Anxiety and Low Mood During Menopause

Of the many symptoms of menopause, those that affect your mood and mind can be the most difficult to manage. After years of negotiating your monthly hormonal cycles, suddenly things change and your moods may be quite different again. Menopause can be emotionally distressing and is associated with lower moods. However, it’s worth noting this is commonly experienced by many women, and lower moods doesn’t mean you’re depressed. 

We’ve heard from many women who suffered from anxiety during menopause for the first time in their lives, or who were suddenly experiencing mood swings and bursts of anger. We are here to tell you that no, you are not going crazy, and yes, anxiety and mood swings are normal during menopause. In fact, studies show us that 23% of women report anxiety during menopause. (1) 

We are here to explain what causes these changes and give you a few tips for managing your emotional fitness. Before we do, we want to let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: surveys have found that two thirds of women reported feeling happier after the menopause than before! (2)

Why does menopause cause anxiety and other mood-related symptoms?

During peri-menopause, which is the time before your last menstrual period, hormones are fluctuating in a downward trend. By the time you reach menopause, production of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone from your ovaries have stopped. This decline in hormones has an affect on your moods..

The direct link is a result of the important role hormones play in mood regulation. Oestrogen coordinates other hormones which are responsible for mood and sleep-regulation, including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. Progesterone has been linked to a feeling of wellbeing, often giving us a sense of relaxation or calm before sleep. 

Lower levels of oestrogen can also affect your moods and energy levels indirectly. Symptoms such as night sweats for example, can lead to poor sleep, fatigue, and anxiety at work.  Additionally, thinking about ageing and infertility around this time can be emotionally difficult/tough.
It is important to note that severe anxiety, persistent low moods and panic attacks are not normal symptoms of menopause. You should consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of these. Talking to a doctor who understands menopause helps to determine the difference between menopause-related mood symptoms, and clinical anxiety or depression.

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