Oestrogen For Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort
Your vagina may become dry, painful or itchy as a result of the menopause and perimenopause.
A GP can prescribe oestrogen treatments you can insert into your vagina, as a tablet, cream or ring. This can also improve any urinary symptoms caused by menopause and perimenopause, like discomfort when you pee.
These vaginal oestrogen treatments do not get into your bloodstream and only work on the bit of the body where you put them. You can use them for the rest of your life. Symptoms usually come back when you stop using them.
It’s safe to use vaginal oestrogen with HRT.
Read more about vaginal dryness.
Menopause And Mental Health
Wherever you are in life, having an understanding of the state of your body, what your normal is, and the changes to come is incredibly important. Women are particularly sensitive to hormonal shifts, and the post menopausal years bring falling levels of estrogen and emotional and physical changes.
Many women come to major hormonal milestones of menopause, with relatively little preparation or understanding of the hormonal shift that are about to take place. While we may know about the falling estrogen levels, cessation of the monthly period, possible weight gain, and hot flashes, most of us are not aware of the various emotional changes that go along with the hormone changes. Did you know that women in post menopausal years are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety? Your ovaries produce less estrogen which in turn affects the levels of serotonin in your brain. And estrogens role in serotonin production is just one of the many important roles it plays in womens mental health.
Trying A New Medication
It was at this point, after trying everything else, that my psychiatrist decided to try a new medication. This was a much more potent drug usually meant to treat people with bipolar disorder or even schizophrenia, but nothing else was working and he desperately wanted to help me. I think he thought if he couldnt fix the anxiety, at least he could stop me from feeling it. And it worked. I didnt feel the anxiety. Of course, I didnt feel anything else either. I stayed on it for a couple of months and was doing okay . Then I started to have some nasty side effects and had to go off of it. My body was used to being sedated for so long that it didnt take well to removing the sedation. All of the anxiety came rushing back, and this time it brought a friend with it depression.
Until this point, depression wasnt an issue for me. But now, all I felt was fear and sorrow. Admittedly, I had days when I wished I could end it all. Thank God I had my family there. Without them, I hate to think how bad things could have gotten for me. The depression and anxiety lasted for months. My doctor tried everything. I was taking several pills a day just trying to get back to a functional place in my life, but nothing worked. I was long past the point of feeling hopeless. Little did I know that my life was about to change.
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Why Might Hrt Help With Anxiety During Menopause
Estrogen is a sex hormone, so you might be wondering what it has to do with anxiety and why hormone imbalance treatment may help with anxiety symptoms. Scientists are still studying the connection. However, it may be due to estrogen receptors in the brain that can increase the risk for anxiety. For instance, estrogen receptors may affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is basically the relationship between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. The key detail to note here is that this axis has a large impact on your bodys response to stress. Some researchers also believe estrogen receptors in the brain can impact serotonin levels, which may also explain the link between estrogen and anxiety.
What Is The Relationship Between Hormones And Anxiety
If youve ever felt confused by spiking anxiety shortly before your period begins, dont worry: Youre not alone. Our hormones directly affect our anxiety levels. And its not just progesterone a number of hormones can influence how stressed youre feeling on any particular day, regardless of whether you have a uterus or not.Heres the rundown of the wild world of hormones inside our body and info about how they can increase your anxiety.
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Menopause Can Cause Vague Yet Debilitating Anxiety Some Women Have Panic Attacks For The First Time
Menopause can cause a lot of women to suffer from debilitating anxiety. Read on to see what My Second Spring readers are saying about their experiences of anxiety and panic attacks at menopause. Physical symptoms like hot flushes and irregular periods are the more commonly known menopause symptoms but the psychological impact of the menopause can be more unfathomable and life-altering. A situation made worse by a lack of knowledge and feelings of isolation. Let’s talk!
Menopause can lead to psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety and panic attacks
The Roles Hormones Play In Our Body
Hormones are the tiny messengers in our body that start, stop, speed up, or slow down physical and chemical functions. For women, their ovaries are the source of hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. During the menopause their ceasing in production affects hormonal and biochemical fluctuations in the brain and nervous system. Studies have shown that mood changes experienced during menopause can be attributed to the depletion of oestrogen. Hormones have a hand in most of the components contained within our body and how they communicate with each other.
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Q: Is There A Link Between Menopause And Depression
A: Changes inhormone levels may influence neurotransmitters in the brain. The drop inestrogen levels can also lead to hot flashes that disturb sleep, which can thenlead to anxiety and mood swings.
If you experience symptoms of depression nearly every day for two or more weeks, you might be depressed. Talk with your doctor about finding a treatment that will work for you. Your doctor will also want to rule out any medical causes for your depression, such as thyroid problems.
What Can Others Do To Help
Itâs a tricky question: those who arenât going through it often struggle to figure out ways to be supportive and helpful. Dr. Vaidya suggests, âOne of the best things loved ones can do for you is to listen and to be empathetic. Often people around you may try to give well-meaning but unsolicited advice, but this can come across as pedantic or judgmental.â Discussing a game plan when youâre not currently dealing with anxiety can be helpful, since in the moment, it can be challenging to think and communicate clearly. Now, when youâre clear and calm, is perhaps a better moment to have the discussion.
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Ways Your Health Care Professional Can Help
Sometimes you may need more than behavioral changes to get relief from your anxiety. Talking with your healthcare professional will help determine if the symptoms youre experiencing warrant psycho and pharmacologic therapy. Hormonal therapy is not approved to treat anxiety specifically, but a combination approach may be something to explore. Women also respond differently to hormonal birth control and can discuss contraception options with their OB/GYN.
Anxiety is a vast womens health topic, and I have merely scratched the surface. Be sure to talk with your healthcare professional about any concerns you may have with how to manage elevated anxiety. We are always here to help!
To schedule an appointment with a VPFW provider, you can call us at or set an appointment online.
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Q: Can Hormone Therapy Ease My Emotional Problems During Menopause
A: While theres growing evidence that hormone therapy can help with emotional symptoms, it alone is not effective in treating more severe mental health conditions. Your doctor my prescribe medication for anxiety or depression. Counseling also helps treat the psychological symptoms.
You may feel better after menopause ends and your hormoneslevel out. But talk to your doctor as soon as possible to start the righttreatments.
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Hormones For Your Head
October 8, 2001 — Are you depressed? Anxious? Still suffering from a long-ago trauma? Psychotherapy and psychiatric drugs can help restore balance to your mind and body. But increasingly, there are more options. For instance, researchers now say hormone treatments offer a more natural approach to mental health.
So what are hormones? They’re substances produced in our bodies to regulate our biological activities. Growth hormones control our development, stress hormones are released when our bodies detect a threat, and sex hormones control the maturation and function of our sex organs. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Uriel Halbreich, MD, is professor of psychiatry, obstetrics, and gynecology, and director of biobehavioral research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also president of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, or ISPNE.
At a recent ISPNE conference, Halbreich spoke about how endocrinologists study hormones and how psychiatrists and neurologists study the brain. What falls through the cracks of this research is the important role that hormones play in our mental health. One of the roles of a psychoneuroendocrinologist is to help fill in those cracks.
In an interview with WebMD, Halbreich looks at some of the many ways hormones affect our brains, emotions, and well-being.
Speak To A Health Professional
“Do speak to a health professional if you are feeling these symptoms, as seeking help can start the process to differentiate symptoms of menopause impacting your mental health from depression,” says Vohra. “Some women who have a past history of sensitivity to their own hormone changes, such as premenstrual syndrome or postnatal depression, may be more likely to experience these types of symptoms during the menopause.”
A GP is a good place to start if you are struggling with anxiety, as they will be able to recommend different treatment options. “Understanding the pattern of your mood and anxiety with all of the above, will help you share these concerns with a GP or health professional,” says Vohra. “Prepare and take a deep breath before you consult and know that you know your mind and body best.”
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Q: Does Having Panic Attacks Mean You Have Panic Disorder
A: Not necessarily. Those with panic disorder have frequent panic attacks. And, in between, they worry about when the next one will strike and try to adjust their behavior to head it off. But a single or a few isolated panic attacks dont mean you have a panic disorder.
Women who were prone to anxiety in the past or who had postpartum depression are sometimes more likely to have a panic disorder during menopause. But any woman can develop one.
Panic disorders can be hard to identify because somesymptoms, such as sweating and palpitations, mirror those that many womenexperience anyway during perimenopause and menopause. But, just because a panicdisorder is not easily diagnosed, that doesnt mean that it doesnt exist orthat you cant treat it.
How Do You Manage Your Menopausal Anxiety By Midlife You’ll Have Developed Your Own Wisdom And Personal Preferences Choose Help That Appeals To Your Current True Self Here Are 15 Suggestions For You To Consider:
- 1. TALK TO OTHERS. Sharing your feelings and emotions is often the best way to discover that many others are actually feeling the same way. It’s easy to think you are slowly going mad or getting early dementia. Bringing up the subject can be hard and make you feel very vulnerable if you feel you’re the only one not coping. You’ll be surprised how many women are relieved to share this conversation. You can help each other to get to the root of your anxieties by talking. If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, please chat with the women on this page. Visit the Comments section below and meet your soul-sisters. You’ll find some great advice here on coping mechanisms.
- 2. EXERCISE EVERY DAY 30 MINS!!. Pick the forms of exercise you really enjoy and do something every day for 30 minutes. This could be walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, tai-chi, roller skating or dance – whatever appeals to you. Consistency is the key in helping you burn off some of that nervous energy. Studies have shown that anxiety can be significantly reduced by regular, gentle exercise, so it is well worth making it a part of your daily routine.
- 3. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING. When you feel overwhelmed take a few minutes to calm your breathing. Breathe in deeply and count to 7, hold for 2 and then breathe out counting to 11. After a few, deep relaxing breaths, your body and mind can slow down and your thoughts can become much clearer.
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Hrt Can Help Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Say goodbye to menopause symptoms with HRT to balance your hormones.
Before we get into HRT for menopausal anxiety, lets go over what HRT is and why you may need it during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy refers to medications that supplement your natural hormone levels. During menopause, women may have a regimen of estrogen and progesterone to help even out hormone levels. Many women also take testosterone replacement therapy.
The goal for HRT is to alleviate menopause symptoms, which are typically brought on by low and imbalanced hormone levels. During menopause, our bodies start to produce significantly less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Levels may fluctuate leading up to our last period, sometimes being higher or lower than normal. After we reach our last period and enter post-menopause, our ovaries produce much less of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
These hormone changes can cause many symptoms, some of which youre probably familiar with. They include symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Low sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
Low hormone levels after menopause can also increase the risk for many health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Starting With A Psychiatrist
It took me some time to get in to see a psychiatrist but I was finally able to get an appointment. We discussed what was happening with me and he immediately started me on an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. He also made an appointment for me to meet with a therapist. I went home and started my treatment, hoping things would improve. And they did, at least for a little while.
Therapy was helpful and my psychiatrist was determined to do everything he could to help me resolve my anxiety. I had periods of time, up to three or four months, when I felt okay but inevitably, those good times would come to an abrupt end. The triggers were always such little things, like talking about getting a new pet or simply moving some furniture around. But it would send me into a tailspin. The anxiety would come rushing back over me like a wave and I was drowning in it. I would rush back to my doctor, who would add a new medication or increase an old medication. I would see my therapist as soon as possible and try to talk things out. And again, it would get better for a while, then worse, then betterand so on and so on. This went on for several years and I tried to accept that this was going to be my life from now on.
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Hormone Treatment And Anxiety
Conditions caused by hormone deficiency may also trigger anxiety. Therefore, while medications and psychotherapy are the standard treatment approaches to anxiety, hormone therapy plays an equally crucial role in controlling the mental condition.
Hormone replacement therapy will help you control and maintain your hormones at a healthy level, which translates into effectively keeping anxiety disorders at bay.
Albeit hormone treatments are generally safe, you should still consider the fact that they may carry with them potential risks of complications. Listed below are some serious health risks associated with hormone treatments:
- Blood clots
- Heart disease
Age and family history are risk factors for these complications. Discuss with your doctor whether these risks would outweigh the benefits of hormone therapy.
Behavioral Changes Can Help You Manage And Prevent Anxiety
Although it may come as no surprise, behavioral lifestyle changes are the first step to better controlling anxiety. Hormonal influences may make this difficult at certain times, but healthy changes will never hurt. Increasing sleep quality, reducing abuse of substances, and reducing stressors are helpful ways to cope with anxiety and depression symptoms. Exercise , limiting caffeine intake, smoking cessation, limiting alcohol use, meditation and relaxation have also been shown to be effective modalities.
There are also things you can do to boost production of oxytocin, the hormone that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Outside of childbearing, oxytocin is released during contact with loved ones and promotes relaxation and trust. Natural ways to boost oxytocin include showing generosity toward others, cuddling with a loved one, and petting an animal.
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How Hormone Changes Impact Mental Health During Menopause
Shifts in the levels of female hormones are one of the key causes of mood changes for many women. “The falling levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone influence women’s brains,” Vohra explains. “The resulting imbalance of lower chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins – and increased ones such as cortisol and adrenaline – can lead to feelings of anxiousness and irritability.”
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerve cells, is linked to mood regulation, the body’s stress response and memory. Endorphins are chemicals known to increase feelings of well-being and pleasure, while reducing pain and discomfort.
Why can the menopause trigger anxiety?