If you find yourself on an emotional roller coaster, crying at the drop of a hat, overreacting to almost everything, and feeling like your world is spinning out of control as you experience unexpected highs followed by equally surprising lows — you are not alone.
Unless you have had a hysterectomy, you can expect to go through menopause in your 40s or 50s. In the United States, the average age in which menopause occurs is fifty-one. Menopause is acknowledged as “official” 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle.
Menopause is a natural biological process all women are destined to experience. Many people are familiar with some of the physical symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, but there are many emotional symptoms that occur as well. These symptoms can disrupt your life by affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep, lowering your energy levels and even causing feelings of depression and anxiety.
Symptoms may actually begin during perimenopause which starts approximately 6 years earlier than menopause. During this time, the hormone levels released by the ovaries begin to fluctuate leading to the symptoms.
As many as 75% of women going through menopause will deal with mood swings. These mood swings can cause a woman’s emotions to fluctuate all the way across the spectrum – from low to high and back again.
Common Emotional Symptoms of Menopause
As with most things in life, it is easier to deal with something that you have some understanding of. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the emotional symptoms caused when the hormones that normally regulate mood and emotions are thrown off balance.
Some common emotional symptoms caused by perimenopause and menopause include:
- Increased impatience or total lack of patience
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
- Feelings of increased stress or tension
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Feelings of sadness, depression and melancholy
- Fatigue (may be caused by lack of sleep)
These mood swings can be frequent, extreme, and easily triggered. Some of the emotions cannot be explained other than having a feeling of things being not quite right. Some women feel like they are in a constant state of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Natural Lifestyle Changes to Combat the Emotional Swings of Menopause
Many of the emotional symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, especially feelings of sadness and irritability can be managed by making a few lifestyle changes such as:
- Eating a healthy diet, free of sugar and caffeine
- Regular exercise
- Utilize self-calming practices such as rhythmic or deep breathing, yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc.
- Avoid the use of alcohol and other tranquilizers
- Nurture relationships by staying connected with friends, family, and community.
- Engage in creative activities that you enjoy and provide you with a sense of achievement.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If the above lifestyle changes do not adequately address the emotional symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is another option that can be considered. There is growing evidence that HRT can relieve many of these symptoms. However, if depression is severe, antidepressants and anti-anxiety prescription medications may be needed to control the intense feelings that a woman often experiences.
Every woman’s response to menopause is different. Each woman has developed her own unique way of coping with stress, emotions, and her environment. Because of this, each woman will experience the emotional symptoms of menopause differently. Although many of the symptoms will be experienced by most women, the impact that they have on each woman’s life can vary greatly.
Although perimenopause and menopause can cause a woman to feel any of the above emotions, many of these feelings and emotions can also be associated with other medical or psychiatric conditions as well. If you are dealing with these emotions and have concerns, the staff at Walnut Hill is ready to help you find the best solutions for your situation. Contact us to schedule your appointment!