Health & Fitness How the menopause can affect your mood

10:40  09 may  2018
10:40  09 may  2018 Source:

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  A Menopausal Moment? No, It's Parkinson's! So, I’m in my 50s! I’ve gone through the menopause – so all those aches, pains, and names escaping me are just one of those things that happen.Time after time there would be a joke made about forgetting a name! I read articles written by others on how to overcome this annoying problem. That’s how I thought of it, only temporary, something that would rectify itself once those dratted hormones settled down. I bowed to those with far more experience and knowledge about memory problems than myself.

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Midlife hormone changes could be affecting you in more ways than you realise. Here's how to tackle menopausal mood swings.: How the menopause can affect your mood © Wavebreakmedia - Getty Images How the menopause can affect your mood You may not have linked emotional ups and downs with helter-skelter hormones at menopause. But oestrogen starts to decline in midlife – and as this hormone has a role in the production of feel-good serotonin, the drop can affect your mood, explains Eileen Durward, the menopause expert for herbal supplement company A Vogel. 

At the same time, oestrogen blocks cortisol, the stress hormone, so this can rise as oestrogen drops, raising anxiety levels. And progesterone, a calming hormone, also starts to decline. The result? A cocktail of seesawing hormones to affect your mood.

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Menopause can affect your mood . You answered NHS: “Breast Changes in Older Women,” “ Menopause : The Facts.” Northwestern University: " How Hormone Depletion Affects You."

Does Menopause Affect Your Brain? Menopause and Mood . What about mood swings? Some women experience them, probably the result of fluctuating hormone levels.

But it’s not just about the hormones, believes Karen Smedley, a counsellor and coach who specialises in working with women over 50. ‘Going through menopause can change the way you see yourself and your body. You may mourn the loss of your ability to be a mother – even if you’ve had children, this can sometimes be challenging. And your body may look and feel different.’

Plus, she says, it can be a busy time of life, with work, children growing up, changes in your relationship and perhaps looking after elderly parents too. All this can increase the physiological impact of your hormones on your mood. And it may manifest in some surprising ways.

Related: Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce anxiety (provided by Men's Fitness)

1. Asparagus: Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and one vegetable that boosts this mood-enhancing nutrient is asparagus. A single cup provides two-thirds of your daily value, and it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Some ideas: Sauté some asparagus tips for a tasty omelet. Go with steamed or grilled spears as a side vegetable for meat, fish or poultry. Snack on some steamed spears by dipping in some dressing.20 fittest foods>>> Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce anxiety

1. Anxiety

Suddenly tense about things that never used to bother you – or even more anxious than usual? Whether you’ve become nervy behind the wheel or inexplicably worried about the state of your relationship, your hormones could be at play.

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For some, the menopause can be like sitting on an emotional pendulum; up one minute and down the next. Just as things seem to be going well and you are in good spirits, something happens and your mood goes crashing to the ground again. Mood swings affect every woman differently

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show women over 50 make up a third of those admitted to hospital with acute anxiety. ‘Hormones are a leading cause of anxiety in midlife,’ says Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK. ‘Anxiety is often the first and longest lasting symptom of menopause but many women don’t link it with hormone changes.’

2. Phobias

At the more extreme end of the scale, you may even tip into having a full-on phobia. A study from the University of Sydney showed dental phobia is most common in women in their forties, for example. In some women, anxiety gets funnelled into one particular area and becomes a phobia – whether that’s fear of flying, germs or hurting someone.

  How the menopause can affect your mood © Provided by Shutterstock

3. Depression

It’s very common to experience depression in the run-up to menopause due to the decline in oestrogen and serotonin. You’re more likely to be affected if you’ve previously experienced depression, or you always had severe PMS.

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Menopause affects all women differently, so it’s hard to say how rare or common menopause anger is. Hormone changes can have a significant effect on your mood , but that doesn’t mean that you’ve permanently lost control over the way you feel.

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And depression can creep up on you. If you’re feeling lethargic, struggling to feel optimistic about anything, get weepy for no clear reason and don’t enjoy things that used to give you pleasure, these can all be signs you may be affected by depression.

a woman sitting in a chair talking on the phone: menopause mood swings anxiety stress © Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch - Getty Images menopause mood swings anxiety stress

4. Anger

‘It’s thought oestrogen plays a role in emotional regulation,’ says Eileen. ‘So as levels fall, you may find it harder to keep your anger in check.’ She adds that bonding hormone oxytocin, which drives us to care for others, also declines, which can mean we feel less concerned about hiding annoyance.

5. Loss of concentration

Can’t keep your focus? Hormones such as oestrogen drive neurotransmitters – the brain’s chemical messengers – and also blood flow to the brain. Plus, symptoms such as night sweats can interfere with sleep, which can contribute to foggy thinking.

  How the menopause can affect your mood © Provided by Shutterstock

What to do about menopausal mood swings

See your doctor

This is important if you’re feeling very depressed or anxious. They can check your hormone levels and may suggest HRT, if you’re not already taking it. You may also need a talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you feel more positive about the next stage of life.

Eating Fish And Legumes 'Could Delay Menopause By 3 Years'

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During menopause , the body begins to decrease its production of reproductive hormones. Keep reading to find out how other menopause symptoms can affect mood .

The bad news is that “the change of life” doesn’t just affect your mood and your lady parts — it also drags down your race times. Menopause is when the monthly waves of estrogen and other hormones that women have been surfing since puberty finally ebb for good.

Reach for herbs

A review of studies published in the journal Menopause found St John’s wort and black cohosh were effective for easing low mood and anxiety during the menopause transition. Try Schwabe MenoMood Menopause Mood Relief Tablets, which contains both herbs – just check your doctor or pharmacist first.

Build yourself

a person standing next to a tree: couple walking © Dougal Waters - Getty Images couple walking While self-care and a bit of cocooning can be soothing at times, it’s also important to get out there, learn and find new things you enjoy. Try joining a dance class or choir – singing is great for anxiety because it regulates your breathing. Or find a local walking or birdwatching groups. Both these hobbies are shaking off their nerdy reputations as people discover the therapeutic benefits of time in nature. 

Open up

Talking to other women can help you realise you’re not alone. Rachel Weiss set up the Menopause Café movement to bring women together to discuss this time of life over tea and cake. Modelled on the Death Café movement, there are now a few Menopause Cafes around the country – or you could start your own.

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One in three women is experiencing severe reproductive health issues, including infertility, period pains or the menopause .
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