Women mostly experience mood swings during periods and pregnancy. Know all about mood swings in women and how to handle them.

Mood swings are significant changes in a person’s emotional state. These changes can be sudden or intense. You may quickly switch from feeling happy and excited to feeling sad or angry. Changes in mood are normal, and they can happen to anyone. After all, no one can have just one mood throughout the day. When it comes to mood swings in women, there can be multiple causes, including hormonal changes. That is why women tend to experience more mood swings when during periods or pregnancy. Read on to know all about mood swings in women.

What are mood swings?

Mood swings is a term that refers to changes in a person’s mood quickly. It is a sudden or an intense change in an individual’s emotional state, says clinical psychologist Dr Rituparna Ghosh. The changes in mood can be very fast and often unpredictable, ranging from feeling of extreme happiness or excitement to feeling very sad, irritable, or down.

A smiling woman with yellow balloons
The changes in mood are often unpredictable. Image courtesy: Freepik

While any individual can normally experience variations in mood due to a certain situation or circumstances, mood swings are more pronounced and frequent affecting the behaviour. They can occur over the course of several days, hours, or even minutes, with varying intensity.

What causes mood swings in women?

Mood swings in women have different causes which can be one or a combination of reasons.

1. Changes in hormones

Hormonal changes can contribute to mood swings. This usually happens during times like puberty, during menstrual period, pregnancy, or menopause. These are times when a woman’s body goes through changes in hormone levels with major fluctuations, which can lead to frequent changes in mood.

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To understand mood changes during pregnancy and postpartum, a study was conducted in 2012. The study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada showed that perinatal women had higher mood instability than the non-perinatal ones.

Mood swings are often more common in women largely due to the hormonal changes that women experience at different phases in their lives, such as during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, after giving birth, and during menopause, says Dr Ghosh. However, anyone can experience mood swings, regardless of gender.

2. Mental health conditions

Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are common reasons for changes in a person’s mood. A person with bipolar disorder can be very happy and full of energy at one time just to suddenly go to the opposite side of the spectrum feeling very sad and low.

3. Lifestyle

Our modern lifestyle with work stress, poor sleep quality, not enough exercise, and an unhealthy diet are all factors that can lead to mood swings. Add to this substance abuse like alcohol or drugs which aggravate the situation, especially if an individual is trying to stop using them, says the expert.

4. Health problems

Some health problems linked to the thyroid gland can lead to mood swings. The thyroid gland affects energy and mood and any thyroid issue can cause mood swings. Other health issues like diabetes or heart disease can also cause fluctuations in mood, especially if these conditions impact the overall health and cause stress.

What are the ways to manage mood swings?

Firstly, find the root cause of mood swings and then look for ways to help manage mood swings.

1. Regular exercise

When you engage in physical activity, it releases chemicals in our brain known as endorphins. They act as natural mood lifters, so exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety, leading to more stable moods.

Angry woman
Eat well to manage mood swings. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Healthy diet

Eating a balanced diet can help stabilise your mood. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits, lean protein and vegetables are particularly beneficial.

3. Adequate and timely sleep

Lack of sleep can significantly affect your mood, so get some shut-eye. You must aim for at least seven hours each night. Going to sleep on time, avoiding oversleeping or sleeping less all help in modulating the mood, says the expert.

4. Stress reduction techniques

Practices like yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises can take care of your stress problem. This in turn can help manage mood swings.

5. Avoid harmful substances

Nicotine, alcohol and drugs can affect your mood and make mood swings worse. They can make you be dependent on them for feeling better. But you will feel worse if it these substances are not available. This, in turn, contributes to a fluctuating mood. Avoiding them can help keep your mood more stable.

6. Limit caffeine

Too much caffeine may make you anxious and affect your sleep. It can also worsen menstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms, leading to mood swings. Try to limit or reduce your caffeine intake to avoid mood swings.

7. Set a routine

Having a regular daily routine can give you a sense of stability and predictability. Setting a routine can help manage mood swings, says the expert.

If mood swings are affecting your daily life, talk to a doctor to find the cause and get the right treatment.

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