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Why am I Angry and Irritable?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Menopause Womens Health Mood Swings

Although the clichéd image of an angry, raging menopausal woman is an exaggerated one, there is a grain of truth to the stereotype. Menopause brings with it many physical changes as well as emotional and mental ones. One such change can be a shift in your moods, which can leave you angry and irritable. But you may be wondering just why these changes occur to women's health?

As your levels of oestrogen, progesterone and male hormones – androgens – begin to change, your body can respond with mood swings, anger, symptoms of depression and irritation. These can be particularly frustrating, especially if you have previously been a very stable, even-tempered woman. Not only that, but they can be taxing on personal relationships with friends, family and your partner.

The more you experience these moods and perhaps lash out at those around you, the more you will feel alienated and alone, which only serves to strengthen your irritable moods and anger. In this sense, learning to cope with the moods will be an important part of the menopausal transition for many women. In fact, you can emerge into the postmenopausal time period with even better, more effective communication skills.

Treating Your Anger and Irritable Moods

Some doctors will recommend balancing out your hormones with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). However, there are still various risks associated with HRT and your doctor can decide if this type of treatment is appropriate for you. Others will prefer to approach their anger and irritable moods with more natural, holistic methods for improving women's health.

Treatments such as deep breathing exercises, massage therapy or acupuncture are thought to help women relax and reduce anger and stress. Meditation or even simply spending more time doing activities and hobbies you enjoy can facilitate improved moods. Exercise increases your production of endorphins, which are nature's 'feel good' chemicals. Try to include several sessions of exercise each week, whether that involves the gym, a walk outside or perhaps playing sports with your children. All of these approaches can improve women's health.

Accessing a Support Network to Handle Anger

Consider keeping a personal journal, where you can keep a list of things that bother you and make you feel angry. It can be a helpful outlet to write down the different triggers for your anger. Sometimes, it is when we see how small something really is that we can put our anger into perspective and realise that we are not reacting realistically to the trigger. Talking openly but respectfully to friends, family members or your partner can also help you to obtain the support to work through your anger and irritable feelings.

You will likely have older female figures that can offer their insight on the menopausal transition and the emotional changes in women's health that are common to many women. If you don't feel comfortable speaking to your loved ones, consider sessions with a counsellor. The anonymity of counselling can allow some women to speak more freely about their anger and irritation. Some cities and towns will also have support groups, which can be helpful. Knowing that other women are experiencing similar feelings of anger and irritation can help ease your isolation and help you move beyond the feelings.

Seeking Help From a Doctor for Women's Health

Sometimes, even the best efforts will not improve your moods. In these rare cases, you should see your doctor. You could be suffering from the symptoms of depression, which may warrant a brief course of antidepressant therapy or more focused counselling sessions with a psychologist who is familiar with women's health issues.

Fortunately, most women can improve their moods and their ability to handle anger by adjusting their lifestyles to include positive practices while also accessing a solid support network. Anger is only as bad as you allow it to be, which means that even when you feel your mood darkening and mood swings approaching, you can still take proactive, healthy measures to communicate your anger appropriately. In this way, your menopausal transition can be more positive for you and for the friends and family in your life.

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