Anxiety is when we feel worried, tense or afraid.

By: Diane Porterfield-BourneNurse Practitioner specialising in menopause

Leaving the house can be problematic, withdrawing from social activities is common and you may find engaging in meetings virtually impossible.

What has suddenly changed to make women feel nervous, tearful and have reduced confidence?

Fluctuations in hormones during the menopause transition, primarily Oestrogen and Progesterone are often the cause. Hormones are powerful chemicals that stimulate, regulate and control functions of our bodies. Along with the complex balancing of hormones the levels of neurotransmitters within the nervous system are often reduced during this stage of hormonal decline.

Low Mood and increased anxiety can affect between 45-68% of peri-menopausal women. Continuing to try and function ‘normally’ only increases stress; impacting on quality of life. Many ladies feel irritable, have insomnia, mood swings and experience feelings of worthlessness. This can be frightening and undermine your confidence and you might even think that you are actually going crazy!

However, it’s important to know you are not alone, and there are solutions to help alleviate if not diminish entirely some or all of the psychological symptoms associated with menopause transition. What steps can you take:

  1. If symptoms persist book an appointment with your GP or Nurse Practitioner specialising in menopause. Anxiety and low mood are common menopausal symptoms and seeking advice from a health care professional is the best route to take.
  2. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for the majority of women will dramatically improve psychological wellbeing.  National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend HRT as first-line treatment for low mood in menopause, not anti-depressants.
  3. Those who are unable or wish not to take HRT find yoga, mindfulness and meditation very beneficial. Eating a healthy Mediterranean diet, reducing alcohol and engaging in regular exercise will also help improve quality of life.
  4. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – this is a very effective and well-proven tool to help relieve anxiety. CBT is a talking therapy that can help you manage your anxieties by changing the way you think and behave. It offers practical, hands-on tools that can be incorporated into your daily habits with immediate effect.