When we think about women going through menopause, what typically comes to mind are the physical changes, but many of the effects can be emotional and mental as well. At Suncoast Women’s Care in Trinity, Florida, Dr. Wanda Torres and the rest of our team are providers for the whole person, so we want you to know that we can help you with whatever issues you might encounter as you approach and pass through menopause.
Here’s a look at how menopause can affect your mental health in addition to your physical health.
What is menopause?
Menopause occurs in women when they stop having their periods. This usually happens naturally sometime after age 45 when a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. While symptoms can begin years earlier, women officially reach menopause when they haven’t had a period for one year.
Physical symptoms of menopause include hot flashes and night sweats, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness, and less hair on the head and more on the face. Several emotional and mental changes can occur as well.
How can menopause affect mental health?
To start with, if you’re not sleeping well, you’re likely going to be tired, moody, and irritable. Thanks to changing levels of estrogen, you may also begin to feel symptoms of anxiety and depression, even in the years before menopause actually occurs. If you already have a history of anxiety and depression, your symptoms could become more pronounced.
Estrogen has been shown to enhance your mood, so if you have less of this hormone, you’re more likely to experience mood changes. The drop in estrogen can also make you feel like you’re experiencing PMS constantly, which can contribute to feeling irritable and sad.
How to fight for good mental health
If you experience any of these mental health changes, there are several things you can do to maintain a good mindset. At the top of the list are eating well and exercising regularly. If you take good care of your body, it helps your mind function better. You should also try to stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of sitting and watching TV, find a creative outlet, get back into that hobby you used to enjoy, and stay connected to family and friends. Take your vitamins while avoiding anxiety and depression triggers like alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes.
If you’re experiencing anxiety and depression severe enough that they’re disrupting your everyday life, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Torres for help getting through this time. At Suncoast Women’s Care, we’re women devoted to providing gentle, compassionate care for other women. We know you’ll feel at home in our office — call or use the online tool to set up an initial consultation. We can help get you back on the road to good mental and physical health!