Depressed menopausal woman

Mood changes during menopause. What it is, and what it isn’t

When talking about moods during menopause we must start out by saying that the broad mood changes that many women experience during perimenopause and menopause, are not the same as depression. 

Common psychological symptoms that affect women during perimenopause and menopause are:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Low mood
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Poor concentration or ‘brain fog’ 

When combined with  insomnia and vasomotor symptoms - hot flushes & night sweats- that lead to poor sleep and tiredness, things can seem even worse.

It’s important to realise the mental symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are just as real as physical ones. If you feel like you’re not coping, you should seek help from your GP or health practitioner.

Mood Changes vs Hormone Imbalance

Emotional symptoms like anxiety, low mood and nagging feelings of sadness are generally the first to show that you might be going through perimenopause or menopause. These are relatively common symptoms and are caused by the hormonal imbalance from fluctuating estrogen levels. This hormone variation is why they come and go but can last over a period of months or years, the same as the journey of menopause. 

When these emotional symptoms of hormone imbalance are persistent, women can sometimes be misdiagnosed with depression as the symptoms are the same. In some cases, this can lead to being prescribed antidepressants instead of examining whether perimenopause or menopause may be the cause. 

Understanding the difference and whether hormones are playing a part in how you feel is an important point to raise with your GP. Closer scrutiny of symptoms will lead to a more holistic interpretation rather than a quick-fix solution. 

A whole body approach 

Because there are so many factors that can impact our mental wellbeing, it’s important to consider the wide-ranging ways we can manage our mental health through the different aspects of life.

If you’re able to address some of the reasons for poor sleep, you’ll feel less tired which can make you feel less down. In the same way, choosing healthy diet options, supporting your body with the right supplements and exercising will all help your physical and mental health, give you more energy and lead to greater feelings of being in control. 

Some women have found counselling, mindfulness, hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy have worked well for improving their mental health. In addition, taking a perscribed treatment/medicine to tackle menopause symptoms and hormonal imbalances, can have a significant improvement on mental health too. 

Factors influencing low mood during menopause

Theories abound as to why there are an increased number of women with mood changes during perimenopause and menopause. 

There can be a lot of stress factors that contribute to low moods. External factors such as ‘empty nest syndrome’ and the worry of caring for older parents, as well as personal factors like the physical changes a woman sees in herself during this transitional phase, can all play a part. 

Hormone fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause play a crucial role in our emotional wellbeing during this time. Estrogen, which helps brain function, is see-sawing and progesterone, which impacts stress responses, is also fluctuating wildly. It’s really not surprising that low mood is common in women during this time. You can read more on hormones in our factsheet here.

Recognising low moods

Mood changes can be notoriously hard to recognise in oneself. Our internal voice that says we’ll be alright, we need to pull ourselves together or tomorrow we’ll be fine, can be loud and persistent. We’re also very adept at masking how we're feeling and ‘putting on a brave face’. If we’re avoiding social situations, even our friends might struggle to see the level of our low mood. 

If you’re experiencing a very low mood that is constant for prolonged periods of time you should speak to your doctor. 

Treating menopause mood changes

If you have previously experienced postnatal depression or have a history of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it's more likely that you will encounter mood changes during your menopausal journey - having already been more responsive to fluctuations in hormone levels.

Luckily, there are a range of treatments options available, from prescribed medications and treatments to natural support like our Mood supplement, all of which are designed to help you back to feelings of equilibrium and regain a better quality of life. 



Discover our full range of evidence-based, symptom-specific supplements.



This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.

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