Menopause And Anxiety: 5 Ways To Cope
Updated November 30, 2018
Reviewer Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
Menopause, the period when a woman's menstruation ceases, can be a stressful time physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most commonly known menopause symptoms are physical, but menopause can cause more than hot flashes, sleep problems, and problems with body image. Some women experience anxiety as a result of menopause.
Menopause and Anxiety Facts
It is important to understand that during perimenopause, the period just before a woman gets her last menstrual period, the body goes through many changes. These physical changes in the body can lead to pre-menopause anxiety. Studies show that there is a high likelihood of a combination of pre-menopause and anxiety just before full-blown menopause.
Anxiety affects more women than men, and it is a common menopause symptom, even if not talked about. Even normal events can be a cause of anxiety for a woman in menopause. Anxious feelings can be hard to shake.
Some women experience anxiety before the onset of the most common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Estrogen plays an important function in a woman's brain, and when the levels are high, one feels well. However, when the estrogen levels are low such as is the case in menopause, anxiety, and low mood symptoms can set in.
Estrogen has mood enhancing impacts. Therefore, loss of estrogen in women between 50 and 55 years can lead to anxiety and mood swings. Although it is not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of anxiety during menopause, hormonal changes, menopause symptoms, emotional stress, and everyday stress can all contribute to anxiety during menopause.
Menopausal symptoms can be uncomfortable and are often worse during the night thus worsening the mood swings and anxiety. Some women experience night sweats which can make it difficult to sleep. Lack of quality sleep causes fatigue, and this can increase irritability.
Menopause and anxiety can have similar signs and symptoms such as irregular pulse, mood swings, and racing heart.
When considering menopause and anxiety, it is important to note that significant life changes take place during this period. Some of the changes are such as the children leaving home, aging of significant others or parents. This may lead to loneliness and increased anxiety.
Ways of Coping with Menopause and Anxiety
Relaxation techniques play a vital role in helping women to cope with menopause and anxiety. One should make time for relaxation such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture, for example. One should strive to keep stress levels in check to enhance moods and relieve other menopause symptoms. Breathing techniques such as inhaling slowly and exhaling at the same pace for a few, times can help in relaxing the body. The good thing about using the breathing technique is that one can do it anywhere, in the office, car, in a meeting among others. Getting a deep breath can be relaxing and calming at the same time.
Yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques help in reducing stress and anxiety. Using meditation to focus on what is essential and to quiet the mind helps a lot in menopause and anxiety. Through meditation, one gets feelings of wellbeing, and it helps in lowering the heart rate and blood pressure thus reducing anxiety.
Yoga poses can help in alleviating anxiety and leaving one with a feeling of being more relaxed and calmer.
Mindfulness creates relaxation feelings, and they help in lowering the blood pressure and helps in reduction of menopause anxiety and depression.
Herbal remedies may help menopause and anxiety. Some herbal products have natural ingredients that can be helpful in relieving menopause and anxiety symptoms. Many women in menopause say that herbal remedies have played a significant role in reducing their menopause and anxiety symptoms.
If menopause symptoms are the contributing factors to menopausal anxiety, herbal products such as Black Cohosh and Motherwort may help. Black Cohosh is a commonly used herbal product for menopause, and may help in reducing hot flashes, body aches, and mood swings. Moreover, Black Cohosh may help in reduction of anxiety in menopausal women.
Motherwort is another herbal remedy that some people use when dealing with menopause and anxiety. Some say it helps with heart palpitations.
Consuming herbal teas such as chamomile tea can have a calming effect which can help in reducing anxiety.
Another familiar herbal medicine that may help in dealing with menopause and anxiety is St John's Wort. St John's Wort is popular for its benefits for depression, but scientists have now discovered that it may also useful in reducing menopause symptoms such as improving mood swings. Menopausal women taking St John's Wort report experiencing fewer psychological symptoms of menopause than those not taking it. Of course, you should always consult your physician before trying any supplement, herbal or otherwise.
Another herbal remedy for menopause and anxiety is the Maca Root. Maca root is said to help the body in the production of the estrogen hormone, and help in suppressing cortisol, thus alleviating menopause signs such as depression and mood swings.
Exercise and Healthy Eating
Daily exercises help in relieving depression. Activity renews depleted neurotransmitters. The endorphins released during exercise help in resting the mood. It also aids in better sleep all of which are important in dealing with menopause and anxiety.
It does not matter what kind of exercise one chooses as they all beneficial in reducing anxiety during menopause. Some of the practices that one can take part in include walking, running, playing volleyball, dancing such as Zumba dance etc. The feel-good effects happen immediately, but one should make it an everyday activity so that the benefits can be daily. Do exercises that you enjoy on a regular basis. Consistency is the key to help you cope with menopause and anxiety.
Seek Emotional Support
Another way of coping with menopause and anxiety is by having support from friends and loved ones. Try to share your feelings, and you may find there are others going through the same turmoil. You may think you are not normal, but sharing your emotions with others can help in finding ways through which other people cope with problems.
Don't be ashamed tell friends about menopause symptoms. Being close to others can help in boosting moods and confidence. Tell your partner what you are going through so that they may help you in solving the issue. Moreover, telling your partner why you are sometimes irritable can help in preventing misconceptions in the relationship.
There are also many groups and forums relating to menopause. Remember that discussing problems can help you to be in tune with your emotions. Therefore, seek support from friends and engage in social events. This will help in maintaining a positive attitude because focusing on negative thoughts makes anxiety worse.
There are treatments available for dealing with menopause and anxiety. One can take hormone therapy, supplements, and antidepressants that help in reducing anxiety. Make it a point to talk with your doctor to find out what options are available for managing menopause anxiety. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be an option to consider.
Anxiety during menopause is treatable. Medications can be used to reduce anxiety symptoms while therapy provides a way for menopausal women to express concerns.
CBT or cognitive behavior therapy is effective in treating menopause anxiety and other related symptoms. CBT helps women in examining the interrelation between emotions and behavior.
Medications may have side effects, so it is best to discuss with your doctor the most suitable remedy for you. You may have to try several medications before finding the best drug for you. Seek a GP who is an expert in menopause issues.
Menopause is a major challenge for some women and it can take courage to admit that help is needed. If your menopause includes anxiety, consider seeking help.
Contact our counselors are BetterHelp to get help with menopause and anxiety issues.