This post was inspired by a client of mine who is definitely having mood swings and feels that her husband does not understand. His comments suggest that she is either mentally ill, depressed or just basically unstable. His recommendations are that she should take some anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication and just get these mood swings under control. He just wants to house to be peaceful and quiet again. He wants that loving wife back, the one who puts up with his quirks, cooks the meals and is always trying to please.

She, on the other hand, believes that her changes in mood are often brought on by his constant put downs, personal insults, silent treatment, cold shoulder, aloofness and general sense of disdain he portrays. She believes that he doesn’t look at himself, at what he might be doing to instigate and exacerbate the emotional ups and downs. She says that he just looks at the external effects without realizing the part he may be playing.

Who is correct? Is she having uncontrollable mood swings that have nothing to do with his behavior? Is he behaving so badly toward her that she is emotionally exploding? It turns out that for this couple, as well as many others, when women approach menopause the relationship dynamics begin to shift at the same time that her hormonal imbalances become prominent.

At least 50% of women experience mood swings as they reach their peri-menopause and actual menopause years. Below is a list of common symptoms often described as mood swings.

* Rapid and unexpected changes in emotional states
* Intense sadness, melancholy and even deep depression
* Lethargy, lack of motivation and tiredness
* Anxiety, nervousness, increased stress
* Anger, aggression, irritability, even rage

Causes of these common mood swings are most often attributed to fluctuating hormones. With a lowering of the hormone estrogen, which increases serotonin receptor levels and production, there is an increased risk for psychological disturbances. Also, as the hormonal imbalances begin, women often experience uncomfortable night sweats, hot flashes, fatigue and physiological changes.

However, there may be many additional causes that are not often talked about. Right about this time in in a woman’s life, her children may be leaving the home (empty nest syndrome), her husband may be facing his own fear of aging and may be eyeing and commenting about other women more often. She may begin to feel somewhat invisible around her husband and also around other men, whereas a few short years ago her husband was hot for her and other men were often noticing her.

Other factors that may affect a woman’s moods during the menopausal life change is her own history. If she has experienced mental illness, trauma, or relationship issues in the past, these problems may reach the surface again. Her lifestyle also affects her moods – diet, exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription drugs. Also, if she has had some health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, thyroid problems, she may not feel she can enjoy life the way she used to. And she may have her own fear of aging, realizing perhaps for the first time that she is vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life. She may also be caring for aging parents, working full time at a stressful job, and having a greater share of the domestic responsibilities at home.

When a woman has mood swings, she may actually be expressing her true thoughts and emotions, perhaps for the first time. Without those soothing serotonins flooding her system, she may become less tolerant of being treated unfairly, less willing to keep her voice quiet, and less willing to allow herself to feel unattractive and unfeminine.

If a man is wise, he will take a look at his wife and attempt to see the world through her eyes. Couples counseling can bring the underlying issues to the surface. These emotional concerns may have been percolating beneath the surface throughout the marriage. And – a woman going through mood swings and menopausal symptoms can make some simple lifestyle changes. She can improve her diet and exercise, relaxation and personal understanding at the same time that she receives professional medical assistance to alleviate some of the troubling symptoms.

Teamwork helps. If both husband and wife work together they can find some satisfying solutions to the disruptive menopausal symptoms. Working together, they can increase their emotional connection, communication and intimacy, and return to a renewed state of marital bliss.

Author's Bio: 

Author of Love Me, Touch Me, Heal Me: The Path to Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Spiritual Reawakening, Dr. Erica Goodstone is also a syndicated columnist with hundreds of articles about healing, love and relationships published on such sites as,, and, to name a few. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Erica helps clients to reconnect their mind and body, heart and intellect, and to recover their passion and purpose in life. She is a diplomate for the American Association of Integrative Medicine, the American Psychotherapy Association, the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Board of Sexology. You can contact Dr. Erica directly at and get her free report entitled: Relationship Success. is a unique and innovative internet resource whose goal is to be the most trusted and reliable internet destination for people of the Baby Boomer Generation.

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