How Are Menopause And Anger Linked?

Updated August 03, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown

If you have ever experienced or been on the receiving end of menopause or perimenopause rage, you know it is no laughing matter. Menopause and anger appear to be strongly linked. But how can menopause affect your moods so devastatingly? Menopause symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. And yes, these can lead to menopausal rage. It can be hard to separate symptoms of menopause from the natural mood swings that could occur simply because a woman is no longer fertile, is approaching older age, and suffers from uncertainty about what her future holds. It is complicated to tease out cause and effect when you reach menopause.

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To say menopause can disrupt daily life is an understatement. For most women, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and hot flashes are just some of the symptoms caused by menopause that are brought on by the fluctuating, and ultimately lowering, female reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone during and after menopause. Anger is a very natural response to dealing with symptoms of menopause, which can continue for years.  On top of that, decreasing female testosterone levels can bring on loss of self-confidence, exhaustion, and a declining sex drive. It’s no wonder women experience anger during menopause. Research suggests that the hormone-related mood changes menopausal women experience are brought on by bad overall health, life stressors, and a history of depression. Addressing these issues goes a lot further than simply focusing on menopause symptoms.

Common Menopause Symptoms

As women transition into menopause, common symptoms they could expect include:

  • insomnia
  • vaginal dryness
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory problems
  • reduced libido, or sex drive
  • dry skin, mouth, and eyes
  • increased urination
  • sore or tender breasts
  • headaches
  • racing heart
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • reduced muscle mass
  • painful or stiff joints
  • reduced bone mass
  • less full breasts
  • hair thinning or loss
  • increased hair growth in other body areas, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back.

Notice that this list from Healthline doesn’t include anger. But intense anger is a common occurrence among menopausal women. Feeling angry can result from factors connected to menopause. Menopause and perimenopause rage is linked to experiencing such distressing symptoms.

How Does Menopause Affect Your Personality?

No, intense anger, depression, and mood swings are not all in your head. But we call menopause “the change” for a reason. Things are happening rapidly at this time of life that impact women and their partners. Children leave the coop, and you become empty nesters.  Aging parents may become ever more infirm and dependent. Your partner may have erectile dysfunction, which leads to anxiety for both of you. Not to mention, you may both be facing insecure retirement circumstances.

Menopause or perimenopause rage is a natural response to these changes, and emotional outbursts, mood swings, frustration, and anger during menopause are all par for the course. So it would be wrong to attribute these to a changing personality. It’s just that circumstances, combined with common menopause symptoms, make managing menopause a full-time job.

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How To Treat Symptoms Of Menopause

If you’re asking yourself, “how can I alleviate my menopause symptoms,” you’re not alone. There are a wide variety of things that can help you through the menopause phase. Sure, you can pick up a few of the best menopause books, but it’s important to seek help for your symptoms. A 2016 survey by the British Menopause Society revealed that one in two women in Great Britain went through menopause without consulting a healthcare professional, and 42 percent said their symptoms were worse than expected. The most frequently cited issues were hot flashes, night sweats, and decreased enjoyment of sex. Your health care provider can help you decide on the best menopause and perimenopause symptom treatment that may work for you. However, keep in mind that none of these are “quick” fixes.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) replaces declining estrogen and progesterone hormones during perimenopause and menopause and can help with hot flashes, night sweats, pain during sex, and vaginal dryness. This can improve your mood and decrease menopausal rage, especially if you have had insomnia. HRT may also protect against osteoporosis.

Taking HRT can increase your risk for blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease. But many doctors believe that HRT benefits outweigh the risks.

HRT is only available by prescription in the US, so you should talk to your health provider about whether it could be right for you. Doctors generally prescribe HRT for a few years, and risks decrease when you stop taking it.

Antidepressants

Whether you have a garden variety of menopause symptoms or suffer from menopausal rage, the most commonly prescribed medications to help control menopause and perimenopause rage are antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs work by blocking the absorption of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter, into the brain cells. This permits more serotonin to be present in the synapses, which are the open gaps between nerve cells. Higher serotonin levels in the synapses have been shown to help reduce depression, anxiety, and other mood symptoms, including menopause and perimenopause rage.

‘Natural’ Remedies For Menopause Support

Many women feel more comfortable using nutritional supplements instead of pharmaceuticals. Lots of plant-based supplement companies claim to offer help for typical menopause maladies. These include red clover for anxiety, black cohosh for hot flashes, and Saint John’s Wort for mild depression. Even aromatherapy oils provide menopause relief among some women. However, natural remedies have less rigorous medical research behind them, and they are unregulated, unlike pharmaceutical products. They can also have negative interactions with pharmaceuticals, so it’s important to talk to your doctor to learn how menopause can be treated and about potential treatment risks.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

You can tame menopause anger and other negative thought patterns using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT essentially works by changing behaviors and perceptions that emerge from your values, attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. The underlying idea is simple; if you think guides the way you view and subsequently react to life events, you can change your feelings and deal with them by changing how you frame your problems.

CBT differs from other types of psychotherapies. It is based on setting concrete goals with your therapist that you create after discussing the problems and outcomes you would like to realize. You and your therapist will continue to work together, tackling each issue, respectively. Your therapist may supplement the therapy with independent reading materials and exercises you do independently, such as identifying menopause anger triggers and deep breathing exercises. Therapists at ReGain can help you explore CBT.

Other Menopause Tips

Consider the following menopause tips that can help you reduce anger:

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness works by focusing on your current surroundings and quelling that anxious feeling that comes with dwelling on past or future events. A Mayo Clinic study found that women’s menopausal symptoms and stress were lowered when they practiced mindfulness. In addition, higher mindfulness scores were associated with lowered depression, irritability, and anxiety scores.

Get Proper Sleep

Make sure to include good sleep hygiene in your menopause treatment. Ensure that the room you sleep in is set at a cool nighttime temperature and it’s free from lights from cell phones or laptops. Restrict your bed to sleeping and sexual activity. Try to make bedtime and wake time the same every day, including weekends. Avoid coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas in the evening

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Seek Outside Support

There are several online forums where you can share how you’re feeling and get support from other women who are suffering from menopause and asking themselves, “how can I alleviate my menopause symptoms?” These include the Live Better With Menopause Community Forum, Menopause Chicks, and The Menopause Support Group, where women address common and less common menopause symptoms. Each forum has a Facebook page to get started on.

Remain Active

Regular exercise is a great way to promote both physical and mental health. Remaining active helps relieve stress, improve your mood, and make it easier to get problems into perspective. Calming activities like Tai Chi and yoga can help you relax, while more energetic exercises like Zumba and other dance exercises are great ways of working out menopausal angst.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend two and a half hours per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise, such as speed-walking, plus two days a week of muscle strengthening.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

According to Healthline, incorporating healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, quality protein, dairy products, and foods high in phytoestrogens like soybeans, chickpeas, and peanuts may help relieve menopausal symptoms. Also, avoid sugars, which can destabilize mood. Drink plenty of fluids.

Address Vaginal Dryness

Bear in mind that vaginal dryness can make sex very painful, leading to tension between you and your partner. He may be confused about why you avoid having sex and assume the problem rests with him, not you. It’s important to discuss this calmly with your partner and to take steps toward less painful intercourse. Declining estrogen levels bring on vaginal dryness. Your healthcare provider can prescribe estrogen creams or HRT to help with the dryness. In addition, commercially available vaginal lubricants can be helpful.

How ReGain’s Online Therapy Can Help

Are you curious about exploring Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?  Or perhaps you would like other support dealing with your menopausal anger. You could choose to see a therapist face-to-face or opt for online therapy. ReGain has licensed medical professionals who stand ready to help you right away. Log into its online counseling portal. ReGain works with your schedule. You can choose to chat discreetly via text or, if you prefer, on a video chat or over the phone. You should definitely feel comfortable with whichever method you choose. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of licensed professionals is here to serve you at any time.

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