Menopause and mental health

Middle age for women is often considered a period of increased risk for depression. Some women complain of mood swings, irritability, tearfulness, anxiety, and feelings of despair in the years leading to menopause, the reason for these emotional problems are, however, not always clear.

Menopausal symptoms such as sleep problems, hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue can affect a woman’s mood and well-being. The drop in oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause might also affect the mood. This could also be a combination of hormone changes and menopausal symptoms.

Changes in mood also can have causes that are unrelated to menopause. It is advisable that if a woman is experiencing emotional problems that are interfering with her quality of life, she should discuss this with her doctor.

Open and sincere communication with your doctor about the other things going on in your life that might be adding to your feelings could be very helpful.

Other things that could cause feelings of depression and/or anxiety during menopause include:

Having depression before menopause, feeling negative about menopause and getting older, increased stress, having severe menopausal symptoms. Smoking, physical inactivity, relationship problems and issues, joblessness, when you are broke. Others are; having low self-esteem; how you feel about yourself, lack of social support and childlessness among others.

If you need treatment for your symptoms, you and your doctor can work together to find a treatment that is best for you. Depression during the menopausal transition is treated in much the same way as depression that strikes at any other time in life.

If your mood is affecting your quality of life, here are a few things you can do:

Try to get enough sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Keep your room cool and dark. Use your bed only for sleeping and sex. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, large meals, or physical activity before bed.

Engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Set limits for yourself, and look for positive ways to unwind and ease daily stress. Try relaxation techniques, reading a book, or spending some quiet time outdoors.

Talk to your friends or women who are going through the same thing as you. You also can get counseling to talk through your problems and fears.

Ask your doctor about therapy or medicines. Menopausal hormone therapy can reduce symptoms that might be causing your moodiness. Antidepressants might also help.