Hormonal mood swings can cause women to flip from a perfectly calm headspace to intense anger, frustration, or even rage within seconds. Considered vastly different from the usual emotional reactions that people have, hormonal mood swings can happen without warning and subside just as quickly.
It doesn’t mean you are going crazy, but rather these emotional surges are due to a chemical imbalance directly related to your hormonal fluctuations.
In this article, we’ll explain why women’s hormones fluctuate and how you can treat hormonal mood swings naturally.
Hormonal Mood Swings: Why Do They Happen?
Hormonal mood swings happen because of the direct relationship between the sex hormones and your emotions. Specifically, the link between estrogen and a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is responsible for mood regulation.
Moody teenagers during puberty experience an increase in sex hormones as the sexual organs (and hormones) develop. Pregnancy also includes sudden surges of estrogen and progesterone that can cause hormonal mood swings.
Puberty is well known for the development of the reproductive organs, like the ovaries and breasts, due to the increased production of sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. The increase in estrogen in particular also has a direct effect on the neurotransmitter serotonin.
In addition, adolescent girls are also experiencing, for the first time, a wider range of intense emotions as the prefrontal cortex in the brain develops. Learning how to navigate these new emotions can result in irritation, frustration, and mood swings for many teenagers.
Typically occurring 1-2 weeks before menstruation, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is known to affect 3 out of 4 women globally. Researchers believe that a drop in estrogen levels after ovulation is what causes PMS and symptoms like food cravings, tender breasts, sleep disruptions, cramps, and bloating.
Furthermore, it is understood that serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter that affects mood and happiness, is sufficiently produced when estrogen levels are normal. However, when estrogen levels are low, less serotonin is produced, and mood swings are more common.
Although it is a magical time, pregnancy can also be physically and emotionally challenging. Due to sudden surges of hormones, especially estrogen during the first and third trimesters, serotonin levels can decrease in response, resulting in hormonal mood swings.
Emotional upheavals during pregnancy are not only hormone related, however, they can also be caused by physical stress on the body, life worries, exhaustion, and changes in metabolism.
Perimenopause is referred to as the phase before menopause when the production of reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) begins to gradually decrease. Although it can start earlier for a small percentage of women, perimenopause usually begins in the early to mid-40s.
The direct link between estrogen and the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin is quite significant during perimenopause. Essentially, due to the decrease in estrogen levels, serotonin levels are also lower, meaning more volatile mood swings and a variety of additional symptoms like; irregular menstruation, loss of libido, slowed metabolism, hot flashes, night sweats, breast tenderness, insomnia, headaches, and vaginal dryness.
It is interesting to note that many women find their perimenopause mood swings to be more intense for 1-2 weeks and they then tend to recede for a month or two.
This is because during perimenopause estrogen levels are gradually dropping over time and each time estrogen drops, serotonin levels drop too. As soon as the body adapts to the sudden drop in estrogen, however, serotonin levels rise and so does your mood.
The phase of life called menopause begins when a woman has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months. Once menstruation halts, there is no further need to manage the reproductive system, so estrogen and progesterone levels drop quite significantly.
This large drop in estrogen can affect the production of serotonin and result in post-menopausal mood swings, as well as symptoms like brittle bones, osteoporosis, memory loss, incontinence, increased urinary tract infections, less natural lubrication, vaginal atrophy, and dyspareunia.
5 Natural Ways to Treat Hormonal Mood Swings
The most important thing to remember when it comes to hormonal mood swings is that while they might be intense they will not last forever. In the meantime, if you find that your mood swings are affecting your lifestyle, work, or relationships with family and friends, consider incorporating some of the following natural remedies to relieve them.
1. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise has been proven to be highly effective in treating low estrogen levels and mood swings associated with puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Interestingly, anaerobic exercises like HIIT sessions, circuit training, and pilates have proven more efficient in treating hormonal mood swings when compared with aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, or cycling.
That said, any exercise is good exercise when it comes to hormonal mood swings because exercise signals your body to make feel-good endorphins that raise your mood.
**Concerning anaerobic exercise, pregnant women are cautioned to work with a professional to avoid complications.
2. Allow & Accept
Every woman goes through hormonal mood swings at some stage of their life, whether it's down to puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, or menopause. Accepting the fact that your body is going through a natural change – a change that might sometimes cause you to react in intense anger or frustration - will help you to remember that it is not your choice, nor your fault. It simply is what it is, and you will get through it.
3. Discuss It Openly
Puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause are part of life and the hormonal mood swings associated with these phases are nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, openly discussing the chemical reactions that cause mood swings can help friends and family to understand that your emotions might become unbalanced at times.
Explaining the effects of puberty on the body can help teenagers to understand their frustrations and moodiness, for example. And discussing the symptoms caused by pregnancy, perimenopause, or menopause with family can help to increase awareness and understanding in younger generations about a subject that was considered taboo not very long ago.
4. Let It Go
Mood swings related to puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause do not last all day, nor do they last forever. In fact, they usually subside as quickly as they arise, but women often carry lingering guilt for their emotional outbursts.
Learning to let go of the episode without blame or shame can significantly help women to manage hormonal mood swings that essentially, they have no control over anyway.
5. Practice Being Mindful
Mind-body therapies like meditation, yoga, and breath work have been proven to help people become more aware of their feelings and reconnect to their happy place. It is also true that the more you practice, the easier it is to stay calm when anger arises. Experts recommend starting the day with a mind-body practice before speaking with anyone, checking your phone, or having a coffee.
And because this quiet me-time is significantly beneficial for women experiencing hormonal mood swings throughout their life, experts also advise starting mindful practices during puberty. Learning calming breathing techniques that can be used throughout the day when you feel anger or frustration brewing can also be incredibly helpful.
6. Look at Your Diet
Never underestimate the value of a healthy and well-balanced diet. Not only does nutritious food help to maintain a physically fit body but it helps to support your hormonal health too.
The comedown from sugar and processed foods can add to the irritation associated with hormonal mood swings, so try cutting down and instead eat more whole foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, legumes, and nuts. Drinking 1-2 liters of water per day is highly beneficial too as dehydration can also be a cause of mood swings.
7. Chasteberry (Vitex) Supplements
One of the best natural treatments for hormonal mood swings associated with perimenopause and menopause is a supplement called Chasteberry. Also referred to by its Latin name, Vitex agnus-castus, Chasteberry has been used as a natural remedy for women’s reproductive health for over 2500 years and comes highly recommended by modern female health experts.
When taken every day for at least three months, Chasteberry Supplements from Intimate Rose help to treat low estrogen levels, regulate mood swings, and soothe additional perimenopause and menopausal symptoms like; hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, osteoporosis, lack of libido and interrupted sleep.
It is, however, important to note that Chasteberry is not recommended for mood swings related to puberty or pregnancy.
Hormonal mood swings are often compared to a rollercoaster ride for good reason. Proven to be very different from an everyday outburst, the chemical imbalance behind hormonal mood swings can cause women to become passionately volatile within a matter of seconds and perfectly calm just as quickly.
Although some women believe that mood swings are part of the parcel when it comes to puberty, perimenopause, and menopause, this could not be further from the truth. Hormonal mood swings can be treated naturally with just a few healthy lifestyle changes and the right natural supplements.
If you feel as if you are experiencing hormonal mood swings, consider trying some of the above-mentioned natural treatments.
Women’s Health – Premenstrual Syndrome - https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome
American Pregnancy – Mood Swings During Pregnancy - https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/mood-swings-during-pregnancy/
Mayo Clinic – Perimenopause - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666
Women’s Health – Menopause - https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics#3
National Library of Medicine - Effect of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on estrogen level, fat mass, and muscle mass among postmenopausal osteoporotic females https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619462/
National Library of Medicine - Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus Extracts with Placebo in Reducing Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Double-Blind Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887765/
National Library of Medicine - Self-silencing, anger, and depressive symptoms in women: implications for prevention and intervention - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19842355/
Maturitis – Mind-Body therapies for menopausal symptoms – A Systemic Review - https://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(10)00043-5/fulltext