Is Your Rage Perimenopause… or Something Else

Perimenopause isn’t quite menopause; it’s the transition time leading up to menopause. And it’s when all the annoying symptoms kick in. Like perimenopausal rage.

What is perimenopausal rage?

As women, we like to refer to our perimenopausal rage as anger. We’re angry. But the truth is, our emotions can get out of control thanks to fluctuating hormones during this change of life. How can you decide if what you’re feeling is mere anger or actual rage?

The US National Library of Medicine posted a study from the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience titled, "A new, female-specific irritability rating scale," which discusses female rage. It notes, "irritability is a prominent symptom in the spectrum of female-specific mood disorders occurring from menarche to menopause, including premenstrual, perinatal and perimenopausal mood disorders."

What it discovered is that, "Irritability is the primary mood complaint for up to 70% of women during perimenopause, a phenomenon that has been observed cross-culturally." That means women around the globe naturally feel episodes of range during perimenopause.

Is what you feel anger? Or are you experiencing a level of anger you’ve never experienced before? Only you can detect your level of anger. Do you feel it is rage? Do you have an intense burning in your stomach that you can’t release? Are you lashing out at family and friends, only to dissolve into tears afterward, frustrated by your lack of control?

When anger grows out of your control, it’s rage. Let’s take a closer look at female rage to determine if it’s part of perimenopause or something deeper.

Identifying perimenopausal rage

When you’re in the clutches of perimenopause, you can feel something is different. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. You can sense it. 

Some women can experience perimenopause up to 10-15 years before actually experiencing menopause. Women experience menopause on average around the age of 51, and it signifies the time in which you haven’t had a period for 12 months. That’s a long time to try to figure out what’s normal and what’s menopausal. As your hormones fluctuate, you experience a flood of mental, emotional, and physical changes that disrupt your life and turn you into a hormonal teenager full of angst and more. You’ve come full circle.

Your first clue is your periods. Are your menstruations heavier or lighter than normal? Are they lasting longer or shorter? When you notice your periods are irregular, based on your past experience, this is the first indication you're perimenopausal. 

You may experience other symptoms along the way, but rage can crop up with no warning. It’s an anger that feels totally out of place. You may be a solid, unflappable woman, who suddenly blows up for no apparent reason. This is beyond just getting upset; this is full on overreacting above and beyond what the situation calls for. Your rage is extreme, emotionally charged, and hurts those around you. You dissolve in guilt and regret.

Warning signs of perimenopausal rage

As your hormones fluctuate and your emotions are out of control, you still know you need to control these feelings. This rage is something different from your previous experiences; it’s totally new and incredibly upsetting. It’s beyond little bumps in the road. You're way over your normal anger. You know you need to control it or find medical help soon.

It’s important to know that thousands of women experience this same rage. You are not alone, and you are not damaged. You’re experiencing a natural stage of life that you need help conquering.

Warning signs to help you and your loved ones prepare for perimenopause rage

One minute you’re happy, spending time with your family. And the next minute, you’re completely overwhelmed, crying and inconsolable. If your moods swing drastically within minutes, this could be a sign of perimenopause hormonal imbalance.

Do you ever overreact to small annoying instances? You may experience perimenopausal rage if you respond with extreme agitation and irritation to small or minor events.

Another warning sign of perimenopausal rage is a predilection to PMS anger. Through your adolescence and young adulthood, were you prone to severe PMS symptoms? This can predict the level of perimenopause anger you might feel later on in life.

Another sign is your predilection to postpartum depression. If you suffered from depression post-pregnancy, you might be disposed to developing perimenopause rage later in life. 

Your past often predicts your future, especially when it comes to your sensitivity to hormonal changes.

Menopause test

Psychology Today created a test to help you determine if you’re perimenopausal. Use this test to determine if your rage is hormonal or something else. Regardless, you should see your doctor to discuss ways to cope with and treat your rage. 

The test is only 10 questions long, but can give you plenty of insight into if what you’re experiencing is perimenopause. If you can narrow down your experience to hormonal fluctuations, you and your doctor can better determine an effective method of treatment to reduce or eliminate your experiences of rage.

Again, regardless of your results from this quiz, talk with your doctor about your symptoms, what you’re experiencing, and any other factors that might explain your reactions. While it may be perimenopause, you want to be certain, and your doctor can help you.

Final thoughts

Many women are ashamed and distraught by their perimenopausal rage. They don’t know how to control it and are desperately seeking solutions. Please know you’re not alone; this could be a natural part of your specific stage of life. Blame your hormones, but know that you’re not alone and there is hope in sight.