of it, it's like someone took a fuzzy blanket off your nerve endings.
So with lower progesterone levels during perimenopuase it's common to bome more irritable, have less patience, and less tolerance for things that didn't used to faze you.
It can alsomake it harder to sleep. And it's easier for things to tip you over and get you angry, so your stress hormone levels often start spiking a lot more often. And higher stress levels create another cascade of hormonal changes - including actually decreasing progesterone even more!
So thats how your ovaries making less progesterone can lead to mood changes and feeling "crazy."
Higher Cortisol Levels
This leads us right into #2 - cortisol levels.
Cortisol is your stress hormone, and it can get out of control much more easily once you hit perimenopause.
These higher stress levels can cause mood swings, difficultly sleeping, and fatigue - not to mention weight gain and increased inflammation.
When stress chemicals are coursing through your bloodstream, it definitely affects your mood (and can even cause what some think of as menopause crazy behavior!)
Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood during perimenopause
Not getting sufficient sleep can make brain fog, fatigue, your ability to concentrate, and irritability worse.
That's part one - how changing hormones can lead to feeling "crazy," Now I want to talk about what it feels like when it happens.
What Does It Feel Like When Perimenopausal Hormonal Changes Affect Your Mood?
This is improtant because if this happens to you and you dont realize it could be hormonal - you'll just think you're losing your mind and that is way scarier.
Plus if you dont know its caused by hormones, you wont be able to fix it, because as well talk about in the next section, balancing hormones is the key to feeling better.
If you havent experienced these perimenopausal mood changes yet, they can be really intense.
In fact midlife expert Melissa Cliff says, "many women report that their greatest struggle in perimenopause is with the psychological symptoms."
So heres what it can feel like
Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
One thing you can experience is forgetfullness and difficulty concentrating.
I had a student once who had gone back to school for a graduate degree in her 40s.
She did incredibly well the first year and a half - all her assignments were done on time, and her grades were stellar.
Then halfway through her second year she suddenly developed a number of symptoms of perimenopause including brain fog.
She said she'd sit and read the same page in her textbook over and over and over - and it just wouldnt make any sense. She wasnt completing any of her assignments and was just about ready to withdraw from her classes and take a break from her graduate program. she didnt want to but she was afraid she'd fail out if she didn't!
Feeling way more sensitive
You're fazed so much more easily. Things that didn't used to bother you cause rage or tears or total upset. It could be crying at commercials on TV or not being able to let something go that happened during the day.
As webmd says, "You cry at the drop of a hat, when every single molehill looks like a mountain, and, yes, a time when even a seemingly innocent comment from a good friend can leave you screaming mad or unbearably hurt."
Less patience and increased irritability
It's also common to have less patience, increased irritability, and even rage.
I have so many students who either have kids or work with kids and notice when their hormones are out of balance they're yelling at the kids.
I had one client who said, "whatever was in those pills you gave me, my family thanks you!"
And another who said at her work with kids, once she stared on herbs the irritability and spikes in frustration she was feeling got better, which was what she needed to get through the day surrounded by kids!
Sudden severe mood swings (emotional lability)
Another thing you might feel is sudden and severe perimenopausal mood swings.
I had one student who said her son said to her one day, "When you walk into a room these days, we never know which one of you its going to be."
Because sometimes she was like her old calm and loving self - and other times she was so irritable and edgy she'd snap at anyone who said anything.
So the changes can be pretty severe.
So we talked about how it happens, and what it feels like, now lets talk about what you can do to get relief from hormones that make you feel crazy.
Three Things you Can do For Perimenopausal Mood Chages - and the pros and cons of Each
Sleeping pills and anti-depressants
One of the common recommendations you might get for perimenopausal symptoms is to take sleeping pills and antidepressants.
These might help control some of the symptoms, and if you have a primary psychological disorder don;t discount this option.
But if the cause of your mood changes is primarily hormonal, then to me this is a band-aid. It isn't getting to the root of the problem - hormonal balance.
Address it on the hormonal level
Addressing perimenopausal mood changes by balancing hormones is a favorite of mine, because as it kicks in, all the perimenopausal discomforts you're having can become so much more mild at once.
Sure you might still have moments of increased stress or anxiety, but they're so much easier to manage.
My favorite way to do this is with herbal remedies supported by a hormone-friendly diet. (See below for help getting started.)
Practice stress management
Practice stress management and good sleep habits.
This is also a favorite of mine. I recommend combining this with hormonal balancing for a complete solution.
While the hormonal balancing is working on the cause of your discomforts, it's important to also manage stress levels and try to get enough sleep.
Because if you're not sleeping or stress is raging out of control - the hormonal balancing really wont have much of a chance.
The best ways to manage stress levels are with daily meditation or deep breathing exercises and good sleep habits.
Now that you know what's going on, let's look at how I can help you start getting relief right away.
What To Do Now To Start Getting Relief
So if this is happening to you, or you want to prevent it from happening as you progress through perimenopause and menopause, there are two things you want to do
- Balance hormones with herbal remedies and diet
Get started with the free resources below:
And remember, there's a reason why these mood changes happen.
Once you understand whey they're happening you can feel better by controlling your hormones.
You can feel great during & after menopause. You can enjoy menopause.
Guide: Use Smoothies to Manage Menopause Without Drugs
Thanks so much for joining me today! Please put your questions & comments in the comments section below, I'd truly love to hear from you!
And please note, if your mood changes are severe and are interfering with your ability to function, don't wait to seek help. Explore the possibility of a hormonal cause, and other possible causes as well.
For those with psychological disorders, I apologize for any slight caused by my use of the word "crazy." It's very popular in google searches, and I wanted this information to find those who needed it.
This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://danalavoielac.com/disclaimer-2/