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Does Perimenopause Cause Mood Changes?

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Updated July 15, 2011

Question: Does Perimenopause Cause Mood Changes?
Answer: Many factors may influence your mood during perimenopause. The cause of perimenopausal mood changes is a topic of debate among researchers. Some believe the decreased amount of estrogen produced during perimenopause triggers brain changes that cause depression. Others believe perimenopausal mood fluctuations such as depression, irritability, and anxiety are influenced by other symptoms of perimenopause including hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and troubled sleep and not by changes in your hormones. And still others are convinced that it is a combination of both changing hormone levels and the symptoms of perimenopause.

Other factors that may influence mood changes during perimenopause include:

  • Having a history of depression or anxiety.
  • Severe menopausal symptoms
  • Increased stress
  • Having a negative perception of menopause
  • Smoking
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being unemployed
  • Being unsatisfied about your relationship or lack of one
  • Not having children, or wanting more children
  • Financial problems
  • Poor self-image
  • Lack of an adequate support system

If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, see your health care provider for treatment. You don't have to accept mood changes as a "normal" part of perimenopause, with proper treatment you can begin to feel like yourself again.

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