What do I do about mood swings?

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Dear Ellen,

After I read your book, I went oh my G-d – That’s what it was. Stupid me, I was 45 at the time and did not realize that I was in perimenopause. I thought it was just stress causing my mood swings.  I own my own company and recently re-married so I have lots of things going on at once in my life.  Now I am 51.  I am not myself.  Most days I feel very moody and often snap for no reason at all.  I don’t feel like I can control my emotions.  I still get my period, but they are very irregular.    My family and staff at my company are suffering!!! Any suggestions?


Dear Mandy,

Perhaps the most common myth about menopause is that it doesn’t occur until you’re old. That is so NOT TRUE! Most women first begin to experience perimenopause in their early to mid-forties. Some women begin to have symptoms in their thirties, which can result in premature menopause or early menopause. Keep in mind that these are relative terms. Everyone is different, and there are many factors that contribute to menopausal timing, including genetics and medical and surgical history (women who undergo a hysterectomy traditionally jump right into menopause).

Women are likely in states of “hormonal flux” at puberty, premenstrually, post-partum, and during perimenopause and menopause. During menopause your levels of estrogen and progesterone are in flux.   Because these hormones are also neuromodulators, rapid changes can trigger mood symptoms.  It is time to find to locate a good menopause specialist. A great way to prepare for your first visit is to chart your symptoms so you’re ready to share some hard evidence when you go in.  Remember, during perimenopause and menopause you can find that your memory is not as sharp as it used to be.  My Menopause Symptoms Chart is an easy and simple way to help you communicate to your specialist exactly how you are feeling.  Start tracking those symptoms tonight!

Talk to your menopause specialist about doing a hormone panel.  Fortunately for us, when it comes to testing for hormone levels – no pencil is needed, and you really can’t fail! If you’re still menstruating, have your hormone panel (blood test) done during the first three days of your period.  Here are the tests to ask for:

  • Estradiol
  • Free and Total Testosterone
  • FSH
  • Progesterone
  • Thyroid Workup

This hormone panel, along with the information you gathered on your Menopause Symptoms Chart, will help your specialist evaluate your symptoms and help create an individualized treatment program just for you.

Good Luck! Keep me posted.



After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.