The Menopause is a time of great change in a woman’s body. It is the moment that marks the end of monthly menstruation and the beginning of a new stage in life. It’s very common for this process to have many significant lasting effects on a woman’s health. For some women it is associated with feelings of loss as it marks the end of their child bearing years. These profound feelings may lead emotions akin to bereavement.
It is essential these emotions are acknowledged appropriately as it’s the more physical symptoms of the menopause that often seem to attract the most attention. It’s important to acknowledge the heavy emotional toll that the menopause can have on women at any point of this monumental biological transition, with depression and mood changes much more common than is widely recognised.
What can cause these changes in mood?
Like most leading symptoms of the menopause, the emotional difficulties that many women can experience before, throughout and after this process are multifactorial. However the reduction of certain hormones in the body at these times will inevitably impact on these symptoms. Oestrogen, the main hormone responsible for the functioning of the reproductive system, is produced at a much lower level after the menopause. This change is associated with increased agitation, mood swings and anxiety experienced by many women of menopausal age. Such low levels of oestrogen can also explain their lack of motivation, energy and interest in sexual activity.
Yet, there are schools of thought to suggest that such transformations in mood and symptoms of depression are directly influenced by the physical effects of the menopause. For those who endure regular night sweats, for instance, such interference with normal sleeping patterns may be responsible for a decrease in levels of concentration and general feelings of frustration. The same might also be true for women who experience regular hot flushing, bouts of fatigue and other lingering physical symptoms of the menopause such as joint pain and headaches.
If left unchecked, these mood-based symptoms can affect any number of personal relationships, impact on your ability to work to a high standard and make your home life much less enjoyable than it was before.
Suffering from depression
It’s often easy to mistake these periods of irritability, low self-esteem and reduced motivation for clinical depression, which is a major mental health condition that may only improve with psychoactive treatment. In order to make a distinction between clinical depression and feelings of depression, it’s a good idea to discuss these symptoms with a medical professional or specialist, such as a gynaecologist. They may be able to help you better understand why you feel like you do, and can help you to find the best way of managing these unpredictable and upsetting mood swings and changes to your behaviour. Many women who find themselves in this situation can benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
As an expert gynaecologist, Mr Francis Gardner has a delicate understanding of the menopause and how it can affect the physical and mental wellbeing of each and every woman who has gone through it. During an in-depth consultation with Mr Gardner, you’ll be given the space and time you need to discuss how you’re feeling with regards to your menopause and given the chance to choose from a series of HRT options if the doctor feels that these could be beneficial to your mental and physical health. To book your consultation with Mr Gardner, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.
In some cases, yes. This is particularly true if you have a history of mental health issues, or have been affected by things such as postnatal depression in the past. This can mean that you are more susceptible to the effects of hormone changes.
Yes. There can be a direct link between your lifestyle and the likelihood of you experiencing depression or mood changes. It’s therefore advisable for all women of menopausal and post-menopausal age to exercise regularly, eat healthily and limit their alcohol intake.
By increasing your body’s oestrogen levels, HRT can have many positive effects on your overall mood and mental wellbeing. Those who take this often report feeling more energetic and more motivated as well as being better equipped to deal with their feelings and emotions.