Mood Swings in Women Over 40

Updated June 13, 2017

Mood swings are characterised by sudden, often unexplained, shifts in a person's mood. As women age, the hormones in their bodies change and mood swings and irritability may occur. Women who have long faced mood swings likely suffer from a different cause than women who are suddenly faced with mood swings after age 40.

Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms

If you still have a regular period, your mood swings may be indicative of premenstrual syndrome, even if you are over the age of 40. You may withdraw and feel depressed or withdraw socially from family members and friends. Irritability, anger and mood swings often accompany premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Physically, you may encounter aches and pains, acne flare-ups, breast tenderness and cramps. Caffeine and alcohol may contribute to premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is officially diagnosed for most women in the United States around age 51, when your period has stopped for at least a year. You may have symptoms of menopause before your period ceases (called "perimenopause") or shortly afterward also. Menstrual irregularities, fertility problems, mood swings, change in sexual desire and insomnia are all symptoms of menopause. After menopause, many women face increased risk of developing conditions like weight gain, urinary incontinence or osteoporosis.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Women over the age of 40 can still get pregnant, and mood swings could be indicative of pregnancy. Other symptoms may include fatigue, food cravings, swelling of the ankles, fingers or breasts and nausea or vomiting. A pregnancy test and ultrasound can confirm pregnancy. Receive ongoing care throughout your pregnancy, as complications can arise from advanced age during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have.


Menopause may be treated by a doctor with hormone therapy or antidepressants. It may also be treated at home through regular exercise, a balanced diet, a regular sleep schedule and abandoning drugs or alcohol. Pain relievers, oral contraceptives, diet and exercise can also relieve premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Relieve mood swings during pregnancy by speaking to your partner or a counsellor about your feelings. Regular check-ups, exercise, sleep and diet can also improve mood swings.

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About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.