Chaos to Calm

Emotions During Perimenopause: The Ins and Outs of Your Mood

April 16, 2023 Episode 5
Emotions During Perimenopause: The Ins and Outs of Your Mood
Chaos to Calm
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Chaos to Calm
Emotions During Perimenopause: The Ins and Outs of Your Mood
Apr 16, 2023 Episode 5

Are you feeling like your mood swings are unpredictable during perimenopause? Maybe your family doesn’t know what to expect from you from one moment to another? This week, Sarah is discussing the reasons why you might be feeling these cranky and irritated emotions during perimenopause.

Tune in to find out about:
•   Why these mood changes happen
•   What is happening within your body
•   How a naturopath can help you manage your emotions
•   The importance of using a holistic and preventative approach
•   Hormones that may impact your mood
•   What mood neurotransmitters are and how they play a role
•   How synthetic hormonal contraceptives may be exacerbating the issue
•   Tips to calm your mood and reduce irritation

Interested in learning more about my Free Chaos to Calm Masterclass? Check out www.theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Show Notes Transcript

Are you feeling like your mood swings are unpredictable during perimenopause? Maybe your family doesn’t know what to expect from you from one moment to another? This week, Sarah is discussing the reasons why you might be feeling these cranky and irritated emotions during perimenopause.

Tune in to find out about:
•   Why these mood changes happen
•   What is happening within your body
•   How a naturopath can help you manage your emotions
•   The importance of using a holistic and preventative approach
•   Hormones that may impact your mood
•   What mood neurotransmitters are and how they play a role
•   How synthetic hormonal contraceptives may be exacerbating the issue
•   Tips to calm your mood and reduce irritation

Interested in learning more about my Free Chaos to Calm Masterclass? Check out www.theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

00:03

Hey there. I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the Chaos To Calm Podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode we'll explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s. Like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm, and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on chaos to calm as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life.

 00:59

Hello, and welcome to episode number five of chaos to calm a podcast. I'm so excited to be talking with you today. This is the People's Choice episode. I asked on my Instagram Stories what people wanted to hear next out of mood and perimenopause and sleep and weight gain and diagnosis of perimenopause. And this was the winner. So today we are going to be exploring the ins and outs of your mood in perimenopause. Or why am I so cranky and irritated and angry one minute and crying the next. 

 01:43

Maybe everyone around you is just turned into really annoying people. But mood and feeling really grumpy and cranky and irritated. Most of the time is a major motivator for many of my clients to reach out to me and to want to do something because it impacts how you show up in the world and all the different roles that you have in life. And you mean when you're feeling that way? Who knows what you're going to say to your workmates or your family and yeah, lots of the women I work with a mums like me. And I know when I was feeling super angry all the time. Just really irritated actually, maybe not even so much angry, just really grumpy and cranky. And my kids didn't know what to expect from me, you know, what was mom going to be like, how's she going to respond if they'd spilled some water or something, you know, inconsequential, turned into a major drama, though, because it just would bite their head off. And I didn't I just feel really down on myself. Because that's not how I wanted to be them. Um, it's not how I like to be a person for anyone that's in my life, friend, family, you know, client, co worker, any of those things we all want to show up as the best version of ourselves. And it can feel really difficult to do this in your 40s and perimenopause, especially in the earlier phases when maybe your cycle isn't telling you that it's perimenopause. But you're feeling out of control when it comes to your mood and just feeling really cranky and annoyed at everyone all the time. 

 03:28

So let's dive in. And let's talk about why this happens. And I'll give you some tips as well and what you can do about it there. So the main issues are your hormones. Well, probably not the surprise that I'm going to say that is that and we'll talk about which ones specifically there to neurotransmitters, some special tiny brain compounds that have a major impact on how we move through the world, and nutrients as well. But and actually also add to that gut liver function, and it is really part of the issue here as well. 

 04:14

Naturopathically, when I look at a human in front of me and hear about some symptoms, I'm not just looking in one system or one area to solve that problem. Because naturopaths like me, we think of the human body is everything is intertwined and interconnected. So an imbalance or a symptom showing up in one part of the body tells us that something's going on there. But it also tells us about what's going on in other areas and other parts. So that's, I think one of the big differences between natural empathy and Western medicine, when you see your GP and then if they refer you to someone that specialist has an interest in one area or one system of your body and so that's what they're trained to look at or look for problems in and treat with medications or surgery, whereas we're looking at naturopaths nutritionists as well, we're looking at you as a whole, and seeing your symptoms as messages to try and help us figure out what's the underlying cause. What's the root cause? What's driving, how you're feeling and what's going on? And that I think that I think, I know, that is what means that we can do preventative care, you know, we don't have to wait until things get really bad, and then be able to give you a pill or do something about it at that point. We have the opportunity and you have the opportunity when you look at yourself naturopathically, as well through that naturopathic lens, to take action early on before things get really bad. 

 05:50

Hopefully, this episode will help you get more knowledge or understanding of the symptom that is anger, irritation, rage, because that's what it is it is a symptom. And your it's your body trying to tell you that something is out of balance. So as we move through this episode, my aim is that you get a clearer understanding of the driving forces or the driving underlying factors for that mood change, so that and give you some tools or some ideas of things that you can look at changing or supporting to help improve that. 

 06:30

So let's first talk about hormones. So the last couple of episodes I talked about progesterone and estrogen and they are the major changing hormones in perimenopause to menopause. So it's not surprising that they get a mention here today. And most often it is progesterone and the change in progesterone or the decline in progesterone that contributes to the mood issues in perimenopause.

 06:58

 Now, we know from episode number four, that progesterone is really essential for your brain and nervous system function, your heart health, breast health, regulating your stress response and helping you sleep. So think of it as it's really soothing, it's calming. When it's slower. It's got less of that calm factor, because we're ovulating less in perimenopause. And that is the way that we make progesterone, so less ovulation equals less progesterone. And then we can get those mood swings and irritability and anxiety and overwhelm and less able to cope with the stressors in our life. Now, let's remember that in our 40s and perimenopause, I think that it's the busiest and most stressful phase of a woman's life. Because you have you know, kids work social life, maybe parents that are aging that you need to look after you've got a mortgage perhaps or, you know, financial constraints, or pressures as well. So there's a lot going on. Plus, we're massively overscheduled in modern life for most people. So you've got less progesterone, less calming hormone, but more on your plate. 

 08:11

Now another hormone that impacts your mood, is prolactin. Now, when we relate less this prolactin can increase as well. And that slightly higher or slightly raised, prolactin can worsen your mood symptoms, particularly in PMS, so particularly in that week before your period. So other hormones change in perimenopause to testosterone is one that that does decline over perimenopause and into menopause. But it actually doesn't decline as quickly as progesterone. So that can make for a relative imbalance with testosterone to progesterone. And the same can happen with cortisol and with estrogen too. So they're changing and they're the way that they're changing may not be in the same timeline as progesterone. And so we can get a relative imbalance or rel it can increase that relative deficiency of progesterone. So again, increasing agitation, irritation, anger, snappiness, you know, you find one minute and then oh, my gosh, everyone is an annoying and it's stupid today. What is going on? Well, I hate to break it to eBay, but it's not them. But it's probably you say that with loving kindness and having been in the same situation myself. 

 09:46

Yeah, so as an example, their testosterone declines in your 40s ike I said, but not as rapidly as progesterone so there isn't as much progesterone to balance or count Tourette that assertiveness or aggro that testosterone can bring. Same with estrogen as well like estrogen. You know, we know that that's fluxing really high really low, all through perimenopause, not just its usual, up and down cycle that it would have it is part of a healthy menstrual cycle. 

 10:21

And in episode three, I talk about estrogen and how it gives us our assertiveness as well, you know, that get up and go and confidence. And if we don't need an estrogen, we want it like Goldilocks as porridge. And not too much, not too little. Just right, because it's very stimulating. So we have too much we're like, way too much, too extra. And if it's too low, we can feel blue and hard to get up off the couch. So yeah, there's that really high estrogen, but declining progesterone can make that a big gap. There's a big difference between the estrogen and progesterone. And it's hard. It's not enough progesterone to counteract that assertiveness of estrogen that stimulation. And so the outcome can be Mrs. cranky pants snapping everyone's head off. 

 11:18

So that's the hormone factor there. Let's talk about the neurotransmitters. I love talking about neurotransmitters like totally geek out on these all day every day. So bear with me. I'll make it interesting. I promise. The neurotransmitters are compounds in our brain and nervous system that are used to communicate between our brain and the rest of our body. They override a lot of different functions in the body. But the ones that I guess I'm most known or most talked about are the ones that relate to our mood. Serotonin and dopamine, the two major stars, they're the Hollywood stars of your neurotransmitters. Now there is a ripple effect with the sex hormones and our hormones. And you know, as talked about this earlier, here that each part of our body is not an island, it's all interconnected and intertwined. It's no different here with the neurotransmitters so your sex hormones can influence your neurotransmitters and throw them off balance, and change your mood. So neurotransmitters play a really critical role for your mental health and your overall well being and immune function. You know, all sorts of different things. They play a part in serotonin, dopamine, histamine, GABA, four of the more influential mood neurotransmitters in the brain. So let me tell you a little bit about each one because you'll want to remember these for later because they will come up frequently when we're talking about health and your well being. 

 12:54

So serotonin, I talked about it as your long term happiness molecule. It makes you feel good, and it helps regulate your mood appetite, your sleep, serotonin gets converted to melatonin in the body to help you go to sleep. So serotonin long term happy molecule lives. 

 13:12

Then we have dopamine, which is often associated with pleasure and reward. And it plays a role in motivation. And movement is the one that gets you up off the couch and going and doing stuff. But it's also the one that keeps you on the couch, scrolling Netflix and scrolling on your phone, getting those little pleasure and reward hits that your brain is addicted to because you know like your brain, its major focus is avoiding pain, seeking pleasure and keeping you survive in you know, surviving or thriving with the least amount of energy being used. So you know, it's it's pretty much a dopamine seeking machine, our brain. 

 13:58

Now, histamine, histamine, you might have heard of people talk about histamine intolerance or histamine rich foods and all sorts of stuff because it's not necessarily a baddie. Like it's not bad in and of itself. It's just when it gets again, it's like Goldilocks as porridge when we have too much. It's not great. It's very stimulating. And it can, histamine can cause irritability, anxiety, headaches, migraines, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, breast tenderness, there's like all of the PMs calling cards, we can try and pin them all on to histamine. But jokes aside like we do need some of it you know if there's injury or illness, we need some histamine to get things going. And and as part of that healing process, again, it's when a liver in our gut can't handle the load, or the load is too high from our food, or inflammation in the body or or something else that's going on, then histamine levels can get too high. 

 15:02

And the last one I want to talk to you about is GABA has a really long chemical name, we'll just call it GABA. It's inhibitory, which in the world of neurotransmitters actually is good, it means calming. So we want that it helps reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It's, you know, progesterone its best friend. So all of those neurotransmitters are really crucial for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system and influenced by different factors, including your hormones, but also diet, exercise and medications. 

 15:38

So, for example, in a regular cycle, estrogen rises from the start of your bleed. that's day one of your period, peaking at ovulation, and then it takes a sharp dip down as you get close to your period. Now your serotonin and your dopamine levels are influenced by estrogen. And so when we get that dip and estrogen goes down, so to serotonin and dopamine, and that's when you can get more symptoms like fatigue, night sweats, migraines, depression and irritability. 

 16:15

Now, are you thinking what I'm thinking be too? So yeah, this is worse during perimenopause because estrogen levels are really unstable and they don't necessarily follow that. That usual pattern for a regular cycle because we have estrogen still following if you're still getting your period and having a cycle so following that rough idea of the cycle and where it peaks around ovulation and that but it actually can go higher than it would usually higher highs and it can have really low lows and it can do that through the cycle keep fluctuating there as well. So those neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine can get really carried up with it and then come crashing further down. It can be a big fall. And yeah, so you can find yourself your mood really changing or really increased PMS mood changes, but also those mood changing irritability and agitation right across your cycle. 

 17:20

So yeah, estrogen when it because it's can be fluctuating between high and low more frequently than it would in a non perimenopause cycle impacts your neurotransmitters really heavily and, and also impacts histamine massively. So histamine and estrogen can get stuck in a loop and feed off each other and push each other up in a vicious cycle. So it's what you don't want, but it can happen. And that's, you know, that can be part of why you might find yourself with more intolerances or sensitivities in perimenopause as well as this loop with estrogen and histamine. 

 18:04

So, yeah, I love our hormones. We love our neurotransmitters, but we always like everything to be just right. Or be able to help support our body to adjust to the changes and the decreases. And we'll talk about that next after this break.

 18:28

Have you ever felt like your hormones are taking over your life during perimenopause? You're not alone. Perimenopause can be a really difficult time for women. You may find yourself experiencing mood swings, weight gain that feels out of your control, and just feeling like an exhausted shell of yourself. But there is solution that doesn't involve taking a pill every day or two in drastic dieting or excessive exercise. Join me in my free chaos to calm masterclass where I teach you the biggest mistakes women make when it comes to their hormones metabolism, mood and energy and uncover what you need to do to thrive in your 40s. Discover what you must have in place to master this chaos and make it to menopause without it ruining your life or relationships. Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling empowered during perimenopause. So register now for the free masterclass at theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au. 

 19:40

So let's have a chat about the conventional approach. So if you go and talk to your GP, about your mood, and your cycle or perimenopause, then you're probably going to get offered the pill or an IUD like the Mirena. Now certainly, these can alleviate your symptoms, but they absolutely do not address the underlying issues that are there. They just suppress the symptoms, the messages that your body's sending you. And often, actually, some, they don't work, so they can actually make things worse. And that is because the synthetic hormones are not the same as what your body makes. In fact, the progestins in the fuel, progestins said not progesterone, because they're not progesterone. But the progestins have a chemical structure that's actually more like testosterone, which I just told you before, when it's too much, you know, when it's not just right, it can make your mood worse, make you more aggro and irritated and angry. So the other thing with synthetic hormones like the pill that IUDs is that they rob your body of the opportunity to ovulate and make your own beautiful hormones. So I think it's really better to look for solutions that address the underlying issue, the root cause, and also help your body smooth out those fluctuations. So they're not as high as you know, super high and super low. While we also actually provide support to your body, so that it can cope and adjust and adapt to the changes, which is really important in perimenopause, because you might have heard me say before that we're not necessarily looking to balance our hormones here. It's really possible because this decline, and these fluctuations are very normal. So puberty in reverse. 

 21:41

So let's talk about calming your mood and reducing that anger and irritation. First out, just gonna get a recording of myself and play it over and over again, check your stress and busyness levels, and just sleep I'll just throw that in well. If in doubt, check your stress and your busyness levels in your sleep. It'll actually just help with so much. But there are lots of simple ways that you can help feel karma through your cycle, but particularly in perimenopause here as well. So in episode four, I talked about how to support progesterone production. And that is super important here. So please refresh yourself with that. If you can't remember, go back and listen to episode four. And then listen to episode three, if you got remember what I talked about with estrogen, because we want to stabilize these estrogen levels or smooth out those fluctuations by looking after estrogen metabolite production and metabolism. 

 22:44

So for progesterone, and for estrogen, we're thinking about our liver and gut health there as well. Because that is going to help us metabolize and remove excess estrogen from the body and support and optimize what we are making and using. And as well, it helps with our neurotransmitters. Our gut health helps with neurotransmitter production, particularly serotonin and dopamine, because the majority of those are made in our gut in our gastrointestinal system. 

 23:18

Now also looking at delivering gut health means that we are going to be able to tolerate foods that are higher in histamine or that encourage histamine release. Because our livers going to have the capacity to deal with that and remove it so it doesn't build up in our body and cause those symptoms, particularly the mood symptoms, irritation and anger. 

 23:40

Now, there's lots of supportive herbs that you can use some that, you know, you might rush to or be told this is the answer to all your problems. I'm looking family at vytex there. But please don't jump straight onto that bandwagon. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it is without side effects or consequences. You know, it's really important to remember that. Sometimes vytex can exacerbate your symptoms, particularly around anxiety and anger. So don't just go jump onto that and and start taking it and it can interfere with some medications, the pill, all that sort of stuff.

 24:18

Now, there's nutrients magnesium basics, zinc, iodine as well. But again, please talk to a trained naturopath or nutritionist to make sure that the nutrients are in the dose that's going to be therapeutic but also in a form that's going to be well absorbed and utilized by your body. So herbs and nutrients. Go hang with your naturopath or nutritionist and get some personalized advice there. So that you know it's actually going to work for you. 

 24:51

And let's not forget about food. Let's provide the nutritional building blocks, food, you know, and have a microbiome and gut health. It's to optimize for your new neurotransmitter production. I think this is one of the main reasons why my clients feel so great when they start using their personalized nutrition plans. We're working on providing the building blocks the nutrients that your body needs to make hormones and neurotransmitters and restoring the nutrient levels or building up your stores, as well as optimizing your gut and digestive health. So that's it for today. Thank you so much for listening. 

 25:31

Just to summarize, we've talked about how the changes in hormones particularly in perimenopause, but even across your rate, a regular cycle can impact your mood themselves, but also have a ripple effect and impact your neurotransmitters which significantly impacts how you get up and face each and every day and how you interact with all the people around you how you deal with situations that arise. And then we've talked about the downside of just taking a pill to suppress your cycle and and ignore it and not think about what's going on and the value of money, holistic look at your body and what those symptoms like the change in your mood is telling you about things that are going on. 

 26:22

So if you feeling confused by what might be going on because it isn't necessarily straightforward, or easy to decipher. You might benefit from talking with a naturopath and nutritionist. Maybe you want to have a listen to my free masterclass. I talk you through some more of the hormone changes that happen and what to do about it there. You can find my masterclass at theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au We'll also put the link into the show notes which you can find at www.chaostocalmpodcast.com. And don't forget if you enjoy the show, please rate and review me on Apple or wherever you listen to your podcast. And be sure to come back next week because we'll be discussing all about how perimenopause is diagnosed. Until then, I'm Sarah the perimenopause naturopath and don't forget perimenopause does not have to be horrific.

 27:26

It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand that aren't alone in feeling this way. And that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation.