Menopause minus the mood swings - is "natural" the answer to a happy menopause?

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As the most widely endured of menopausal symptoms, the words ‘menopause’ and ‘mood swings’ go firmly hand in hand. But just because a symptom is commonplace, doesn’t mean it should be downplayed. Smart, focused, forceful women suddenly being reduced to puddles of emotion, isn’t something we should be accepting of and if you’ve ever described yourself as feeling low, erratic, or vastly overreacting, you’ll know just how disorientating menopause can be. The common thread is women saying that they don’t feel like themselves anymore and they don't understand why. Many feel as if they’re going crazy and others have lost all joy and excitement. When you lose motivation and that get-up-and-go factor, everything feels like hard work. Life becomes a performance we put on for the world and that can be exhausting.

Menopause, mood swings and emotional overload

So why does menopause evoke such low moods?

The reduction of progesterone disrupts sleep and causes physical discomfort such as hot flushes and aches, which are enough to make anyone cranky. Descending oestrogen then brings serotonin levels down with it, so we’re chemically less able to be happy and outgoing. But is there such a thing as a smooth, happy, harmonious menopause?

“Yes, absolutely there is,” says Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Dana James. “Perimenopause should be a smooth transition into menopause, not an upheaval or phase of complete disorientation. The key is to get your body to listen more effectively.”

This starts with rewriting the negative dialogue around hormones and stopping being such hormone haters. After all, hormones are the heroes here, not the villains. An integral part of our ancient biology, hormones are the chemical messengers that make up our entire internal hardwiring. It’s their complex interplay that keep our organs functioning and our bodies developing. Just as menstruation and conception, menopause is an essential stage in our reproductive life and all are engineered by hormones. Mood swings, night sweats, joint aches and fatigue are all negative side-effects of hormones functioning exactly how they’re designed to.

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Productivity hacks to maximise your menopausal mood swings

When your oestrogen levels are stable and you feel positive.

This is your window to be an effective communicator and inspire others. Oestrogen makes us sociable and able to connect with others. It’s also when you’re at your most creative, so this is when you should trust in your ideas, make decisions and form future plans.

When oestrogen levels are low and you feel wiped out.

This is Mother Nature pressing the pause button, so go with it. Use this time to seek solitude, take stock and be introspective. Make lists, create calmness, stretch your body instead of working out, maximise on nutrition and nourish yourself emotionally.

When your mood is low and you’re in a funk.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you’re feeling less accommodating, you let go of all those people pleasing impulses, your filters drop, barriers come down and you end up speaking your mind. This is the time to have calm, honest conversations about what you need from others - you might find you get what you really want.

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Natural remedies for menopausal mood swings

HRT might be the right route for you and if it feels good, go with it but there are many women who it’s not right for. “A woman who responded really well to the contraceptive pill, might be a great respondent to HRT but there’s a huge subset of women where they're not going to be great responders,” explains Dana James. In which case, time to try the numerous natural remedies from menopause mood swings.

  1. Acupuncture to alleviate menopause symptoms.

    The British Medical Journal now reports that regular acupuncture treatment is a viable alternative to HRT and has been proven to reduce common menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, low moods and joint pain.

  2. The super supplement for a gentle menopause.

    Touted by academics as the leading supplement for menopause symptoms, LYMA nourishes the adrenals that control hormone secretion without the need to add to the hormonal load, making it a natural alternative or an effective partner to HRT.
    • KSM-66® Ashwagandha, the world’s most peer-reviewed, leading adaptogen is unrivalled in its capability to create restful sleep as well as increasing the body’s sensitivity to progesterone.
    • Affron® is a fast-acting mood enhancer, shown in independent medical trials to reduce anxiety, increase mental resilience and balance emotional state.
    • Cognizin® a patented potent nootropic, provides the essential neural protection to enhance cognitive function and increase mental clarity.
  3. Breathe your way through menopausal mood swings

Focused breath work has been proven to reduce hot flushes and dissipate anxiety. Alternate nostril breathing, deep diaphragmatic breathing and paced breathing techniques with breath holding, practiced morning and evening, reduce central sympathetic activity and create a relaxation response within the body.

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See the good things about menopause, even the mood swings

There is a beautiful confidence in ageing; this is your time to create new things and a truly joyful time of life, understand the chemical changes that are going on and not beat yourself up about it. Yes, it's a journey and there’ll certainly be some bumps in the road but it can be a truly enlightening journey of discovering yourself.

Originally published Aug 27, 2021.
Written by Jess Lacey, Beauty & wellbeing Editor.

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