Menopause and Mental Health
WHAT IS IT?
Menopause is a biological process in women’s lives that generally occurs either in their
40s or 50s when there is a decline in reproductive hormones. Menopause is signaled by
an elapse of twelve months since a woman’s last menstrual cycle, and often comes with
extreme symptoms that occur both physically and mentally from four to sometimes up to
MENOPAUSE + MENTAL HEALTH
When it comes to mental symptoms, menopause can often cause a decline in mental
health due to the hormonal changes that occur, such as the decrease of estrogen and
progesterone levels. Many times, mental changes can occur in the time leading up to
menopause, such as an increase in depressive symptoms and anxiety.
If a woman has previously dealt with anxiety or depression in the past or faces them
currently, symptoms may resurface/worsen, but it is uncommon for a woman who has
never faced these disorders to get a severe instance of either mental disorder as a
result of menopause. Additionally, the stress of responsibilities that women may have at
this age such as family or work can increase the risk of developing mood disorders.
Some more symptoms that women often face during menopause and perimenopause
are irritability, aggression, lack of motivation, and lack of patience, all of which can lead
to more issues that worsen the initial symptoms.
Physical symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and
night sweats can affect mental health as sleep has often been linked to emotional
health, learning, and the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors — although menopause
alone has not been found to directly cause extreme symptoms, a combination of
previous disorders/issues combined with the changes that come with menopause can
lead to these risks.
Overall, menopause is not just a physical process, and it can greatly impact individuals
who go through it mentally, so it is very important to be patient and kind because it is
often an exhausting process, and facing these symptoms for an extended period of time
can be extremely draining.