What Can You Do If Youve Started To Wonder Can Menopause Cause Mental Health Problems
- Be mindful that will mood changes can occur alongside other menopausal changes.
- Become aware of mood changes in your day-to-day life and whether youre affected by stress or anxiety. Also, note if your sleep becomes affected. Seek help with all of these if necessary.
- Exercise daily, control stress and get adequate sleep. Prioritise sleep. It will make a big difference to your tired brain.
- Eat healthily and cut back on caffeine and sugary foods to reduce energy highs and lows. Eat oily, omega-3-rich fish. Also, eat soya beans, lentils and pulses, berries and dried apricots as they contain phytoestrogens, which may help improve your mood and boost your brain energy.
- Dont try to cope by yourself. Instead, talk to friends, family or a professional if needed.
- Know that mood changes caused by menopause dont last indefinitely, and they begin to ease with time. So be assured that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
If youve been struggling during peri-menopause or menopause, lifes been getting the better of you, and you sometimes think, Theres got to be more to life than this! then join me on my presentation, which will help you to take back control of your life. Youll discover how you can relax and take better care of your mental health during menopause, begin to say no to others, and also discover if youre on your true path in life.
Q: Is There A Link Between Menopause And Depression
A: Changes inhormone levels may influence neurotransmitters in the brain. The drop inestrogen levels can also lead to hot flashes that disturb sleep, which can thenlead to anxiety and mood swings.
If you experience symptoms of depression nearly every day for two or more weeks, you might be depressed. Talk with your doctor about finding a treatment that will work for you. Your doctor will also want to rule out any medical causes for your depression, such as thyroid problems.
Getting Help With Menopause Symptoms
Speak to your doctor if your menopause symptoms are affecting your life. You dont just have to put up with them there is help available.
The main therapy is hormone replacement therapy . This replaces the hormones that are reducing in your body and is very effective at relieving menopause symptoms. It can also help with thinning of the bones, which is more common after the menopause. Theres no limit on how long you can take HRT, but most women stop taking it after their symptoms stop usually after a few years. You may find your menopause symptoms come back for a while after stopping HRT. If theyre severe, speak to your doctor about managing them.
As with all medication, its important you weigh up the benefits and risks of taking HRT. Some women and doctors have been reluctant to use HRT because of studies that have focused on the potential risks. However, recent evidence shows the risks are very small and usually outweighed by the benefits. Talk to your doctor about any concerns.
Its always your choice whether to take medication or not. Some women prefer not to take HRT and to manage their symptoms in other ways until this stage in their lives has passed.
Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy can help with low mood, anxiety, stress and even hot flushes and night sweats.
What Can I Do To Look After My Mental Health
There are also some things you can do to try and keep yourself mentally healthy when youre experiencing the menopause.
- Eat regular, healthy, balanced meals and snacks to help keep your blood sugar stable.
- Get some exercise if you can, as it will lift your mood. Try activities like yoga, Pilates or walking to help you to de-stress.
- Try to get into a regular sleep schedule if you can.
- Make sure you arent drinking too much alcohol.
- Avoid caffeine if you find it makes you anxious, affects your sleep or triggers your hot flushes.
- Try to do things that you find relaxing, like reading, going for a walk or practising mindfulness.
- Talk to your friends and family about the menopause, if you feel able to, to help them understand what youre going through.
You can also seek support from mental health organisations if you want to speak to somebody else about how youre feeling, or to get more information such as:
Who Is At Risk For Perimenopause
Any woman who is experiencing perimenopause can develop related emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues. However, if you have a personal or family history of mental health conditions, you may be at a higher risk of developing a mental health problem related to perimenopause.
You may also be at a higher risk for mental health problems related to perimenopause if you have:
- Concerns about menopause or aging
- High levels of stress
- Lack of support from other people in your life
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How Can Menopause Affect Your Mental Health
Its common for women to experience mental health problems as a result of the hormone changes which happen during menopause. We also hear from Elizabeth, who told us her experience of how menopause affected her mental health and how shes managing her symptoms.
What links are there between mental health problems and menopause?
Menopause has a variety of physical symptoms such as tiredness, night sweats, insomnia, hot flashes, memory loss and tension, which can all cause you to feel distressed.
During menopause, its common to experience mood changes such as irritability, sadness, lack of motivation, aggressiveness, problems focusing, stress, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Much like constant premenstrual syndrome , these effects can cause emotional strain.
If you have a pre-existing mental health problem, its possible that the effects of menopause could cause a relapse or change to your mental health.
Menopause and depression
Clinical trials are yet to find a link between depression and menopause. However, research suggests women who had severe PMS in their younger years or experience postpartum depression may have more severe mood swings during perimenopause.
Women with a history of clinical depression are often more likely to experience recurring clinical depression during menopause.
Menopause and bipolar disorder
Menopause and schizophrenia
What other complications are there around this time of life?
How Can The Menopause Affect Mental Health
Dr Samantha Wild, Womens Health Clinical Lead, Bupa
The menopause doesnt just cause physical symptoms, it can impact your mental health as well. It is often these emotional symptoms that bother women the most.
Everybody experiences the menopause differently and for some people, it can affect their mental wellbeing. You might experience:
- feeling low
- problems with memory and concentration
- low energy and motivation
- new fears and phobias
- low self-esteem
You might be feeling this way because of the hormonal changes that are happening in your body. But you might also find that living with other symptoms of the menopause is affecting your mental health.
Dealing with symptoms like weight gain, joint pain and hot flushes can be difficult to cope with and may affect your mood. You might also have difficulty sleeping, night sweats and bladder problems that stop you from getting enough rest. These can also contribute to feeling low and stressed. Some women may also become depressed.
You might also feel low, anxious or sad for other reasons. Around the time of the menopause, many people find themselves going through changes in their work life, family life and dealing with bereavement. You might also feel sad about no longer being able to have children or feel worried about getting older.
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Treatment Options For Symptoms Of Menopause
Fortunately, you dont have to live with frequent hot flashes, wild mood swings, or episodes of major depression. There are many treatment options to help manage your menopausal symptoms. For example, our specialists may recommend hormone replacement therapy or bioidentical hormone therapy to replace the estrogen youve lost. HRT can come in pills, creams, patches, injections, or pellets.
If youre going through menopause or perimenopause and experiencing mood swings or other mental health issues, contact The Association for Womens Health Care with offices in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois for help, either by calling or booking an appointment online.
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Shifts In The Levels Of Female Hormones Can Cause Temporary Mood Changes Including Symptoms Of Depression
The years leading up to menopause and the transition itself can bring changes to your body. But they can also have an effect on your mind, specifically your mental health.
The incidence of depression doubles during this time. Women who have struggled in the past with depression or anxiety might also see a resurgence in symptoms.
Shifts in the levels of female hormones can cause mood changes at other stages of life, so it’s not necessarily surprising that they can have some effect on mood during the menopausal transition as well, says Dr. Hadine Joffe, the Paula A. Johnson Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and postpartum depression are other examples of conditions that are driven by hormonal changes inside the body in these cases, before menstruation or after childbirth.
“These disorders aren’t 100% hormone-based,” says Dr. Joffe, but female hormones play a major role.
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How Menopause Affects Your Mental Health
Most women over age 40 know menopause is right around the corner. Before youre in full menopause, youre in perimenopause a time when your periods may become irregular, estrogen levels continually decrease, and your ovaries stop releasing eggs. This could go on for years.
Youre officially in menopause when you dont have a period for 12 consecutive months. Once you enter this stage of life, you may have night sweats and trouble sleeping, brain fog, and those dreaded hot flashes. And menopause can also affect your mental health.
Our caring team of doctors and nurse practitioners at Cary OB/GYN can help you manage your symptoms so you can have a better quality of life. Heres what you should know about menopause and your emotional well-being.
The Uncomfortable Truth About Menopause And Mental Health
The hormonal change can wreak havoc on emotions, but is there enough support in place?
When we think about the effects of menopause and perimenopause , on women and people who menstruate, we tend to focus on better-known symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.
Just as common as these physical issues are the less spoken about side effects related to mental health, from anxiety and low mood to the lack of mental clarity and inability to focus known as brain fog all of which are caused by a fluctuation of the hormones released by the ovaries and consistently low hormone levels .
In my experience, I would say more than 70% experience – to a degree – the cognitive and emotional symptoms. These symptoms overtake the presence of the flushes and the sweats in terms of how much they impact on life, said Dr Theodora Kalentzi, a GP and menopause specialist at Medical Prime.
For so many women, the first symptoms are not hot flushes or periods changing – they are anxiety, low mood, mood swings, irritability and loss of joy. When you dont understand why that is happening to you and nobody has ever told you that these can be symptoms of perimenopause, it can leave you feeling scared and alone, said Diane Danzebrink, a menopause counsellor and the founder of Menopause Support.
Menopause awareness campaigner Elizabeth Ellis set up Pausitivity after struggling with mental health issues like paranoia and anxiety on her own menopause journey.
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Effects On The Bladder And Vagina
As you grow older, you may notice some changes to your nether regions that adversely affect your intimate life. What might you expect as you approach menopause? How does the change in hormones at menopause affect your vagina, urinary tract, and sexual health, and what can you do to manage these unpleasant side effects?
The changes in our urinary tract and vagina, not to speak of generalized changes such as hot flashes, are not always a welcome introduction to the late summer and autumn of your life. Yet, for each of these symptoms, there are often several possible solutions which can reduce the impact they have.
How Does Menopause Affect Mental Health And Mood
Many women notice some mood changes as they begin the transition into menopause. The hormonal fluctuations that happen during menopause can cause you to have periods of feeling irritable, sad, or anxious. For most women without a prior history of anxiety or depression, these symptoms are mild and do not develop into a clinical condition. However, they can be more severe for other women.
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Medical Treatments For Mental Health Issues Around Menopause
Anti-depressants are indicated for chronic moderate to severe depression but are not effective treatment for mild depression. If they are going to help symptoms will usually respond by 4-6 weeks, although small changes may be noticed as early as 2 weeks.
Some anti-depressants can also reduce the number and severity of hot flushes by up to 50%. You might need to try differing doses or different medications, usually under the care of your GP or psychiatrist.
There is some evidence that estrogen has similar efficacy to antidepressants for depression in perimenopause . It has not been shown to be effective for postmenopausal women however. This suggests a window of opportunity in perimenopause for effective estrogen therapy in mood disorders.
Estrogen therapy may potentially add to the effect of antidepressants. Its important to note however that most studies have been done using estrogen-only treatment. The effect of combined HRT is not as well studied .
Hormonal contraceptives have also shown some mood regulation benefit in women approaching menopause. These cannot be used in women who have a high risk for unwanted blood clots , and cannot be used beyond age 50.
The Mental Chaos Of Menopause
When people talk about menopause, its usually about the discomfort of hot flashes. But in this weeks New York Times Magazine, a contributor, Cynthia Gorney, explores the mental and emotional challenges that can be set off by the hormonal chaos of midlife.
I started taking estrogen because I was under the impression that I was going crazy, which turns out to be not as unusual a reaction to midlife hormonal upheaval as I thought. My problem was a new tendency to wake up some mornings with a great dark weight shoving my shoulders toward the floor and causing me to weep inside my car and basically haul myself around as if it were the worlds biggest effort to stand up straight and carry on a conversation.
Ms. Gorney also writes about the Womens Health Initiative, the major government study that linked menopause hormone use with a number of health problems. The study was later criticized because it included mostly older women well past menopause, and many experts claimed the results werent applicable to younger women who take hormones for menopausal symptoms.
I would like to be able to tell you that I weighed these matters thoughtfully, comparing my risks and benefits and bearing in mind the daunting influence of a drug industry that stands to profit handsomely from the medicalizing of normal female aging. But that would be nonsense, of course. I was too crazy. I went straight to the pharmacy and took everything they gave me.
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How Does Hormone Imbalance Affect Womens Mental Health Psychologist Explains
Hormonal Imbalance can cause mental health issues with women. Here are conditions and causes every women should know.
Mental health issues are not just limited to work stress and relationship problems. It is way more than that, there are many things affecting your mental health which you generally do not realise. Women get hormonal issues at various periods of life, this also affects their mental health and create symptoms of mental health disorders. If the hormonal imbalance lasts for longer duration, it can also have a permanent affect on the health. Hormones affect a lot of things in your body hence it can impact your overall health as well. Let us understand how does hormonal imbalance impacts your mental health.
How Common Are Mental Health Issues Around Menopause
The short answer is: VERY common. Theres up to three time the risk for mental health problems during perimenopause compared to beforehand.
Australian statistical data reveals:
- The highest suicide rate for females in 2015 was in 4549yos .
- Second highest rate of suicide was in women aged 50 to 54 years.
- 2007 ABS data: 43% of women 18-65 had a mental health problem at some time.
- Economic cost of anxiety and depression in women estimated as high as $22 billion per year
Whats The Connection Between Menopause And Anger Toward Husbands
For some couples, menopause and anger toward husbands seem to go together. This may make it hard for the husband to be supportive, and it certainly isnt easy for the woman either. Not every menopausal woman is angry, but for those who are, life can be very difficult. The factors involved cant always be erased, but there are things you can do to make this time easier for both of you. Heres a glimpse into why this happens and what you can do about it.
Why Is She So Angry?
If youve been a supportive husband throughout your marriage, you may be puzzled when your wife goes through menopause. Suddenly, she may not accept your kindness. She may argue with you needlessly. Maybe you feel shes unfair to you. The truth is that there are some very good reasons for her to feel angry, and many of them probably have little to do with you. The following are a few of the most common anger triggers for menopausal women.
Few Understand Her Plight
People talk about menopause now more than they did 50 years ago. Yet still, many people dont know much about it unless theyve experienced it. When you feel no one understands what youre going through, it might make you irritable at any age.
Her Periods Are Unpredictable
Her Body is Changing in Unpredictable Ways
Sex May Be More Difficult
Bladder Control May Become A Problem
She Isnt Sleeping Well
Shes Dealing With Changing Moods
Youre Getting Older Too
What Can You Do?
Make It Easy For Her To Talk