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Can Menopause Cause Anxiety Attacks

Why Does Menopause Cause Sleep Problems

Can Menopause cause Anxiety, Depression or Panic Attacks ? | Apollo Hospitals

When hot flushes occur at night, they are referred to as night sweats. Night sweats often lead to fragmented sleep and next-day fatigue. Before a hot flush, your body temperature rises and, consequently, wakes you up. Most hot flushes last around three minutes, resulting in decreased overall sleep efficiency.But quality sleep is essential for emotional stability. Inadequate rest can pave the way for anxiety and vice versa. Together, anxiety and sleeplessness intensify the effects of each other, creating a negative feedback loop.According to the sleep expert, Matthew Walker, the brain reverts to its primitive pattern of uncontrolled reactivity when sleep-deprived, which explains why anxiety is more likely after a night of broken sleep .

Can Menopause Cause Anxiety Or Panic Attacks

Transitioning into menopause can often give rise to unpredictable emotions such as anxiety and panic attacks. The premenopause, or the period preceding up to menopause, is generally marked by several symptoms that can affect women to varying degrees. These symptoms are produced by sudden changes in your bodys hormone levels, particularly the reduction of hormones that are important for reproductive health. A womans body goes through major physical and emotional changes during premenopause, which can, understandably, lead to mental health issues. To find more about the connection between menopause and anxiety keep reading the article below.

What Causes Anxiety During The Menopause

Several things can play a part in triggering feelings of anxiety during the perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.

As with other common menopause symptoms, one of these factors is your changing hormone levels, particularly the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen can affect many parts of your body, including your brain and emotions.

When youre having periods, your oestrogen levels go up and down during each menstrual cycle. But in the perimenopause, your oestrogen starts to drop, and eventually settles at a low level postmenopause .

Levels of the hormone progesterone change during menopause, too. Progesterone is thought to cause premenstrual syndrome , of which anxiety can be a symptom. But if youve had PMS, it doesnt necessarily mean youll get menopause symptoms.

Anxiety can also be triggered by other menopause and perimenopause symptoms, such as hot flushes, dizziness, heart palpitations and trouble sleeping . These symptoms can make you feel embarrassed, irritable or very tired, and increase feelings of worry.

Many people also find theyre dealing with major life changes around the time of the perimenopause and menopause. Things such as divorce, children leaving home, health issues or parents becoming frail and needing care can be extra sources of anxiety and stress at this time.

Theres also thought to be a link between the perimenopause and depression.

Read about some unusual symptoms of menopause.

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My Anxiety Is Worst In The Mornings Is That Normal Why Does It Work That Way

Early morning anxiety is typically seen in the perimenopause-to-menopause period, says Dr. Vaidya. Estrogen helps regulate cortisol production cortisol is your bodys main stress hormone, responsible for your fight or flight response. Decreases in estrogen can cause increases in cortisol levels which can stimulate the nervous system leading to early morning anxiety.

What Are The Solutions Lifestyle Choices Naturopathic Solutions Medical Interventions Apps

Anxiety in Perimenopause and Menopause

Dr. Vaidya: There are several modalities, interventions, lifestyle changes, and diets that are available out there however, the most important thing is to create a program that is easy to use and adapt. We know from studies that lifestyle changes such as having a balanced diet and getting good exercise can have real benefits. Cognitive behavioral therapy as well as mindfulness and relaxation techniques have demonstrated significant improvement in symptoms of anxiety. Supportive groups, whether online or in person, are helpful as well however, it is important not to overwhelm yourself. Approach treatment at your own pace.

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Other Causes Of Anxiety During Menopause

On top of hormonal changes, the physical symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, body aches, skin irritation and sleep disturbance can trigger anxiety and low mood. Women may not feel like themselves and struggle with low self-confidence.

“Women are often juggling many roles with home and work, and trying to carry the burden of all these expectations whilst not feeling themselves is a source of anxiety for many,” says Vohra.

“There are other psychological symptoms too. To name some, women can have low self-esteem, lack of motivation, panic attacks, poor concentration, anger and low energy. These can be really debilitating despite not being visible. This can result in a lack of pleasure in normal life.”

As a result, women may lose interest in activities that once made them happy, such as exercise or socialising. This can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and low mood.

Can Menopause Cause Anxiety

Anxiety during menopause is less well understood. The hormonal changes during the transition into menopause can trigger feelings of anxiety. It is less clear whether or not women are more likely to develop a clinical anxiety disorder during menopause.

There are some things that might make it more likely that you experience anxiety symptoms during your transition into menopause. For example, there seems to be a strong association with having hot flashes or night sweats and experiencing feelings of anxiety.

Other factors that might increase your chance of experiencing anxiety are:

  • Upsetting life events

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Can Anxiety Be Blamed On Declining Oestrogen

Scientists have discovered that oestrogen has a significant effect on the brains regulation of moods and emotion.

This relationship is pretty complex. It appears that a decrease in oestrogen causes a decrease in an enzyme called Monoamine oxidase . This in turn causes damage to the neuro transmitters which offer neuro chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and melatonin that affect mood, emotions and behaviour.

How Can I Cope With The Emotional Changes Of Menopause

Can Menopause cause anxiety, Depression or Panic Attacks? | Apollo Hospitals

Irritability and feelings of sadness are the most common emotional symptoms of menopause. Often, they can be managed through lifestyle changes, such as learning ways to relax and reduce stress.

Here are some tips that may make it easier for you to handle your fluctuating emotions:

  • Exercise and eat healthy.
  • Engage in a creative outlet that fosters a sense of achievement.
  • Stay connected with your family and community.
  • Nurture your friendships.

For a lot of women, confronting the aging process triggers emotional issues around menopause. It might help to adjust your outlook.

  • Remember that menopause is a natural part of life.
  • Think about what youâll gain with menopause. For instance, donât mourn the loss of childbearing years. Embrace the freedom that lies ahead.
  • Get the focus off your crowâs feet and body changes and onto what you like about yourself. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you to notice thoughts that make you feel bad, and replace them with positive ones.
  • Seek support from your doctor or health care system, community, and other women.

Insomnia can be a cause-and-effect problem during menopause. Symptoms like hot flashes can disrupt your sleep, making anxiety and depression worse. Meanwhile, mood problems themselves can cause sleep problems. Hormone replacement therapy may help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques like meditation, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

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Does Anxiety Go Away After Menopause

If you have experienced symptoms of anxiety for the first time during menopause, it is most likely a temporary phase and should be over after menopause sets in. However, if you experience symptoms of anxiety more often than normal or of higher intensity, then it might indicate other serious concerns. In such a case, seeking professional help is advised.

Many Women Going Through Perimenopause And Menopause Experience Frequent Panic Attacks Likely Connected To Fluctuating Hormones The Panic Attacks Can Hit Unexpectedly And At Any Time

Your hands tremble, your chest heaves, you’re sweating and clammy and feel like you’re having nervous breakdown or a heart attack. You feel out of control and detached from the world.

But that sudden and intense sense of doom could be a panic attackespecially if you’re going through menopause. And you’re not alone. Plenty of women, around their menopausal years, are along for the ride on that bumpy roller coaster chock full of emotion.

Panic attacks hit unexpectedly and at any timewhen you’re at the mall, watching television, in the middle of a business meeting, while driving, and even when you’re sleeping.

Learn more about Signs of a Panic Attack.

The likely culprit for this surge of adrenalin, your body’s “flight-or-fight” response against danger ? Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone.

And when you consider that menopause ushers in other life changes that can make you more prone to developing panic attackslike sleep problems, worries about body image, changing relationships, loss of fertility and an overall decreased sense of well-beingit’s no wonder that so many women suffer from them around this time. If you were prone to anxiety in the past or experienced PMS or postpartum depression, then you might be more likely to develop panic attacks during the menopause years.

But they will. Here’s how to cope in the meantime, when those 10 to 30 minutes of awfulness feel like 10 to 30 hours of hell.

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How Long Does The Menopausal Anxiety Last

The symptoms of premenopausal anxiety should come to an end once the premenopause period is over. The length of the premenopause period can differ from person to person depending on various factors. According to a research, many factors, including the age and weight at menopause, the age at sexual maturity, maternal age, oral contraceptive use, irregular menstrual cycle, number of pregnancies, body mass index, tobacco and alcohol use, physical activity, involuntary early menopause, serum lead levels, unsaturated fats consumption, socioeconomic status, and level of education, have also been shown to influence the age of menopause.

I Know A Lot Of Younger Women Should I Talk With Them About Anxiety

Anxiety Symptom Information

Thanks to continuing social stigma around womens bodies, many of Generation X and older women entered perimenopause with no real understanding of what was happening or what was to come. Moving to normalize perimenopause and menopause can make it so much easier for younger generations of women to have a smoother, healthier transition.

As Dr. Vaidya says, It’s important to talk about the natural change of life with women in your group. Very often menopause is culturally viewed as an end of reproductive ability or desirability. However, opening dialogue and sharing the challenges and treatments would help transform the way menopause is viewed. This can help dissipate fear as well about a normal change in life. Our anxiety, says Dr. Vaidya, is made worse when we keep menopause a mystery, so talking and educating ourselves and one another is good for us all.

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What Can I Do About My Changing Body Image

You might notice some weight gain now. Itâs probably more related to your age and lifestyle changes. Menopause might change where your body stores fat, though. Your metabolism might dip.

Even though itâs normal, you can feel baffled and upset to see your body change. Try these tactics to build a healthy outlook:

  • Get the focus off your flaws and onto what you like about yourself. When critical thoughts come up, it can help to jot down a few self-compliments you can come back to later.
  • Immerse yourself in positive pursuits that allow you to grow. Expand your social or spiritual life to replace inward, self-critical habits.
  • An exercise routine can boost your body image as well as your health and outlook, even if you donât lose weight.

Show Sources

North American Menopause Society: “Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms,â âThe 2017 Hormone Therapy Position Statement of the North American Menopause Society,â âGet Positive About Body Image.â

National Institutes of Health.

How Do I Explain To My Partner Children Colleagues Boss Etc Whats Happening To Me

Telling people youre dealing with perimenopause or menopause symptoms can be really tough in our society, and telling people youre dealing with mental and emotional symptoms as a result risks a double stigma. Hopefully, as menopause and womens health issues generally become more normalized, well be able to talk more openly and easily.

As Dr. Vaidya says, Communication and being transparent with your colleagues and loved ones about the experience of menopause and change, whether physical or emotional, would be the first step. Telling those around you that your responses may sometimes be influenced by unruly hormones may help them have greater understanding and prompt them to do more to accommodate and support you.

Read Also: How To Retrain Your Brain From Anxiety

Is Anxiety Part Of Menopause

The fluctuation of estrogen and another key hormone, progesterone, in your body can cause feelings of anxiety or depression. But frequent, troubling high anxiety or panic attacks are not a normal part of menopause. Some women develop a panic disorder during menopause. Therefore, it is not something to be worried about.

I Have Been On Hrt For 2 Years Now And All Was Going Well Until Recently I Started Having Anxiety Attacks Since Starting The Hrt Most Of My Menopausal Symptoms Disappeared So I Don’t Understand Why I Should Suddenly Start Feeling Anxious All The Time Can You Suggest Anything To Help It Affects My Sleep Considerably And Is Very Unpleasant

Tips For Dealing With Panic Attacks During Menopause

Being on doesn’t actually stop your own hormone levels from changing, it just puts extra quantities of sex hormones into your body. So your own oestrogen levels can fall and this causes anxiety. If your blood sugar is a bit wobbly you’ll feel more panicky and light headed, so it would be important to focus on eating regularly – have something, however small, every 3-4 hours, e.g. a banana or some dried fruit or nuts, chewing them well to improve the absorption of the nutrients they contain.

Also, keep your water intake up , as dehydration makes you feel way more panicky and gives you palpitations. Avoid caffeine if you can, as this can trigger panic attacks too, as can very sugary foods. To help yourself further, start practising simple breathing exercises several times daily. Just something as easy as counting to 3 whilst you breathe in and again to 3 as you breathe out will be very helpful – you may be surprised at how good this is at averting panicky feelings. Get some gentle outdoor exercise every day if you can – just 10-20 minutes gentle walking makes you feel heaps better, as hormones circulate in the bloodstream so keeping active is a good fix. Check your diet for wholegrains, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and green veg, as these are sources of magnesium and that is very stabilising for your adrenal glands.

You could take an extra magnesium supplement too . Herbs such as can be extremely calming too.

Eileen Durward

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