Feeling grumpy all the time? 6 Health Checks To Do

by Alissa Marquess on November 8, 2012

How to be a healthy momDo you feel like you constantly have PMS? 

If you’ve taken a look at your anger triggers, and are still feeling perplexed by where all your anger is coming from, you may need to look at your own health.

As a mom it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself at the best of times, and when you get busy you can really let it slip.  Many of us put off doing things like going in for a regular check-up.

For some of us that means we’re overlooking serious health issues or suffering needlessly – feeling grouchy all the time when we could be feeling better with a little TLC.    Many treatable health issues can cause exhaustion or irritability.

I asked a health professional and about  issues that may cause mood changes to gather information for this post, but of course you’ll want to do your own research and talk to your own doctor!

 

Six health checks for grouchy moms:

1. Thyroid – Both hyper and hypo thyroid conditions can cause mood changes.  A friend of mine who later discovered she had a thyroid disorder described the run up to her diagnosis as being like having PMS all the time and being perpetually tired.

2. Anemia – A frequent issue amongst new moms, low iron levels can leave you feeling tired and grumpy.

3. Blood Sugar – This goes back to regular healthy meals (though of course deeper issues such as diabetes would definitely cause irritability.)  Swings in blood sugar can be a serious cause of a bad temper.

You know the drill – eat regular meals with protein for lasting energy.  It’s almost too simple, so a lot of us make it a low priority and try to get by grabbing simple carbohydrates like crackers or chips or sugary foods for a quick fix.  The problem is these cause  your blood sugar to go through peaks and valleys and this leads to poor concentration and poor self control.

Printable - Write ideas and then pack one food from each square.

Simple sugars are absorbed so quickly that the body over-reacts and sends out too much insulin – causing low blood sugar. (source)

When I’m tired I CRAVE sugar, so I know it’s a tough one, but did you know that your self control relies heavily on glucose - if your blood sugar is low you’re brain doesn’t have the resources to maintain control!

Moral of the story – stick with frequent meals involving good fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.

I have this lunch planning printable that may be helpful.

4. B Vitamins – B-vitamins are critical for nerve and brain function as well as for converting carbohydrates into energy.  You can take a B-complex vitamin and also can ask your doctor about testing for low levels of some B-vitamins if you suspect this might be a problem for you.

Over the past several years, evidence has mounted that B vitamins—B12 and folate in particular—may ward off depression and other mental problems. A Finnish study is only the latest to link B vitamins to maintenance of good mood. – Psychology Today

5. Caffeine Intake - I will be the last one to tell you to stop drinking coffee because I would be a major hypocrite.  I love my morning coffee.  However, it is worth considering that caffeine can cause irritability, and notice if you need to cut back.  Especially on days when you don’t have enough sleep and have a long to-do list that is not going to get done, too much caffeine may add to the likelihood that you will snap at your family.

6. Hormonal Cycles – Have you noticed PMS being a major cause of anger or grouchiness?  If you notice your temper is linked to your cycles you may want to ask a health practitioner about ideas to help even your hormonal swings.  Some gynecologists will have ideas; you might also consider asking a naturopath, acupuncturist, or midwife.

If you feel down all the time or grouchy all the time – don’t ignore it!  You might have an underlying health issue that is causing problems and need some help.  This is just the tip of the iceberg for staying healthy (for instance gluten makes me terribly grumpy and gives me migraines) – can you think of other things people should look into?  What’s your number one health recommendation for moms?

Wishing you health,

~Alissa

For help on practical ways to parent when you’re a tired and grumpy mom, see:

Parenting Survival Skills for the Most Difficult Days

 

29 comments
Stacy Dalton
Stacy Dalton

This is awesome! I suffered my whole life from being grumpy! I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia when I was almost 18 (I was having seizures) - but I never took the diet seriously. They recommended a low-sugar, no-white flour diet...and that was 25 years ago! I've been tracking my journey, but this is right on. When your hypothalamus gets crazy, everything gets crazy (hunger, thirst, mood, parenting, sleep, awake, anger...everything!) So, now I've started a new nutrition supplement and diet lifestyle that has changed everything! I'm sticking with it. My husband, my kids, my parents...they've all noticed a difference. Who knew that my completely anti-social behavior (my whole life!) was a result of blood sugar issues!

Leah
Leah

Thanks for taking the time to write and research this topic, I love reading your blogs...being a mum is very rewarding yet hard at times the number 1 rule is to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family, which I had forgotten. I would defiantly recommend to any mother out there if you have any of the above symptoms take sometime for yourself and go and get checked out, I am speaking from personal experience, I was constantly tired and feeling run down, grumpy, irritable and always getting sick, cut a long story short..... I assumed that it may have been stress, I am a mum with two teens work fulltime as a pre-school teacher and then did a night time cleaning job, so saying all that I assumed I needed to slow down. I then started getting irregular periods, which to me seemed more than stress so I eventually went to the doctors, I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (Graves disease) which I may have had for sometime as I have also developed multinodular goitres. I am waiting to find out some more test results before I can start a treatment plan and start to feel like myself again.

Linda
Linda

I found out this fall after a sleep study that I have severe sleep apnea. Now that I have adjusted to the CPAP machine, I find I feel so much better. Less grumpy and more clear minded. Add that to the list...

Melanie B.
Melanie B.

My doctor had blood work done on me and found my vitamin D levels were extremely low. She said that this can also cause irritability and short temper. After taking a supplement to get it back up, I was a much happier mom. The last couple of weeks I slacked on taking it consistently and have noticed that I am irritable once again. Something you might ask your doctor about too!

morgan
morgan

Great list! Would love to see adrenal issues added to the list. They can often be an underlying cause to almost all of these issues but rarely noticed by medical doctors. My third ND finally pin pointed adrenal deficiency as the root cause for me and since treating those first I'm finally starting to feel better!

Hafsa
Hafsa

I am loving your blog the more I read it. I have been thinking that somehow my health and mood swings are related and planning on going for a checkup for ages. After reading this, I may finally do it. Its heartening to know I am not the only one going thru these mom issues. Hope you check out my blog too

Glenys
Glenys

Hi. There can be so many things. For me a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue and a Dr who specialises in these have helped so much - reducing wheat had a big effect on the brain fog and therefore frustration. Also for me dairy and eggs. Then B12 to help detox and Vit D. Still doing more tests but even those have helped greatly so that instead of thinking that I was actually going mad, I can now think and reason.

Donna K
Donna K

I wanted to shout out to tell you that I appreciate your postings. I have been on antidepressants for several years now. Along the way, I have had to get them increased in dosage and changed up for stronger drugs.This year, I have determined is the year to free myself from these drugs with God's help. I have spend this entire year marching myself down off of them in a safe way. Now I am finding myself back in the same place as when I first went on them. Depressed, quick tempered, fatigued, unfocused, forgetful... Doc tested for thyroid and said it was fine. Not sure what the next step is. I am seeing a natural med pharmacist who mixes me up some tablets to help but I am still feeling that something is amiss. It may be time to see another doctor.

Chelsea @ Moments A Day
Chelsea @ Moments A Day

What a useful post! Two weeks ago I got my bloods checked for feeling unusually tired over the past month... turns out everything is fine except I'm severely low in Vit D. I live in sunny Australia so have to be very careful about sun exposure because it's so strong here... we usually just stay covered up, in shade, or wear hats etc. Now however I'll have to be "less" careful - and take supplements. I'm going to share this with some other moms I know, too! Thanks for posting.

Stephanie B
Stephanie B

when I just had given birth to my son, I was weak,tired and very irritable and almost felt like I was losing my mind until one day I started losing my hair and.found.out I had an overactive thyroid. on top of that I was hypoglycemic, and my hormones were out of whack( often brought on by a hyperthyroid). No wonder I was going crazy.now after a year,I am.finally balanced after taking an herbal supplement, now I am battling with anemia and hypoglycemia. its a hard thing,amd I have to make sure I eat good nd take iron supplements,bot it really makes me feel terrible.

Marie Perrotta
Marie Perrotta

Yes just found out I was chronically anaemic - and was feeling so grumpy and couldn't control it, and hated feeling like that! I was starting to question my sanity sometimes, but once I got back onto my naturopath and identified a few things and got my health more in balance, I had so much more emotional control!

Tellina
Tellina

If PMS is an issue, keep close track of your cycle. Knowing it is coming helps me mentally prepare. I also set my calendar to remind me not to agree to do anything extra a week before my period. There are unavoidable things, but I also tend to say yes to everything in that week. Then I am so exhausted and overwhelmed the week surrounding the start of my cycle I am nasty to my loved ones. It also helps me physically prepare. I remember to eat more iron rich foods, sleep and avoid caffeine.

Kristin
Kristin

I stumbled across this on pinterest and just wanted to say this is a great article! Women need to read stuff like this. I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition 2 months ago, but it was totally by accident - a routine check-up. Since being on medication, my life has DRASTICALLY improved. I wish I had gone to a doctor earlier since it has taken nearly 2 months to get back to any semblance of normality. Thanks for writing this!

Kir
Kir

I love this post. I have found a lot of help on the stop the thyroid madness blog. Stuff like finding a good doctor and what labs are helpful. I have found parenting to be a lot more fun now!

Teresa
Teresa

Thanks for sharing this! I have struggled with all but the thyroid issues, and I think you are so right--all of these issues combined with a lack of sleep can create huge struggles with a good attitude on a daily basis!

Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog
Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog

I was just thinking that I should probably get to the lab to finally do the blood workup my doctored ordered...um....almost a year ago...So easy to forget about yourself when you're worrying about the kids and other things. Good tips :-)

Jen Fischer
Jen Fischer

Always a good reminder. In grad school, I thought I might be hypoglycemic but instead of having me get checked, my doctor simply told me to improve my diet and start keeping nuts on hand. Around that same time, my brother told me once (when I called - AGAIN - in a very bad/distraught mood) to go eat something and then call him back. I ate a healthy meal and no longer needed to call him. There is so much truth to the importance of paying attention to our health and diet, especially as busy moms. Also, I am so glad you mentioned Vitamin B. I do not think people realize how significant it is, but I recently had a stretch where I was VERY sick and could not figure out what was going on - it turned out that I had a Vitamin B deficiency that was causing all sorts of other problems for me (including a citrus allergy).

kari
kari

Wow, thank you for that. I think my daughter and husband might fall in that category!

Stacy Dalton
Stacy Dalton

Stick with it! I'm right there with you (I'm also a preschool teacher and have a teen, a tween, and a toddler). Felt the same way as you for YEARS! I've had my thyroid tested several times - nothing shows up. BUT, I test low on everything (blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, thyroid). I finally started a new treatment at home - and a new gluten-less / sugar-less diet that has worked wonders! Also, I started a treatment for Candida (yeast and fungus) that has made a difference as well. Good luck and stick with finding answers. I never knew that I could feel so great!

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Morgan - great point about Adrenal issues causing grumpiness and fatigue. And if from what I've learned, lack of sleep can certainly play into those issues as well, certainly a possible issue for those of us with youngsters waking frequently.

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

So glad you're feeling better, Kristin and thank you for sharing. I hope it motivates more moms to find out if they could feel a lot better by addressing some underlying health issues!

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Thanks Kir, I haven't dealt with thyroid issues, but have a number of friends who have and I know once they got on the correct treatment plan it has really made a big difference in helping them feel better! I've heard them mention the same blog.

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

I'm the same way - it's so easy to put off because it's a pain tot to do the legwork of getting babysitting or other schedule rearrangements. Seeing a couple friends find out they had health issues that were majorly impacting their lives, yet were solvable has motivated me to be more on top of taking care of myself.

Jennifer G
Jennifer G

I know this reply is late, but your Dr should still have had your blood sugar checked (and if you read this you want to have some testing done now) I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia in high school and was warned that it could progress to diabetes. And shortly after my first son was born, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I don't know how long I have had diabetes because NO DOCTOR every thought it was important enough to check!!! I am so grateful for the one (fantastic) Dr who finally thought my health was important and sent me for the test immediately upon hearing my symptoms.

Nena
Nena

Yes. I get really grumpy and overwhelmed if I don't eat. My friend calls it being "hangry" a portmanteau of "hungry" and "angry."

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Interesting about the allergy Jen. Yes, I find that in order to stay clear headed ahve to either take a b-vitamin supplement or be eating foods that contain enough b's. Green smoothies work well for me; also liver is a very good source of b-vitmins, but harder for some to get interested in eating. I happen to like liverwurst a lot and make chicken liver pate sometimes and like that.

Stacy Dalton
Stacy Dalton

Jennifer - sounds like me! Another thing that has helped me is treating for Candida. I started a Probio5 and Biocleanse system that I believe has made a huge difference in my health. Hopefully, I'll get those blood sugar spikes under control. They do change my whole personality!

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