Does Perimenopause Cause Mood Swings?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

My wife suffers from depression, will perimenopause aggravate her mood swings?

Doctor's response

The time of transition to menopause, known as perimenopause, has been associated with an increased risk of depression. The symptoms that occur during the menopausal transition overlap with many of the symptoms of depression. These symptoms include:

There are data to suggest that declining levels of estrogen are related to the depression that may occur during the menopausal transition.

Since your wife already has a history of depression, she may experience symptoms of depression during perimenopause. Because perimenopause does not affect all women in the same way, it is impossible to predict the occurrence or severity of symptoms for a given woman. Fortunately, depression is a treatable condition. There are numerous effective methods for control of depression and other symptoms of perimenopause which can be used singly or in combination. These include:

Stress management techniques, exercise, and social support networks can also be of benefit in managing depression and other symptoms of menopause.

Medically reviewed by Wayne S. Blocker, MD; Board Certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology


"Patient information: Menopause (Beyond the Basics)"

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Reviewed on 9/12/2017