Posts Tagged "mood swings"

The domino effect

Posted by on Oct 26, 2009 in emotions, hot flash, menopause, nightsweats, sleep disturbance | 2 comments


I’ve never heard of the term ‘Domino Effect’ being applied to menopause, although, if one thinks about it, it makes perfect sense. For example, hot flashes beget sleep disruptions beget mood swings, and so on and and so on.

But do they?

In a study published in Menopause Journal ahead-of-print,  55 women were asked to keep daily records of their symptoms for up to five years or until they fully entered menopause. whichever came first. The researchers then evaluated whether or not changes in hot flashes or night sweats would predict a change in sleep the very same day, and if these changes then predicted changes in moods the next day. They also factored in whether or not women were initially depressed to insure that any results they found would not be unduly influenced.

They found that daily hot flashes or night sweats accurately predicted same day sleep problems and disruptions, which in turn, worsened moods the next day. However, the researchers were unable to connect hot flashes and night sweats directly to shifts in mood without this interim step except for in women who were already mildly depressed.

Are you confused yet?

What this really shows is that while night flashes and hot sweats may affect overall mood swings during menopause, the reason is unlikely to be attributed directly to sleep disruption but rather to some other mechanism. In the long run, this may allow lead to better interventions that individually address these factors so that the sum of the parts becomes a more positive sense of well-being regardless of any physical disruptions.

Every action has a chain reaction. Hopefully, this finding will lead to something positive for us all.

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One size fits all

Posted by on May 18, 2009 in herbal medicine | 1 comment

Like Zappa, I’ve never been one to be confined to a box. Or to be so presumptuous to believe that I am like any other woman out there (except, perhaps my mother but that’s an entirely different topic!). So why do manufacturers continue to assume that a single neutraceutical or combination supplement is going to address all of the major attributes of perimenopause, e.g., hot flashes AND night sweats AND mood swings AND sexual desire and so on and so on and so on? Am I missing something here?

One of the reasons I continue to encourage women to speak to a licensed practitioner is so that they can obtain advice that is individualized and personalized to their unique needs. I may be having night sweats every other night and regularly waking at 3 am, while you might be experiencing hot flashes every two hours. Should we believe that a single pill that combines, say, isoflavones, black cohosh and chaste berry will be helpful for both of us?

So, once again, I was dumbstruck when I ran across a site for yet another menopausal supplement:  Menozac™, your one-stop pill for:

  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness
  • forgetfulness
  • mood swings
  • bloating
  • anxiety
  • emotional issues (which in turn, will benefit sexual issues)

Have you tried Menozac™? Was it “all that and more?”  Did you “graduate to maturity and being free of the responsibility of being fertile?”  Did Mother Nature’s “helper” save you from being bedeviled by the menopause?

I swear, I didn’t write this copy. I simply took poetic license with it. In fact, it’s so “all that” that I don’t believe that I am creative enough to come up with the degree of hype that permeates each sentence.

Dear readers – please be safe, be diligent, do your homework and make conscious decisions. Be skeptical.  Be suspicious. Ask questions.  Speak to a trained expert. Read. Explore.

One size does not fit all.

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Fasten your seatbelts

Posted by on Jun 26, 2008 in emotions, herbal medicine, women's health | 0 comments


Are extreme mood swings that occur primarily in perimenopausal women solely the result of fluctuating and declining ovarian hormones?

Experts disagree over the cause of mood issues during the menopause, and raise questions about the role of co-stressors, such as empty nest syndrome, aging, work, assessment and expectations about goals and achievements, and of course, vasomotor symptoms and associated problems (e.g. hot flashes/night sweats/sleep disturbances/cycle changes, etc).

Of late, a lot of attention has been focused on the link between depression and menopause. Yet, research suggests that a history of PMS and depression earlier in life as well as other psyschosocial and cultural factors, actually account for depressed mood and depression among menopausal women.  Other study findings have shown that PMS and perceived stress are significantly linked to irritability and mood swings.

The good news is that across the board, studies show that mood disturbances tend to diminish as one moves through the menopause. However, what should you do when the blues/anger/irritability/fatigue/crying spells hit?

In previous posts, I’ve discussed the potential benefits of exercise, meditation, red wine (!) and St. John’s wort. I’ve also run across a few things written about the benefits of phytoestrogens (plant-like compounds that act in the body like estrogen). However, presently, a preponderance of evidence appears to support a greater role for phytoestrogens for bone and heart than for mental health.  I’m committed to searching the literature for additional interventions but in the interim, I welcome your feedback and personal experiences.

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