Sweaty palms. Racing thoughts. Incessant worrying. These are just a few of the symptoms that some of us may experience during perimenopause and menopause – even those of us who have never battled anxiety before.
So, what causes this increase in anxiety levels during menopause, and how can we get back to feeling like ourselves again?
In this article, we’ll explore the connection between menopause and anxiety, what causes these perplexing symptoms, and how we can start to feel calm again (or at least back to our pre-menopausal, baseline anxiety).
There are several factors that can contribute to someone experiencing anxiety during menopause:
Ah, those pesky hormonal changes causing trouble again! The decline in hormones estrogen and progesterone can affect the neurotransmitters in our brains, which play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions. As these hormones decline, it can lead to emotional ups and downs, causing anxiety in some women.
Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and night sweats, are common during menopause. Not to mention that when your brain is full of worrisome thoughts, it makes it that much harder to catch those zzz’s! Since sleep is so essential for our emotional well-being, the lack of it can exacerbate anxiety.
The physical changes experienced during menopause, such as hot flashes and weight gain, can negatively affect women’s self-esteem and confidence, contributing to anxiety.
Life events and transitions
Just when our lives seem busiest, menopause decides to swoop in and wreak its hormonal havoc. Menopause often happens right during major life transitions, such as children leaving, caring for older adults, or being promoted in our careers. These changes can lead to stress and anxiety, compounding the effects of menopausal symptoms.
Experiencing anxiety during menopause – especially if you’ve never really struggled with it before – is no fun. But there are things you can do to get off the emotional rollercoaster and get your life back on track again. Here are a few suggestions.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven therapeutic approach that helps individuals manage anxiety by recognizing and changing negative thought patterns. It can be particularly effective in addressing anxiety related to menopause.
Simple lifestyle modifications can make a significant difference in managing anxiety during menopause. These include regular exercise, a balanced diet, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, and establishing a consistent sleep routine.
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
Practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation and stress relief.
Supportive social networks
Now is not the time to tough it out! Talking to friends, family members, or joining support groups for women going through menopause can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging.
If the above methods are not sufficient in managing your anxiety, medication may be an option to help reduce your anxiety levels. Consult a healthcare professional for appropriate recommendations and monitoring.
Some women find relief from anxiety through the use of herbal supplements like black cohosh or evening primrose oil. However, if you decide to consider herbal supplements, be sure to consult a healthcare provider first to ensure safety and efficacy.
Just like with other symptoms you experience during perimenopause and menopause, you’ll want to consult your doctor if it’s significantly impacting your quality of life. They can perform a thorough evaluation to rule out any other underlying medical conditions and provide tailored guidance on managing your anxiety.
Menopause is a natural stage of life, but its accompanying symptoms, including anxiety, can be challenging to navigate. Understanding the connection between menopause and anxiety is the first step towards managing your symptoms and starting to feel like yourself again. By addressing hormonal changes, adopting healthier lifestyles, and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can find relief and regain emotional well-being during this time.
FemmePharma has been helping women navigate menopause for over two decades. No matter where you are in your journey, you deserve to have knowledgeable, intimate healthcare partners to help you feel your best. Explore our other articles, podcast episodes with women’s health experts, and products to ease your transition into menopause.