Puberty and menopause bracket the reproductive season of your life, and they share many characteristics. They’re both transitions (meaning that they don’t last forever); they’re both triggered by hormones; they both cause physical and emotional changes (that sometimes drive you crazy); and they both close some doors and enrich your life by opening new ones. Puberty was the time when your hormones first swung into action. It marked the beginning of your reproductive years. Remember the ride? Your hormone levels shifted wildly when you got your first menstrual period. Your emotions probably went a little haywire for a while, too. Over the course of a few years, your hormones found a comfortable level. Your unpredictable periods finally settled into a predictable pattern, and your emotional balance was more or less restored.
At the end of your reproductive years, your hormone levels go through a similar dance (this time causing the midlife mood swings), but your hormones eventually find a new, lower level of production. Your periods are erratic for a while, but they eventually wind down and stop. So do those emotional roller coaster rides. Unfortunately, this time can be just as confusing as when you experienced puberty.