MENOpause and mental health
MENOPAUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Fluctuating progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone levels can be responsible for many psychological symptoms around menopause, including:
- Feeling tense or nervous
- Feeling unhappy or depressed
- Poor concentration
- Plummeting self esteem.
Many people are simply not prepared for the variety and intensity of those symptoms + which can have an impact on quality of life around menopause. But all too often these mental health symptoms are put down to other causes, leaving people to suffer in silence.
According to The Menopause Doctor, Dr Louise R Newson, many women are being inaccurately diagnosed with depression and anxiety, along with a number of other health problems, without their changing hormone levels being addressed. As a result, women going through menopause can be incorrectly prescribed antidepressants + which have no effect on the underlying hormonal changes that are causing the problems in the first place.
“Did you know? There is a link between post-natal depression and depression around menopause. Be vigilant as menopause approaches and seek help early if you know you experienced a particularly tough time with your mental health after having a baby.”
Mood swings, depression, anxiety and irritability can all surface as perimenopause arrives. Even if you’ve never suffered from mental health issues before, declining levels of hormones can bring them on.
Emotional health can also be impacted by the physical symptoms of menopause, broken sleep +, which is a common complaint, can wreak havoc with energy and concentration levels and only adds to the stress. While hot flushes + in public can be embarrassing, for some it is often the more private symptoms of vaginal dryness and increased urinary symptoms + that have an impact on self-confidence and our most intimate relationships with partners.
You may also find our section on the psychological symptoms of menopause + useful.
MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
There are ways to address these feelings of depression and anxiety, and to help balance out those mood swings:
- Talk to someone: Tell those closest to you how you’re feeling. A listening ear can make all the difference. You are never alone.
- Get adequate rest: If you suffer from interrupted sleep or insomnia, take steps to improve the quality of your sleep +.
- Keep active: Even a short brisk walk of around 10 minutes can help to improve your mood, as the body releases feel-good endorphins in response to physical exercise.
- Try relaxing activities: Yoga, meditation, mindfulness – all of these can help you to bring yourself back into the moment and help stop depressive and worrying thoughts, even for a short while.
- Some people may benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) + for low mood or anxiety.
- If you have other symptoms of menopause and your doctor has prescribed antidepressants + without talking to you about the possibility that menopause could be responsible for your mental health issues, talk to them again and make sure that menopause is part of the conversation.
- Talk to your GP about whether medical treatment for menopause, such as HRT, in combination with a talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy, could benefit you.