Mood swings are issues that we may all have had to experience at some point in our lives. It can be quite exhausting having to deal with unexplained emotional highs or lows, especially if you are having mood swings on a regular basis.
Mood changes can intensify randomly or just before your menstrual cycle begins every month (premenstrual syndrome). Sounds familiar? This article attempts to help you find answers to why you are having these swings on a regular basis.
What are Mood Swings?
Mood swings can be defined as an abrupt or unexplainable switch of moods. If you are having mood swings regularly as a woman, it may be a result of a condition called hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of recurrent mood swings in young women of reproductive age and many are unaware of the cause of their suffering.
Some ladies experience this in mild ways, however, some have very extreme episodes that can affect daily function. Some of the emotions experienced include anxiety, anger, excitement, and depression.
ANXIETY: This can be characterized as a constant feeling of worry or fear and these feelings can be strong enough to impair one’s daily activities. These could include panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
ANGER: Emotional outbursts of anger at the slightest provocation. Sometimes it can just be constant irritability while other times there is an extreme feeling of anger which could sometimes lead to aggressive behavior if not addressed.
HYPOMANIA: Excitement and hyperactive episodes as a response to activities or good news even sometimes for no major reason. An extreme happy feeling. Although this can look like a good thing, It could also be an unexplainable urge to throw caution to the wind and take on risky behavior which is similar to what is seen in bipolar disorder.
DEPRESSION: An overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness, either as a reaction to a situation or for no reason at all. The affected person could withdraw from family or loved ones, cry a lot, feel constantly tired, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Hormonal Imbalance is a condition in which there is either an excess or shortage of one or more hormones in the body. The changes in these hormone levels may disrupt a lot of body processes which in turn can cause a lot of discomforts and affect a person’s daily function.
To understand this better, it is necessary to understand what body hormones are and how they work.
The Body Hormones and their Functions.
Hormones can simply be described as chemical messengers that regulate body processes and general functions. They are secreted by the endocrine glands which are located in various parts of the body
There are a bunch of hormones that help to regulate female reproductive health and these hormones include:
- Follicular stimulating Hormone
- Luteinizing Hormone
Thyroid Stimulating HormoneThis is a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland to stimulate the production of Thyroxine(T4) and Triiodothyronine(T3) in the thyroid gland. These hormones can also be referred to as growth hormones, and they affect metabolism, libido, bone maintenance, heart muscle function, and brain development… among others.
EstrogenThis is a very vital feminine hormone produced in the ovaries. It helps to maintain the reproductive system by promoting breast development, pubic hair, vaginal wall thickness, Uterine integrity, and mechanisms that revolve around ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy.
ProgesteroneThis is also another major reproductive hormone. It also maintains the lining and integrity of the uterus. It is sometimes referred to as the hormone of pregnancy and it has a major part to play in fetal development. Progesterone also helps in breast development and lactation.
ProlactinProlactin is best known for its ability to influence and enable the production of milk in the breast of mammals. It can also play a role in metabolism, immune function, and pancreatic development.
Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH)This hormone is secreted in the pituitary gland and stimulates the reproductive organs to promote the follicular formation and the release of estrogen into the blood. So it helps alongside LH to regulate the female reproductive cycle (and menstruation)
Luteinizing HormoneSimilar to FSH is also a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland and works in the second phase of menstruation to increase Progesterone in the blood. This function is very essential for the process of menstruation to take place and the reproductive cycle in general.
OxytocinSome call it the love potion. It is made in the hypothalamus but stored in the pituitary glands. It is a hormone that plays a very crucial part in labor by stimulating the uterus to contract which is essential in childbirth. It also stimulates lactation and promotes maternal and child bonding.
Now you know about some of the important hormones involved in reproduction and women’s health in general.
These hormones have to be secreted in the right amounts to maintain proper body function. However certain factors can affect the rates at which these hormones are produced and these lead to what we have earlier referred to as Hormonal Imbalance which can affect your mood and cause mood swings.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:
- Weight gain/loss
- Raised Cholesterol levels
- Mood swings
- Slow/Increased heart-rate
- Low libido
- Insomnia or Hypersomnia
- Irregular Menstruation
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal Imbalance can be caused by a lot of things. Almost anything that disrupts the body process can also lead to hormonal imbalance, like certain conditions, stress or it can also be hereditary or of unknown origin.
- Common causes include:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Hereditary factors
- Unhealthy diet/Lifestyle
- Certain medications
- Psychological issues
What should I do if I am having mood swings?
If you’re having mood swings regularly, or any of the other symptoms listed earlier, it is advisable that you do a hormone profile test or consult with a licensed Medical Doctor.