Dr Buki Adewole, a Consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, says eight out of 10 women suffer sudden mood swings at menopause.
Adewole told newsmen on Sunday that the mood swings and menopausal hot flashes were common to all women particularly from ages 40 and above.
Experts including Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English define mood swings as extreme or abrupt fluctuations in emotional state; it can also be a sign of mental illness precedent to the end of menstrual cycle in women.
Wikipedia states that mood swing is an extreme or rapid change in mood. Such mood swings can play a positive part in promoting problem solving and in producing flexible forward planning. However, when mood swings are so strong that they are disruptive, they may be the main part of a bipolar disorder.
“The mood swings are of one the most common symptoms of menopause which could be very frustrating for women.
“Menopausal age varies from women to women, but it generally starts between ages 40 to 55 in women and that it is at this period that the fertility of the woman diminishes.
“During mood swings women often experience drastic shifts in emotional state and exhibit inappropriate emotional reaction.
“Fortunately, it is widely known that mood swings are caused by fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels as soon the woman enters the pre-menopausal age,” Adewole told newsmen.
She added:“Mood swings during menopause are caused largely by the hormonal transitions women go through during this time.
“Hormones, such as estrogen, influence the production of serotonin, which is a mood-regulating neurotransmitter.
“Mood swings can leave a woman laughing hysterically one moment and weeping the next moment and understanding why they occur is the key to getting solutions.”
The gynecologist, who described it as troublesome and traumatic, however, pointed out that the experience differ among women.
Adewole said the condition was usually worsened by stress and anxiety and that in order to mitigate the effects of mood swings it was better for women to avoid putting themselves under stress and anxiety.
“Of course, medications to regulate the hormonal imbalance are also one of the ways to treat mood swings.
“I will advise spouses and children to understand this stage in a woman’s life so that she can be helped to lessen the discomfort,” she said.