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

ten years.


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.

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.

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