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Mood changes is among the most common symptoms of menopause. Women in their 40s or 50s experience a shift in hormones, resulting in menopause. The two key hormones that contribute to menopausal changes are estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen and progesterone are produced in the ovaries. Throughout a woman’s life, they contribute to overall reproductive health. They regulate her monthly period and play an important role in pregnancy.
Although estrogen is the main reproductive hormone in women, its function is also important in several other body processes. Estrogen regulates the levels of other hormones that contribute to mood. For example, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are all affected by estrogen. When estrogen drops during menopause, these three hormones began to fluctuate resulting in lower moods.
Menopausal women experience mood swings similar to that of PMS. But not all women go through mood changes during menopause. Factors that increase the risk of menopausal mood changes include a history of depression and high stress.
Up to 70 percent of women experience early menopause report irritability as the main mood change. Others also experience feelings of sadness, crying episodes, depression, stress, and anxiety.
Mood changes can worsen with insomnia, too. Almost half of menopausal women struggle with interrupted sleep which interferes with daily activities, exacerbating mood swings.
To relieve mood changes, women going through menopause can adjust their lifestyle habits. They are encouraged to exercise regularly and eat more healthy foods. Some women choose to take up yoga or art therapy as self-calming activities. Another treatment method is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.
HRT is a form of hormone therapy that replaces the body’s low levels of estrogen and progesterone. Based on the patient’s preferences, different types of HRT can be used. HRT can be administered in the form of pills, patches, or creams. These methods replenish estrogen in the body which helps relieve menopausal symptoms and reduce mood changes.
HRT pills are ingested on a daily basis whereas patches are used less frequently. Long-term HRT treatment can take the form of an implant ring. The implant is embedded in the women’s abdomen and release hormones regularly over several months.
Before starting HRT, women explain their symptoms in detail to a specialist. Mood changes alone may not be a sign of menopause but of more serious mental health disorders. Women who experience severe depression may need to take antidepressants or receive psychotherapy in addition to HRT. However, if mood swings are also accompanied by other menopausal signs such as hot flashes, fatigue, and sleep problems, it is more likely that estrogen imbalance is the root cause.
Once a specialist can confirm menopause, they examines the patient’s medical history to check for certain preexisting conditions like heart disease. Women with a history of heart disease or gallbladder disease may not be eligible for HRT.
Dr. David Nazarian specializes in bioidentical HRT. Bioidentical hormones are produced as similar replicas of the body’s natural hormones. Hormone Replacement Therapy LA administers bioidentical HRT to treat hormone imbalances in menopausal women.
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