Menopause and Mental Health

Midlife is often considered a period of increased risk for depression in women. Some women report mood swings, irritability, tearfulness, anxiety, and feelings of despair in the years leading up to menopause.

The reason for these emotional problems is not always clear. Research shows that menopausal symptoms such as sleep problems, hot flushes, night sweats, and fatigue can affect mood and wellbeing. The drop-in oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause might also affect mood. Or it could be a combination of hormone changes and menopausal symptoms. But changes in mood can also have causes that are unrelated to menopause.
If you are having emotional problems that are interfering with your quality of life, it is important to discuss them with your Doctor. Talk openly with your Doctor about the other things going on in your life that might be adding to your feelings. 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
    • Lack of physical activity
    • Not being happy in your relationship or not being in a relationship
    • Not having enough money
    • Having low self-esteem (how you feel about yourself)
    • Not having the social support you need
    • Feeling disappointed that you cannot have children anymore

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 life.  If your mood is affecting your quality of life, you should talk to your doctor.  If your organisation has an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in-place then you can also talk in-confidence to your EAP service. The EAP can discuss with you ways to feel better and offer you help and support.

June 2021. E&OE.

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