Why Menopause symptoms affect your Mental health

Posted: 24th April 2024

Source: (17) Why Menopause symptoms affect your Mental health | LinkedIn

I noticed that many of the women I spoke to experienced some low mood, mild depression, anxiety or stress as a result of their perimenopause symptoms, which was apparent from what they thought or said about themselves.

Can it be said if you feel like this, you also have a mental health issue, or is it just Perimenopause?

Knowing this may help us and others not be so dismissive about perimenopause symptoms & make more intentional steps to manage it.

So, let’s consider what mental health is.

Can Perimenopause affect your mental health?

Is there a link between Perimenopause and depression?

What helps your menopause symptoms and mental health

What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with life’s stresses, realize their abilities, learn and work well, and contribute to their community.

World Health Organization definition (WHO) in part

So, if you are in good mental health, you will

  • have feelings of calm & excitement
  • be satisfied & fulfilled with life
  • feel physically healthy & energetic
  • in control of your life
  • ability to manage moods
  • have high self-esteem
  • ability to cope with stress & manage anger
  • maintain positive relationships.

So poor mental health feels like this

  • Anxious & Restless
  • Dissatisfied & Unfulfilled
  • Unhealthy & Lethargic
  • Feeling Powerless & Out of Control
  • Mood Swings & Emotional Instability
  • Low Self-Esteem & Self-Doubt
  • Overwhelmed by Stress & Prone to Anger Outbursts
  • Strained Relationships & Social Isolation

What category describes how you have been since embarking on your perimenopause journey?

Pre-menopause, you could have always had good mental health, so the question arises: if this is no longer the case, why has it changed?

Can Perimenopause affect your mental health?

Well, shifts in the levels of female hormones can cause mood changes.

Remember how you felt during puberty, periods & maybe pregnancy.

Another reason is that the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland axis (HPA) makes you more inclined to be stressed.

I call (HPA) the Stressor Control Watch Tower.

Your frontal brain sends a message to the pituitary gland at the back of it when it perceives we are under threat. Our thoughts trigger this threat, which may not necessarily be an actual threat—it can be fear!

However, it is enough for the pituitary glands (the messengers) to send a message to our adrenal glands above the kidneys.

These glands are like soldiers, as they will now produce cortisol to protect the body from this perceived threat.

Leaving you with the familiar feelings that occur when you are stressed: rapid heartbeat, palpitations, etc

This process is much easier triggered during Perimenopause as the hormones that help balance stress hormones, i.e. the reproductive ones of estrogen and progesterone, are either fluctuating or on the decline.

It is more important than ever to manage your stressors due to the impact it has on your perimenopause symptoms and the effect they can have on your future health.

Hormones that help regulate our mood, i.e. serotonin, are also inhibited due to reduced reproductive hormones.

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