When it comes to irritability and mood swings, most of us have had some experience with both. We’d all like to keep these episodes to a minimum, but perimenopause can sometimes make that seem like an impossible challenge.

“I was a real bear, ready to bite anyone’s head off. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy. I was moody and snapping all the time. Now I can honestly say that I wake up in the morning and I am happy. My patience has returned and my husband has noticed a big change.”

Irene, customer

A comment from an article on our site captures the humbling realization that you can’t blame bad moods and irritability in perimenopause on other people:

“I thought, when did my loving partner of 25 years become so difficult and hard on me? Then I realized — it was me. Yikes. Time for a change!"

Irritability and mood swings are two top complaints we hear from women in perimenopause. These symptoms can affect your personal and professional relationships, your outlook on life and your daily well-being. While irritability and mood swings are closely related, there are some differences.

We use “mood swing” to describe a reaction that isn’t appropriate to the event that triggered it while “irritability” can be described as an angry or impatient reaction to something — or someone. Unfortunately, both these common symptoms often go hand in hand during perimenopause and menopause.

What you can do about irritability and mood swings

Both irritability and mood swings as symptoms of perimenopause have deep physiologic roots in hormonal imbalance. In many cases, fatigue plays a role as well — and if you’re having other symptoms, like hot flashes or insomnia, you are likely very fatigued!

Wild mood swings and increased irritability are tightly linked to the sudden shifts in hormonal balance so characteristic of perimenopause. These fluctuations — in the levels of and ratios between estrogen, testosterone and progesterone — can occur when your body doesn’t get the right kind of support to maintain natural balance. Irritability and mood swings may become even more pronounced when you don’t pay close attention to your own needs during perimenopause.

Irritability and mood swings have an emotional aspect as well. Many women in perimenopause are surprised to be finding their “true voices.” This is normal and natural though the transition can sometimes be disquieting. During this time, you may also note the resurfacing of old emotional issues that remain unresolved. Taking on this type of work is important, not just to relieve your irritability, but for your very health. While the process may occasionally be painful, lots of women in perimenopause are reaching the point when they’re ready to release grudges, guilt, and blame so they can free themselves of old hurts.

Women often come to us saying, “I thought I was losing my mind” because they’re shocked by the fierceness of their irritability and the sharpness of their mood swings. For them it’s a relief to know that their moods have a physical basis and can be relieved. Even severe irritability can be alleviated by providing your body with the support it needs to achieve hormonal balance.

We’ve been able to help thousands of women find relief from their irritability and mood swings so they feel better, and more like themselves.