Perimenopause and mood swings

Life’s journey takes us through all sorts of stages, and one of the most significant ones is perimenopause. You know, the transitional period that ushers in a bunch of physical and emotional changes. Now, speaking of changes, let’s talk perimenopause and mood swings.

Yep, a lot of women raise their hands and nod when we chat about how their mood takes a roller coaster ride during this time. Mood swings, they’re a real thing. But don’t worry, in this blog, I’m going to dig deep into perimenopause, break down what’s happening, and guide you through those sometimes stormy seas of mood swings. And guess what? I’ve got your back with five awesome tips to help you ride those waves and keep your spirits high when dealing with perimenopause and moods swings.

What is perimenopause?

Welcome to the world of perimenopause, also known as the “menopause transition.” It’s like a sneak peek before the main show. This phase usually kicks in during your late 30s to early 40s, though it’s a bit of a free spirit when it comes to timing. During perimenopause, your hormones are having their own little dance party – the ovaries are dialling down the production of hormones oestrogen and progesterone but not before they make oestrogen levels sky high before dropping like a lead ballon a few times over!  And guess what? This hormonal shift can bring with it, a bunch of physical and emotional symptoms. Including mood swings, which is the topic for today.

Speaking of perimenopause, here are a few signs that might hint you’re there. Check out this blog

Plus, let’s not forget about those unnoticed symptoms that often go unnoticed during this time. Read more here. 

Let’s jump into what happens and how you can combat perimenopause and mood swings.

Why the Emotional Rollercoaster?

Imagine perimenopause as a ticket to an emotional rollercoaster. One minute, you’re dancing on cloud nine; the next, a whirlwind of sadness or irritation sweeps over you. These mood swings are like the ultimate surprise party – hormonal fluctuations, sleep troubles, stress, and the whole “where’s my life going?” vibe of this phase are all part of the mix.

Now, here’s the thing: every woman’s journey is her own adventure. Some might ride the mood swing rollercoaster like a pro, while others might have a smoother ride. Additionally, pre-existing mental health conditions can influence how mood swings manifest. Women who have a history of PMDD, depression, anxiety, or post natal depression might find that perimenopause exacerbates these conditions.

Brain fog and Concentration worries

Let’s talk about brain fog.

Hormonal changes, particularly the fluctuations in oestrogen, can affect cognitive function. Many women report experiencing difficulty with concentration, memory, and mental clarity, often referred to as “brain fog.” This can manifest as forgetfulness, trouble finding the right words, trouble concentrating, and a general sense of mental fuzziness. Hormonal imbalances may impact neurotransmitters and blood flow to the brain, contributing to these cognitive challenges.


During perimenopause, sleep problems can mess with your mood. Changing hormones, especially less oestrogen, can lead to issues like insomnia, night sweats, and messed-up sleep patterns. And those sleep troubles can stir up or make mood problems worse, like:

  • Irritability: Poor sleep can lead to increased irritability and short temper, making it more challenging to handle stressors and daily life events.
  • Anxiety: Sleep disruptions can heighten feelings of anxiety and worry. The lack of quality sleep can make you feel more vulnerable and less capable of managing stressors.
  • Depression: Sleep and mood are closely intertwined. Sleep problems during perimenopause can contribute to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Mood Swings: Erratic sleep patterns can lead to mood swings. With emotions ranging from irritability to sadness and even moments of euphoria.
  • Difficulty Coping: Sleep is essential for emotional resilience and the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Insufficient sleep can make it harder to manage stress and emotional ups and downs.
  • Reduced Well-being: Overall well-being and quality of life can decline when sleep is consistently disrupted. A lack of restorative sleep can leave you feeling fatigued, physically unwell, and emotionally drained.

It’s important to recognise two-way relationship between sleep and mood during perimenopause. While hormonal changes can impact sleep, poor sleep can also contribute to worsened mood symptoms. Addressing sleep disruptions through lifestyle changes, nervous system support and relaxation techniques can help improve both sleep quality and mood during this transitional phase.

The blog “Why Your Sleep Turns To Sh*t When Menopause Hits” I go into further detail about sleep. I discuss the reasons behind disrupted sleep. Hormonal changes, especially lowered oestrogen levels, contribute to up to 80% of women experiencing sleep issues. Symptoms like night sweats, linked to hormonal shifts, and increased risk of conditions such as sleep apnea are explored. Mood changes like depression and anxiety also affect sleep quality. The blog offers hope, noting that these issues tend to improve with time, and encourages seeking professional help, including sleep studies, for effective management.


Mood and emotional well-being are closely governed by hormones. Now, let’s zoom in and explore these hormones and their individual roles:


Oestrogen has a positive impact on serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation. As oestrogen levels decline during perimenopause, serotonin levels can also be affected, potentially leading to mood swings, irritability, and even depression. Oestrogen is neuroprotective.


Progesterone, often referred to as the “calming hormone,” can also influence mood. Its decline can contribute to increased feelings of anxiety and restlessness. The intricate interplay between these hormones can result in emotional highs and lows that define mood swings during perimenopause.


Often considered a male hormone, testosterone is also present in women, albeit in lower levels. It’s important for maintaining energy, motivation, and a sense of well-being. Low testosterone levels in both men and women have been linked to symptoms like fatigue, low mood, and reduced motivation.

Oestrogen:Testosterone Ratio:

The balance between these hormones is crucial. In both men and women, an imbalance in the oestrogen/testosterone ratio can impact mood and mental health.

For example:

  • High Oestrogen, Low Testosterone: An elevated oestrogen level in relation to testosterone may contribute to symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. This imbalance can sometimes be observed during certain phases of the menstrual cycle, perimenopause, or conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Low Oestrogen, Low Testosterone: Both low oestrogen and low testosterone levels have been linked to depressive symptoms. Oestrogen’s mood-enhancing effects and testosterone’s influence on motivation can be compromised when these hormones are deficient.

5 approaches to help with perimenopause and mood swings:

Navigating the sea of symptoms with peri-menopause and mood swings can be like riding a wave of emotional highs and lows. Plus even knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Start with these 5 holistic approaches to support your body and help with the mood swings.


With Yoga’s combination of physical postures, breath control, and mindfulness can help reduce stress and anxiety, which often exacerbate mood swings. Regular yoga practice can enhance relaxation, improve mood, and promote overall emotional well-being. The mind-body connection that yoga fosters can also assist in managing hormonal fluctuations more effectively.

Phytoestrogen Foods:

Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body to some extent. Consuming foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy products, flaxseeds, lentils, and chickpeas, can potentially help modulate hormone levels and alleviate mood swings. These foods might help counteract some of the effects of declining oestrogen levels, contributing to a more stable mood.


Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can be valuable for managing mood swings during perimenopause. Therapists can provide tools to identify negative thought patterns, manage stress, and develop effective coping strategies. Therapy offers a safe space to explore the emotional challenges that come with hormonal fluctuations and can empower individuals to navigate this phase with greater resilience.

Walking (with a Friend):

Engaging in regular physical activity like walking has numerous mood-boosting benefits. It promotes the release of endorphins, the natural “feel-good” chemicals that can counteract mood swings. Walking with a friend adds a social element, reduces feelings of isolation and enhances emotional well-being.

Herbal Medicines for Hormonal Support:

Herbal medicines, such as black cohosh, dong quai, and chaste tree, are often used to provide hormonal support during perimenopause. Blending personalised herbal tinctures for my clients is something I love doing in clinic.


Perimenopause, despite its challenges, offers an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. By understanding the connection between perimenopause and mood swings, women can approach this phase armed with knowledge and strategies to manage their emotional well-being. Remember that seeking support and practicing self-compassion are essential as you navigate the stormy seas of perimenopause.

Why not join me for my upcoming webinar ‘Navigating the Perimenopause Rollercoaster – Finding balance among the hormonal highs and lows.  To uncover more about the turbulent ride of perimenopause.

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Areas of interest:
- Perimenopause
- Menopause
- Hormonal and cycle changes
- Burning Mouth Syndrome
- Low Energy Levels

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