When we think of menopause, it is very likely to imagine the physical toll of hormonal changes. The loss of oestrogen during this time can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health too.
Dr Nick works closely with women experiencing menopause to alleviate mental health concerns that can come part and parcel of the change. Find out more helpful information about how menopause affects the mind below.
The hormonal changes that come from menopause can impact a person and their lives in many ways, one of these being depression.
The lower levels of oestrogen and progesterone in the body make a person more susceptible to experiencing depression. Hormonal deficits make women with a history of depression more likely to experience the condition when going through menopause.
Depression that comes with menopause can be caused by many things, including lower self-confidence or self-esteem issues. Whilst depression itself can have an impact on a person leaving them fatigued, irritable or sad.
It has been suggested that hormone fluctuations may be one of many causes or contributing factors towards Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). During menopause, those who have had experiences with the condition may find themselves relapsing.
Those with ongoing issues surrounding OCD may find that the change in the body’s chemicals potentially makes experiences, triggers, and symptoms of OCD worse.
Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep that happens more than three times a week and can become a chronic condition for one in four women.
Sleep gives the brain a chance to decompress and process all the day’s information to keep the body in line and in good check. If a person doesn’t sleep, their body is not given a chance to relax and prepare for the day ahead, leading to memory, concentration issues, fatigue, and exhaustion.
Those going through menopause tend to find that their sleep cycle changes due to the physical and hormonal symptoms they experience. Hot flashes and sweat can make it hard for a person to sleep, leading to other difficulties down the road.
Insomnia can cause irritability and mood swings, affect appetite, and increase the chances of headaches, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Those who have anxiety as a pre-menopausal condition are likely to experience worsening symptoms during the transition.
Menopause brings about many physical symptoms, from headaches to IBS. If left unchecked, anxiety can run rampant during this time, especially in those who have pre-existing anxiety, such as health anxiety.
Those with anxiety should consider avenues of treatment available to them to keep their mental health in check when experiencing menopause.
PMS & Menopause
Studies have suggested that those who experience PMS in their younger years are more likely to experience worsening symptoms in the run-up to the menopause period, which typically occurs between 20 – 40 years of age. However, once entering menopause, those who have PMS are likely to experience fewer PMS symptoms as time goes on potentially.
Menopause can be stressful for anyone going through it, but one needs to remember that they are not alone.
If you’re worried about the mental health impact of menopause and the effect it can have on their wider life, you can book an appointment with Dr Nick for a consultation. You can also look at the StrongerMinds Blog, which is jam-packed with essential mental health information on a range of mental health topics and issues.