Does menopause affect mental health?
Menopause is the term used to define the end of one's menstrual cycles. Menopause is diagnosed once a woman has had no periods for 12 months. It is a natural process that usually takes place in a woman's 40's or 50's.
Although it is a normal process, like any other bodily change, one goes through a series of changes. Menopause for most women has physical and mental symptoms. In this article, we discuss the effects of menopause on a woman's mental health.
What should one expect?
In terms of physical health, there are various changes one experiences. Some of the most common symptoms leading to menopause are:
- Irregularity in periods
- Poor sleep
- Slowed metabolism
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Night sweats
- Dryness in vagina
- Hair thinning
- Sudden feelings of feverish heat
A woman might experience some if not all of these symptoms in the months and years following up to menopause.
Besides these physical changes, women may also experience changes mentally. Here are some of the common symptoms women nearing their menopause may experience mentally.
1. Mood changes
The constant change in moods is very common during and before menopause. Although these mood swings are often mild, it is integral to understand they are completely normal.
Menopause may cause anxiety due to the changes in one's hormone levels. Lack or excess of certain hormones can cause anxiety. Women may experience panic attacks while transitioning.
Depression is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. One may feel low, worthless, agitated, etc. This may cause a change in appetite.
Fatigue is another very common symptom of menopause. Feeling tired and low in energy is normal and is caused due to hormonal changes.
5. Problem focusing
Anxiety and depression may affect one's attention span and ability to focus. You might experience a lack of concentration.
6. Can we prevent these symptoms?
Although these mental symptoms are normal and common, one might want to prevent them. They may not be completely preventable but small changes in one's lifestyle can help reduce the severity of the time span of these symptoms.
How can we prevent these symptoms?
Here are some simple ways through which you can reduce these symptoms:
1. Be prepared
Doing correct and enough research when nearing your 40's can help you better understand your feelings. Sudden changes in moods and lack of information can cause confusion.
2. Understand it is normal
The first step to accepting your feelings is to understand it is normal. Feeling guilty or anxious is normal and common, you must not feel alone.
3. Understand it is temporary
Another great way to overcome the menopause transition is to understand the symptoms are normal. Just like physical changes, the emotions you feel are temporary.
4. Eat well
Eating healthy can help you feel better. Healthy foods also promote better physical health and reduce symptoms. Certain foods also help boost the production of happy hormones.
5. Workout regularly
Working our can also help reduce the physical and mental symptoms. Working out also aids the proper production of happy hormones and can help you feel fulfilled.
6. Try meditation
Meditating or trying yoga and breathing exercises can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Improving relationships with self and working towards mindfulness can help with the menopausal transition.
7. Talk to someone
Venting has been proven to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Therapy or talking to a reliable person can help you release your feelings.
8. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol and other substances may help distract you temporarily but they can poorly affect your long-term mental and physical health. Alcohol is addictive and a depressant and must be avoided.
Keeping in touch with your friends and family can help you get through the transition. Seeking support is encouraged and can help you deal better with your symptoms.
10. Participate in achievable activities
Try engaging in activities that give you feelings of achievement. Be it trying a new recipe or trying to learn a new instrument, such activities can help you feel fulfilled and give a sense of achievement.
It is essential to know what menopause is and what one should expect. Understanding menopause can help you smoothly overcome it. Seeking help from a professional is encouraged for mental and physical symptoms.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.