The menopause, mood swings and me
Menopause can trigger all sorts of emotional changes, from anxiety to low mood to depression. If you’ve noticed a difference in your mood, it is more than likely to do with a number of factors, including a change in hormones, and the effect of common menopausal symptoms on your lifestyle. Everything from poor sleep to hot flushes can have a significant effect on how your feel.
What to do about low mood during menopause
One of the first approaches to managing your mood is to understand what’s happening - then you can explore the different ways to feel better. Knowledge is power, as you will feel less in the dark about what’s happening and more able to look at the choices that could positively impact this significant stage of your life.
Lower oestrogen and testosterone levels in our brains often change how we feel: this can manifest in all sorts of ways, from less drive to do the things we once enjoyed, to having to cope with regular periods of low mood or anxiety. Interrupted or poor sleep can also have a significant effect on everything from work to sexual relationships.
You’re not alone. Anxiety, depression, or just an altogether low mood are pretty common during menopause, as in any other period of life where hormones are in flux. Many women have been where you are, and have found help and guidance through speaking to menopause experts who can help them to understand and manage their moods.
The difference between low mood and depression
Whether you’re seeking advice from your GP, a therapist or a gynaecologist, it’s really important to see someone who has specialist knowledge of the menopause. They will help you to feel heard and understood, because their expansive expertise can be used to help you find the best ways to manage your moods.
A diagnosis of depression can only be made after a thorough look at your medical history, and the impact your low moods are having on your life now.
In certain cases, anti-depressants may be an option. But an experienced menopause expert will always try to look at the whole picture and help you to uncover the areas of your mental health that have the biggest impact on your quality of life. It may be that little changes have the biggest overall impact on your mood. For example, if sleep has been poor during the menopause, you may look at addressing this by altering your diet, changing the temperature of your bedroom, or increasing certain types of relaxing exercise.
I’m worried nothing is going to help me feel better
This is a common feeling. Even though you may feel alone in your situation, it’s important to discuss what’s happening at the earliest opportunity, so that a number of possible factors for your low mood can be looked into, and a variety of options to manage these symptoms can be explored. The earlier this happens, the better the chance of mitigating symptoms that have the power to negatively impact your life.
Many women find that HRT, whether in patch, cream or tablet form, can significantly help many symptoms of menopause. However, HRT is not for everyone, so it’s always vital to explore the options that will feel most beneficial and suitable for you. If HRT is not a suitable option, there are many other avenues that can help with both physical and mental changes during menopause.
Coping with menopause and mood swings
So many changes are happening in your body, and will continue to do so for up to fifteen years, so a long-term plan will be the key to improving your situation. Certainly, now that society is talking more about menopause, there’s more of a duty for everyone – from family members to colleagues in the workplace – to realise that menopause is a significant life stage that should not be silenced or sidelined, if women are to feel fully supported.
To find out more about our gynaecologists and menopause specialists, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.