In addition to myriad physical effects, emotional symptoms are a common feature of the menopausal transition. In fact, up to 50% of all perimenopausal women experience disturbances in mood, including irritability. While several factors can contribute to irritability in our daily lives, hormonal fluctuations characteristic of menopause are often the prime cause of irritability and other negative emotional states during this major life transition.
One of the most important things to remember is that irritability can be a normal part of the menopausal process. Many women find it helps to learn more about irritability during menopause, because a greater understanding of its symptoms and causes can help determine the most appropriate way to manage irritability and mitigate its effects.
What is irritability?
Many menopausal women find that they are more easily irritated by the daily stresses and stains of life than they once were. Many women understand that their effective reactions may be out of proportion to their triggers, but still have difficulty avoiding irritability.
Irritability is defined as an excessive response to stimuli.
While most women know the signs and symptoms of irritability, they are unaware of the underlying causes of this negative effect.
What causes irritability during menopause?
During the menopausal transition, the primary underlying cause of irritability is hormonal imbalance. During menopause fluctuating estrogen levels have a direct, though complex, effect on the brain’s regulation of mood and emotion. Thus, changing levels of estrogen in the body can increase the risk of experiencing irritability during menopause.
Menopause-related hormonal changes can also have an indirect influence on irritability.
Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, sleep disorders, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and more, can cause or contribute to irritability.
In addition to natural hormonal changes in menopause, certain lifestyle and medical factors can cause or contribute to irritability.