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Hormonal Havoc: Exploring the Connection Between Puberty, Menopause, and Moods

Oh My DAYS! Here in the England there are teacher strikes going on in tandem with bank holiday weekends, meaning the kids are home more than usual. I wholly support the teacher strikes, myself having quit the profession for the exact reasons they are striking. However, my tweenager is driving me absolutely bonkers with his moods!

And, to top it off, I am in perimenopause, and despite being on HRT, his moods seem to be having an effect on me as well!

The other day my husband commented ‘Well, that escalated quickly…’ after I yelled down the stairs at my tweenager to start saving money as I am kicking him out at 18 if he was going to continue to be a knob-head. We were having an argument about whether he was going to do homework that his teachers had assigned for the strike day.

I am not normally fired up by my son and thanks to yoga and meditation, I tend to be calm around the kids. However, lately my son’s moods are off the charts! Puberty and menopause are two significant life stages that are marked by changes in hormone levels. Hormones play a vital role in both puberty and menopause, and understanding the similarities and differences in hormone levels can help us all navigate these transitions more smoothly.

Why Do Teens Get Moody?

One of the primary reasons why teenagers are moody during puberty is due to the significant hormonal changes that occur in their bodies. The hypothalamus, a small gland located in the brain, produces hormones that stimulate the pituitary gland to release hormones that trigger the release of sex hormones from the testes in males and the ovaries in females. These sex hormones, play a crucial role in the physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty.

The surge in hormones during puberty can cause teenagers to experience mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability. Teenagers may also experience intense feelings of happiness, excitement, and joy, which can quickly turn into feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration. These mood swings can be difficult for teenagers to manage, and they may struggle to control their emotions.

Another reason why teenagers are moody during puberty is due to the changes that occur in their brains. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation, is not fully developed until a person's mid-20s. During puberty, the prefrontal cortex is still developing, which can make it challenging for teenagers to regulate their emotions and control their impulses.

Teenagers are also going through a period of significant social and emotional development during puberty. They are trying to establish their identity, form relationships with peers and romantic partners, and navigate the challenges of adolescence. These changes can cause teenagers to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious, which can lead to moodiness and emotional instability.

Causes of Irritability in Menopause

On the other hand, during menopause, the body experiences a significant drop in oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is a hormone that affects many systems in the body, including the brain. It plays a crucial role in regulating mood, emotions, and cognitive function. Therefore, when oestrogen levels drop during menopause, it can lead to a range of mood-related symptoms.

Additionally, menopause can also be a stressful time in a woman's life. The hormonal changes and physical symptoms can be challenging to manage, leading to anxiety and depression. Many women also face social pressures, such as changes in their relationships or work life, which can add to their stress levels.

These stress levels are exacerbated when your child would rather work on his YouTube channel than read or practise his French homework. Our views on homework cannot be more different. However, at the back of my mind I know that I was exactly like him as a teenager. School was easy for me, and I hardly, if ever, studied. However, when I got to university, it meant that I had no study skills. I do communicate this to both my children, both of whom are quick like I was. My daughter has at least taken it (mostly- despite catching her do her Spanish homework at the last minute this morning) on board. My son knows he is clever and does all his homework assignments last minute.

How to Remain Calm

So, what do I do to maintain my cool (when I’m not yelling at him to save his money to move out)? Most of the time I take deep breaths and walk away. Other times I remind myself of my Sa Ta Na Ma meditation, which you can download here to follow along yourself. And I remind myself that most of the time my growing child is simply Hangry, so I offer him a peace offering of my home-made banana smoothie. And, I always have to feed the bear to keep it happy.

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