It’s high time we address the one thing that can send even the strongest of women into an emotional frenzy during menopause—mental health!
As we all know, menopause causes many physical symptoms, but its effects on mental health are often overlooked or dismissed as mood swings. However, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, and even cognitive decline.
Thus, understanding how menopause affects mental health and how women over 50 can thrive during this transitional period is crucial.
I’ll be shedding light on the complex relationship between menopause and mental health so that we can all learn how we can maintain our emotional balance and overall well-being.
So let’s dive into menopause’s hot flashes, mood swings, and everything in between.
Menopause and Mental Health
Due to hormonal changes during menopause, women often develop mental health issues.
Estrogen and progesterone fluctuations cause menopause’s emotional and psychological symptoms. These hormones control mood and mental health.
In fact, the changes in these female hormone levels can cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression during menopause. For some women, these are the first signs that they are approaching menopause.
In midlife, when menopause occurs, women may face multiple stressors, such as caring for children, aging parents, and life changes, which may increase the risk of depression and anxiety.
Mood swings are common during menopause. Irritability, anxiety, and depression can result from low estrogen levels. You can go from laughing to crying in minutes.
Similarly, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, and its production can be impacted by the hormonal shifts that occur during menopause.
What role does estrogen play in how you feel? Some research suggests that this hormone has mood-boosting properties, suggesting that insufficient levels may contribute to depression. According to another research, women are two to four times more likely to have a major depressive episode during menopause than at other times.
Menopause and low estrogen levels can worsen mental health conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In addition to estrogen levels, sleepless nights can affect mood. Night sweats, hot flashes, and heart palpitations can cause daytime crankiness, anxiety, and irritability.
Not all women experience significant mental health issues during menopause. If you’re prone to anxiety or depression, menopause’s hormonal changes may worsen them. The first step to managing menopause’s mental health effects is awareness.
How to Balance Menopause and Mental Health
Maintaining a balance between menopause and mental health is essential for overall well-being during this phase.
So, how do you keep your mind healthy during menopause? How can you balance menopause and mental health? Here are some tips!
During menopause, regular exercise can do wonders for your mental health. Exercising can help you feel better emotionally, mentally, and physically. During menopause, depression is common, but this supplement can help lessen that risk.
Do some deep breathing exercises
Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are just some of the stress-busting relaxation techniques that can help. These methods can also aid in getting a better night’s rest, which is beneficial to your mental health.
Maintain a balanced diet
During menopause, it can be beneficial to your mental health to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine and alcohol as well as processed foods has been shown to help with anxiety and depression.
Maintain your social contacts
Depression and anxiety are common outcomes of being cut off from friends and family. During menopause, it’s important to keep in touch with loved ones and maintain social ties. It may also be beneficial to join a support group.
Get some expert advice
You should get help from a mental health professional if you’re having serious problems with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition. Your doctor may prescribe therapy, medication, or other treatments that could be beneficial.
Get enough sleep
For a healthy mind, sleep is mandatory. Menopause-related sleep disruptions can exacerbate pre existing mental health conditions. Avoiding electronics in the hour before bedtime and sticking to a regular sleep schedule are examples of good sleep hygiene that can boost the quality of your Zs.
Antidepressants—Do They Work?
Your menopause-related depression may be different from low mood. Thus, antidepressants are not recommended for perimenopause and menopause depression, according to the menopause guidelines.
This is because there is no evidence that they help with menopause psychological symptoms. Despite this recommendation, many women are improperly prescribed antidepressants for menopausal symptoms.
Hot flashes and night sweats can be uncomfortable, so your doctor may prescribe antidepressants in a low dose to ease your symptoms.
Hormone Replacement Therapy—Do They Work
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help with mood swings brought on by hormonal fluctuations.
This treatment is about taking replacement estrogen (and in some women, testosterone) to normalize hormone levels. When used properly, estrogen can alleviate many of the emotional difficulties that accompany menopause.
After a few months of taking HRT, many women report feeling significantly more relaxed, regaining their motivation and interest in life, regaining their energy levels, and experiencing an overall improvement in their mood.
Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and many others, typically improve as well. Preventing clinical depression from developing is one of the benefits of HRT for perimenopausal women, according to studies.
When given the correct dose and type of HRT, many women who have been incorrectly prescribed antidepressants find that their depressive symptoms improve to the point where they can discontinue or significantly lessen their antidepressant use.
It’s important to remember that HRT is not a one-size-fits-all treatment for menopause’s emotional and psychological symptoms. What works for one woman may not work for another during menopause. Thus, working with your doctor to find the right treatment is essential.
Finally, menopause can be hard on women’s mental health. But by keeping these things in mind, we can keep our mental health in check and boost our general well-being all through this transition.
Remember that this is only temporary. Mood swings are a normal part of the menopause transition, but they usually don’t stick around.
Keep in mind that you’re not alone; many other women have been where you are now and are stronger for it. Don’t fret; rather, prepare yourself to face menopause head-on and triumph with poise and self-assurance.
You’re going to be just fine! 🙂
♡ Love ♡,