By Olabisi Akinbode
Ibadan – An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Adenike Omowale, on Monday described mood swings in menopausal women as a frustrating experience.
Omowale, who works with the Blue Cross Maternity Hospital, Oluyole Ibadan, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that all women of menopausal age were prone to mood swings.
”Mood swings are most common symptoms of menopause and can be very frustrating for women.
“It is an extreme or abrupt fluctuations in mood. During mood swings, people often experience drastic changes in emotional state,” she said.
According to an online medical publication, MedicalNewsToday, Menopause takes place, technically, after a woman has not had a period for 12 months.
“After this, she is considered postmenopausal, and many women see differences in their emotional symptoms. From start to finish, the process can take two to10 years.
“The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), says close to 23 per cent of women go through mood swings before, during, or after menopause.
“For some women, especially women who are taking hormones or have had their uterus removed, mood swings are their first indication that they are beginning to transition into menopause.’’
According to Omowale, mood swings are often used to describe an emotional reaction that is inappropriate to its cause or trigger.
“Mood swings can leave a woman laughing hysterically one moment and weeping the next; understanding why these changes in emotions occur is the key to being able to get solutions to them.
“Fortunately, it is widely known that mood swings are caused by fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels as soon as the woman enters the pre-menopausal age.
“During menopause, women commonly experience mood swings, because their hormones, which regulates mood and emotions, are thrown off balance,” Omowale said.
The gynaecologist said that though, this was a common symptom of menopause, it could be very troubling and helpful for women undergoing it to understand the symptoms of the condition.
She said that other mood swings, apart from menopausal symptoms, include unexplainable emotions, depression, sadness and lack of motivation.
Omowale said they include extreme moods, irritability and aggression, less patience, increased stress, anxiety and nervousness.
“It is a common thing to prescribe Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to treat this fundamental imbalance; but it has been found to have persistent links with some terminal diseases,’’ she said.
Omowale listed the diseases to include breast and ovarian cancer, heart diseases and blood clot.
The gynaecologist said many professionals had agreed that the most effective approach in the treatment of mood swings was to combine a few changes in lifestyle with alternative treatment options.
“The first approach to treating mood swings is change in habit and lifestyle. This method carries no cost and minimal risk, but it requires self-discipline.
“In many cases, simple lifestyle adjustment can relieve mood swings and lead to overall better health,’’ she said.
Omowale said that fundamentally, techniques for stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation combined with regular exercise could strongly improve mood swings.
She also recommended balanced diet rich in foods that boost serotonin level as very critical in regulating mood swings.
“Foods rich in carbohydrate such as potatoes, bran, wheat and other complex carbohydrates help to boost serotonin levels.
“Eating more protein such as meat, fish, and dairy products, are rich in amino acids and may help women to cope with mood swings.
“Spending time with family and friends and loved ones can also boost a woman’s level of oxytocin, (which is a feel-good hormone) that counters mood imbalance.
“Low-impact exercises such as yoga, not only improve overall self-image and health, but helps to reduce stress levels,” she said.
The expert said that if all these failed, alternative medicine and hormone boosting supplements should be taken. (NAN)