How to Deal with Menopause Rage

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: May 10, 2022
Medically reviewed by: Sharon D. Malone

There are many reasons why women going through perimenopause or menopause become irritated and angry. Some of these reasons are chemical—fluctuating hormones can directly alter a woman’s mood. 

Yet, some other reasons are situational and directly result from experiencing the many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. For example, when night sweats, migraines, and insomnia prevent you from getting restful sleep, exhaustion can fuel irritability and anger. 

Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between menopause and anger.

Anger and Menopause

During menopause, our moods are in flux and at the mercy of biology and circumstance. As mentioned above, there is a hormonal component to menopausal rage. However, anger as a reaction to changing circumstances in our lives—such as the frustrations of raising teenage children, the difficulties of caring for aging parents, or just getting older—is also a result of our emotional vulnerabilities at any given time. 

That’s why it's essential to view anger during menopause holistically. Menopausal rage is both hormonal and circumstantial—and, most importantly, it’s not your fault. 

What Causes Menopause Rage?

Let’s explore the chemical reasons why you might be more irritable and angry due to menopause. The changes begin during perimenopause, the transitional phase between menstruation and menopause. Our estrogen levels can fluctuate wildly during this phase.

In addition, declining estrogen levels affect your brain’s serotonin levels.

The Role of Estrogen and Serotonin

There is a direct relationship between estrogen and serotonin. When your estrogen levels start to decline, it affects your serotonin levels, resulting in mood swings and feelings of instability. Serotonin’s most notable function is regulating your mood. That’s why SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are usually prescribed for mood disorders as an antidepressant. 

When you add mood swings and this increased feeling of instability to the regular everyday stress and anxieties of modern adult life, it's no wonder why we may feel so overwhelmed with anger at the smallest of problems.

So, now that we understand the process a bit better, what can we do about it?

9 Things You Can Do About Menopause Rage

Our mood is affected by both biology and our environment. The following tips will help you address menopausal anger along these lines of biology and circumstance. 

1. Get Regular Exercise

The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Regular exercise comes with numerous health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved sleep, reduced stress, and more energy during the day. 

However, it is also proven to boost your mood. This is because regular exercise floods your body with endorphin hormones, serotonin, and dopamine, which gives you a boost when menopause has your hormone levels depressed.

2. Watch Your Diet

Just as with exercise, there are many reasons why you want to watch what you eat. Choosing the right foods can impact your hormone levels positively.

Foods rich in phytoestrogens or plant estrogens—such as soybeans, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables—have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

3. Stay Hydrated

One lesser-known symptom of menopause is an increased risk for dehydration. Estrogen helps a woman’s body tissues retain water, so when estrogen levels decrease, it becomes harder for those tissues to hold on to moisture. 

Dehydration has a number of adverse side effects, including irritability and confusion. That’s why it is absolutely critical that you drink between 8 and 12 glasses of water a day.

4. Get More Sleep

Studies show that even mild sleep deprivation leads to dramatic, adverse effects on mood and wellbeing. You need to prioritize a good night’s sleep and take all the necessary precautions to prevent sleep interruptions—like night sweats—that will prevent you from getting the rest you need.

5. Watch Your Caffeine Intake

There are two big reasons you’ll want to consider reducing your caffeine intake. First, too much caffeine, especially after 3 pm, can result in poor quality sleep, which can make mood-related symptoms worse.

You should also reduce your caffeine intake because caffeine is associated with an increased risk of vasomotor symptoms in menopausal and perimenopausal women. That means your chances of night sweats, hot flashes, and hot flashes increase when you have too much caffeine. 

How much is too much? It’s difficult to say—body chemistry differs from person to person. If you experience hot flashes and consume caffeine, try reducing or eliminating caffeine in your diet. 

6. Stop Smoking

Women who smoke report more intense and frequent menopausal symptoms than women who don’t. If you want to reduce your chances of experiencing night sweats and hot flashes, consider cutting back or quitting smoking altogether. Quitting smoking can reduce menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms, helping you better regulate your mood and get better sleep. 

7. Meditate and Practice Mindfulness

You can make changes in perspective and awareness to address the feelings of intense irritability and anger associated with menopausal rage. If you’ve never tried mindfulness meditation, or think you wouldn’t enjoy more structured mindfulness practices like yoga, simply connecting with nature and going for a walk can help ground you when you are feeling intense moods.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing either—you can learn a simple breathing technique or grounding exercise to try out when you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, a step back and a reassessment of the situation is all we need to help ourselves calm down. 

8. Spend Time with Friends

Sometimes you just need time with people who get you! Spend time with friends and allow yourself to simply be. You don’t have to worry about being anything but yourself with close friends. And that can considerably help your mood.

Plus, socializing with other women who know what we mean when we say menopausal rage can help us put our symptoms in perspective and let us know we aren’t alone in feeling intense mood swings. 

9. Get Menopause Hormone Therapy

Estrogen can help address the many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause by replacing some of the depleted estrogen that your ovaries are no longer producing. 

This helps to alleviate many of the mood symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause and leads to feelings of increased stability because your serotonin levels will be better regulated. Getting your hormones back on track will improve most if not all of your menopause symptoms, including regulating your mood swings. Menopause hormone therapy also addresses other menopause symptoms—like hot flashes and night sweats—contributing to overall poorer sleep and mood issues.

If You’re Having Trouble with Menopause Symptoms, Alloy Can Help

If you want to talk with a doctor about treating your menopausal anger and other menopause or perimenopausal symptoms, contact Alloy. We can provide the safe, effective menopausal relief you need now. 

Sources

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Leslie Born, Gideon Koren, Elizabeth Lin, and Meir Steiner.  “A New, Female-Specific Irritability Rating Scale.” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440789/

Mary Jane Brown, PhD, RD. “11 Natural Ways to Reduce Symptoms of Menopause.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-natural-menopause-tips#:~:text=During%20menopause%2C%20women%20often%20experience,can%20occur%20with%20hormonal%20changes.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hormone therapy: Is it right for you?” Mayo Clinic.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/in-depth/hormone-therapy/art-20046372

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).” Mayo Clinic.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/ssris/art-20044825

M-n. Chen, C-c. Lin & C-f. Liu. “Efficacy of Phytoestrogens for Menopausal Symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review.” Climacteric. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13697137.2014.966241

Nina S. Stachenfeld, PhD. “Hormonal Changes During Menopause and the Impact on Fluid Regulation.” Reproductive Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984489/

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Written by:

Alloy Staff

Who is Alloy? Alloy exists to help women age healthfully and feel like their best selves. We approach women’s health with radical honesty. We fuse together powerful medical expertise, science backed treatments, and the support of a community that knows how you feel. We don’t just get you - we are you.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon D. Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is among the nation’s leading obstetrician / gynecologists with a focus on the specific health challenges associated with menopause.