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  • Writer's pictureMonigho Griffin

Why Menopause symptoms affect your Mental health

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.


What is Mental health?

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.




Is there a link between Perimenopause and depression?


Major depression is a condition associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain, and changing hormones during Perimenopause may be associated with that imbalance.


This is why Women appear to be particularly vulnerable to depression during the perimenopause years. There have been several studies researching this 

one stated:


The Penn Ovarian Aging Study 4 noted a four-fold increase in depression in women with no history of depression during their menopausal transition compared to their pre-menopausal status. Moreover, a diagnosis of major depressive disorder was more than twice as likely to occur in women with no history of pre-menopausal depression.


However, it is documented that in women who reached Menopause, symptoms of anxiety and depression decreased in the years after the final menstrual period or hysterectomy.


Depression is a condition associated with a chemical imbalance in 

If you have been experiencing some of these signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be experiencing major depression and should see a healthcare provider.



Which individuals during Perimenopause are more at risk of getting depression?



Biological factors


  • Hot flushes in the day or night

  • Difficulty sleeping

  •  History of premenstrual syndrome.

  • Having at least one chronic medical condition


Psychological factors


history of

  • postpartum depression

  • depression or anxiety

  • Or

  • adverse perception of Menopause

  • neuroticism (a personality trait disposition to negative mood and anxiety)

  • Unresolved traumatic event 


Social factors 


  •  Negative perspective of ageing.

  • Stressful life events, i.e. caring for elderly parents and or children

  • Employment responsibilities and challenges

  •  Marital status, 

  • low socioeconomic or financial status, 

  • and lack of family or social support.



What are protective factors to help reduce or prevent menopause symptoms of depression? 


To improve your mental health during peri/Menopause, learn how to manage your

 thoughts, 

stressors

perspective about yourself


Also


  • Social support

  • /positive affirmations

  • Menopausal hormone therapy

  • Counselling/psychological therapy

  • Healthy lifestyle, including exercise

  • Meditation/mindfulness

  • diet


Conclusion

Hormone imbalance during Perimenopause may mean depression may be a possibility; the severity, quantity and length of time you had symptoms will determine whether it is low mood, mild or significant

there are protective factors you can implement to reduce the impact, which includes speaking to your health care practitioner during.`

But do not give up; things will get better









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