Support Centre

Anger and irritability

Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Anger and irritability

You may have had premenstrual stress (PMS) and already know that your hormones can affect how patient, calm or on edge you feel. The same is true in perimenopause and menopause, and people and situations can irritate you more than normal, or you may have sudden feelings of extreme frustration or anger.

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Hormones and mood

Oestrogen helps regulate chemicals in the brain that have mood boosting properties like dopamine and serotonin. Progesterone has a calming effect on mood and aids sleep and relaxation, and testosterone is thought to help with stability of mood as well as mental stamina and clarity of thought.

When these hormones fluctuate and levels drop, it can leave you feeling unsettled, more emotional, quick to anger, be more snappy verbally, and you may notice how quickly your mood can change from one minute to the next.

You may be more prone to mood swings if you have suffered with PMS in the past, you have a history of depression or other mental health condition, you have high levels of stress or you’re in poor physical health.

Ways to help

As with many problems of mood and mental health, the benefits of good sleep, managing stress levels, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity cannot be underestimated.

Taking HRT also helps to improve your overall mood and keep things more stable emotionally.

If your mood swings are extreme and becoming more of a problem for you (and those around you), it can lead to added anxiety and make it difficult to fully participate in everyday life.

Seek help for severe mood swings and speak to your doctor about them. Before you go, it may be useful to keep a diary and look out for any possible triggers including:

  • what activity you were doing
  • what stress you are under
  • what you had eaten and how hydrated you were
  • how tired you were
  • what your health is like
  • and any medications or supplements you’re taking.

Your doctor may wish to do some blood tests to check your hormone levels and thyroid function.