Symptoms — irritability and mood swings
What causes irritability in perimenopause?
“I was a real bear, ready to bite anyone’s head off. I couldn’t understand why I
wasn’t happy. I was moody and snapping all the time. Now I can honestly say that
I wake up in the morning and I am happy. My patience has returned and my husband
has noticed a big change.”
— Irene, Personal Program Member
When it comes to irritability and mood swings, most of us have had some experience
with both. We’d all like to keep these episodes to a minimum, but perimenopause
can sometimes make that seem like an impossible challenge.
A comment from an article on our site captures the humbling realization that you
can’t blame bad moods and irritability in perimenopause on other people:
“I thought, when did my loving partner of 25 years become so difficult and hard
on me? Then I realized — it was me. Yikes. Time for a change!
Irritability and mood swings are two top complaints we hear from women in perimenopause.
These symptoms can affect your personal and professional relationships, your outlook
on life and your daily well-being. While irritability and mood swings are closely
related, there are some differences.
We use “mood swing” to describe a reaction that isn’t appropriate to the event that
triggered it while “irritability” can be described as an angry or impatient reaction
to something — or someone. Unfortunately, both these common symptoms often go hand
in hand during perimenopause and menopause.
What you can do about irritability and mood swings
Both irritability and mood swings as symptoms of perimenopause have deep physiologic
roots in hormonal imbalance. In many cases, fatigue plays a role as well — and if
you’re having other symptoms, like hot flashes or insomnia, you are likely very
Wild mood swings and increased irritability are tightly linked to the sudden shifts
in hormonal balance so characteristic of perimenopause. These fluctuations — in
the levels of and ratios between estrogen, testosterone and progesterone — can occur
when your body doesn’t get the right kind of support to maintain natural balance.
Irritability and mood swings may become even more pronounced when you don’t pay
close attention to your own needs during perimenopause.
Irritability and mood swings have an emotional aspect as well. Many women in perimenopause
are surprised to be finding their “true voices.” This is normal and natural though
the transition can sometimes be disquieting. During this time, you may also note
the resurfacing of old emotional issues that remain unresolved. Taking on this
type of work is important, not just to relieve your irritability, but for your very
health. While the process may occasionally be painful, lots of women in perimenopause
are reaching the point when they’re ready to release grudges, guilt, and blame so
they can free themselves of old hurts.
Women often come to us saying, “I thought I was losing my mind” because they’re
shocked by the fierceness of their irritability and the sharpness of their mood
swings. For them it’s a relief to know that their moods have a physical basis and
can be relieved. Even severe irritability can be alleviated by providing your body
with the support it needs to achieve hormonal balance.
We’ve been able to help thousands of women find relief from their irritability and
mood swings so they feel better, and more like themselves.
Last Modified Date: 12/03/2012