In the intricate tapestry of human emotions, women often find themselves navigating through the unpredictable terrain of mood fluctuations. From feeling elated and energetic at one instance to finding oneself down, frustrated and sad the next moment, it’s like riding an emotional roller coaster for a woman. Being in this emotional whirlpool is not only overwhelming and confusing, but also leaves oneself feeling vulnerable.

These dramatic mood shifts are a complex interplay of biological, psychological and environmental factors. To anticipate and better cope with these emotional drifts, you need to understand the triggers and causes of mood swings in women.

Let’s delve into the depth of the science behind emotions and learn how to embrace psychic resilience with grace.

Understanding Mood Swings in Women

Mood swings refer to the rapid and momentous shifts in the emotional state of a person.  They can happen to anybody but are particularly common among women.  

No prior warning. Nothing!

They generally come and go in a short time and may range from extreme delight and euphoria to feelings of deep sorrow and despair. Some describe it as a strange annoyance and irritability, and some express it as being overly emotional, like crying more than usual and for no reason. Getting angry over trivial things may also be a depiction of mood swings.

Understanding Mood Swings in Women

However, not every emotional transition can be regarded as mood swings in women. Unlike the change of emotions that occur over time in everyday life, mood swings are typically more intense with no obvious correlation with life events.

Besides, there is not much to worry about as it’s often a natural phenomenon. So, don’t be too hard on yourself.

What Triggers Mood Swings in Women?

Though mood swings in women apparently seem to be happening for no reason, there is usually some underlying entity poking the mood centers in the brain. These emotional fluctuations can be attributed to a variety of factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, etc, or they may be a part of the natural hormonal alterations in the body, as described below;

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes are one of the major etiological factors of mood swings in women. The natural rise and fall of hormones in females throughout their life make them hypersensitive towards behavioral transitions.

Ø  Puberty

Puberty is the phase of life in females when the teenage hormones kick in. It not only induces physical changes but brings in emotional changes as well. So, might be, it’s the interplay of hormones that has made you a moody teenager.

Ø  Menstruation

The hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle are also one of the main causes of mood swings in women. Characterized by a group of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms, the condition is referred to as premenstrual syndrome that starts 1 to 2 weeks before the periods. Every 3 out of 4 women have such complaints during the premenstrual phase.

Though the exact mechanism is not completely understood, experts believe that the fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels along with GABA and serotonin hormones are the most likely culprit. [1]

Another rare but severe form of PMS is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder which occurs in 3% to 8% of the females.  

Ø  Pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association mood swings are quite common among pregnant women during the first and last trimesters. The physical stress, fatigue, sleepless nights, tender breasts, and the rise and fall of hormones – all are possible explanations for erratic behavior among these soon-to-be-moms.

Ø  Menopause

Menopause is another major hormonal event in the lives of women when the female hormones begin to decline. Apart from stopping the periods and causing pesky hot flushes, the falling levels of estrogen hormone also bring in changes in the mood. Anxiety, crankiness, irritability, feeling low and tearful – it feels like being in a constant state of premenstrual syndrome. But there is nothing wrong as it is quite normal. 4 out of 10 women report such symptoms during their peri-menopause phase.

Psychological Factors

You cannot always blame your biology for putting you on the roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes, your lifestyle and the surrounding environment may be the hidden culprits.

Work pressure, upcoming deadlines, pending bills, children…so much to deal with! These day-to-day stressors have a significant impact on mood and behavior.

Besides, stress, anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder and various other psychological and mental health conditions can also be the cause of mood swings in women.

Medications

Lastly, mood swings in women can also be the side effects of meds they are taking. Several drugs including antipsychotics, anti-depressants, steroids, birth control pills, etc, are known to cause such problems among its users.

Navigating the Highs and Lows – Tips to Cope with Mood Swings

You might be thinking about how to deal with mood swings when most of the causes are either natural phenomena or are simply very difficult to avoid.

Well, there is no single ‘pill’ for everyone. You need to explore what works best for you. Here are some tips by which you can cope with your mood swings in a better way;

  • Track your mood swings. Figure out your triggers that drift your emotions, and try to avoid them.
  • Talk it out with your partner, friends, or close ones. Expressing feelings and having social support are effective tools to calm you down.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Refined sugars and carbs have been found to aggravate stress and associated mood swings. [2] Try to consume fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc, that are beneficial for physical and emotional well-being.
  • Try mindful meditation or yoga
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine
  • Avoid taking too much alcohol and caffeine
  • Sleep adequately – 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye is generally recommended for a healthy adult
  • Learn to manage stress – etc

Don’t hold back if you feel that your mood changes are impairing your life quality and daily activities. Consult a healthcare provider or psychiatrist to seek assistance. He or she might help you find your triggers and get over them.

Bottom Line

Mood swings in women are usually a complex interplay of biological, psychological and environmental factors. Understanding these triggers and managing them empowers women to navigate life’s emotional roller coaster with resilience and grace. Self-awareness, social support, healthy lifestyle choices, and seeking professional help are effective strategies for coping with these behavioral fluctuations.


References

  1. Ojezele MO, Eduviere AT, Adedapo EA, Wool TK. Mood swing during menstruation: Confounding factors and drug use. Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences. 2022 Sep 18;32(4):681-8.
  2. Firth J, Gangwisch JE, Borsini A, Wootton RE, Mayer EA. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?. Bmj. 2020 Jun 29;369.
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