Here's How Menopause Affects Your Mental Health

When you think about menopause, several things probably come to mind. Hot flashes? Check. Night sweats? Check. Weight gain? Check. But anxiety and depression? Perhaps not. However, menopause can actually cause a wide range of mental health issues, and they’re not always due to fluctuating hormones alone.

At North Texas OB/GYN in Plano, Texas, our team understands how menopause affects not only your body but your mental health as well. If you're nearing menopause — or have already transitioned into this new phase of your life — we can help you manage the emotional changes that you may be seeing.

Menopause and mental health

The life events taking place during your menopausal years can trigger a variety of emotions. Most women reach menopause in their 40s or 50s, and on average at 51 years of age. 

As you near this time in your life, it’s common to start having concerns about growing older, fear of losing family members, or anxieties about becoming an empty nester. The fluctuations in your hormones can intensify these emotions.

As your body prepares for menopause, it reduces the production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate your menstrual cycle and enable pregnancy to occur. 

Even though doctors note menopause as starting 12 months after your last period, you can experience perimenopausal symptoms for years before your fertility ends. In fact, many women have these symptoms for 4-8 years. During this time, it’s common to experience changes with your sexuality, health, and mood.

When you add the hormonal changes caused by menopause to regular life events, you’re at greater likelihood of developing mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression. 

This is especially true during times of intense and chaotic hormonal fluctuations, like your perimenopausal years. That’s because these abrupt changes can affect your brain’s neurotransmitter systems, which are directly associated with mood and behavior.

Recognizing the symptoms of depression

It’s normal to feel down or anxious from time to time, but when these symptoms become pronounced, they could indicate a more serious condition, such as depression. 

Common symptoms of depression include:

It’s also common to lose interest in activities you used to enjoy.

Several other factors can also increase your chances of having mental health disorders associated with menopause. These include a history of depression or anxiety, negative feelings about aging, increased stress, or lack of support. Your chances of having mood changes during menopause also increase if you don’t engage in enough physical activity.

Avoiding mental health disorders during menopause

At North Texas OB/GYN, we take a comprehensive approach to helping you manage your transition into menopause. One important aspect is making the right lifestyle choices, including:

In addition to lifestyle changes, our hormone expert, Ralph E. Joseph, DO, FACOG, also offers an advanced form of hormone replacement therapy. This hormone pellet implant uses biologically identical hormones placed underneath your skin to release small and consistent doses of hormones to stabilize your blood levels. 

To learn more about menopause and your mental health, call us at North Texas OB/GYN or schedule an appointment online today.

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