Mood swings are significant changes in mood that come and go in a short period of time. They can occur in anyone and have various causes. In women, mood swings can occur as part of the typical hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. They can also be the result of medical problems that require treatment.
What are mood swings?
Mood swings are significant changes in a person’s emotional state. They can start suddenly and without warning, and can dissipate just as quickly. They are different from the mood swings people experience in everyday life. It is natural for emotions to change over time. Sometimes they can change quickly in response to a shocking or upsetting situation. In people with mood swings, however, the change is usually more intense than that, and may not be related to life events.
What can cause mood swings in women?
There are several causes of mood swings that specifically affect women. Here are a few:
1 Premenstrual syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a collection of symptoms that can occur one to two weeks before your period. Over 90% of women experience premenstrual symptoms, which can include mood swings.
Other symptoms of PMS are:
– food cravings
– swollen or tender breasts
– constipation or diarrhea
– more or less sleep than usual
PMS is caused by hormonal changes that occur before menstruation, but scientists don’t understand why it affects some people more than others.
Some people find that certain types of hormonal contraceptives help reduce significant symptoms of PMS. But it may be necessary to try several types of contraceptives to find the right one.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a serious premenstrual condition that causes significant irritability, anxiety, or depression one to two weeks before your period begins. Symptoms usually subside soon after the onset of menstruation.
Symptoms may include:
– mood swings
– a feeling of anger and irritability
– a feeling of tension or anxiety
– a lack of interest in things the person usually likes
– difficulty concentrating
– difficulty sleeping
– feelings of hopelessness or suicidal thoughts.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes PMDD, but it could be linked to changes in a person’s hormones or serotonin levels before their period. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood and cognition, among other things. Treatment options include certain types of hormonal birth control or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In severe cases, some may consider inducing early menopause by taking medication, or undergoing surgery.
Mood swings are a common sign of pregnancy, and can start as early as the first few weeks after conception. Other early pregnancy symptoms include
– the absence of rules
– tender or swollen breasts
– food cravings
– vomiting (morning sickness)
– stomach pains
– more frequent urination.
If pregnancy is possible, the person should buy an over-the-counter pregnancy test or see a doctor.
Menopause is when a person’s periods stop naturally. The previous phase is perimenopause, when a woman’s reproductive hormones begin to decline. Perimenopause usually begins when a person reaches their early 40s, but sometimes it can start earlier. During this time, estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, which can affect serotonin production. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including mood swings.
Hormone replacement therapy can boost low estrogen and progesterone levels, while SSRIs can help stabilize serotonin levels, which can improve mood. But these drugs can have side effects, so it is important to discuss them with a doctor.
Other medical causes
While mood swings can have hormonal causes, there are also a number of other causes that can affect people of any gender. These include in particular:
Puberty: As a person goes through puberty during adolescence, their hormonal levels change dramatically. This can cause strong emotions and sudden mood swings that are more intense than usual.
Mental health issues: Some mental health disorders cause mood swings regardless of a person’s menstrual cycle. These include borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymia. People with substance abuse disorders may also experience significant mood swings as a result of using or stopping a particular drug.
Neurological disorders: People can develop mood changes as a result of conditions such as migraine, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and many others.
Medications: Many medications can negatively impact mood as a side effect, including some of the medications used by doctors to treat mood disorders. Some examples are antidepressants, hormonal contraceptives and steroids. Sometimes the side effects are mild or go away over time, but that’s not always the case.