Health Topics

Emotional Aspects of Menopause

Estrogen Levels

Declining estrogen levels associated with menopause have many side effects. They can also cause hot flashes and cause women to experience:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood changes
  • Tension

If you are feeling irritable and sad there is a good chance it could be related to menopause. However, the previously listed symptoms are not linked only to menopause. There are a number of conditions that can cause you to feel irritable. Tell your doctor how you are feeling. He or she can make sure a more serious condition is not causing your emotions.

How Can I Cope With Emotional Changes?

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.
  • Find a self-calming skill to practice, such as yoga, meditation or rhythmic breathing.
  • Avoid tranquilizers and alcohol.
  • Engage in a creative outlet that fosters a sense of achievement.
  • Stay connected with your family and community.
  • Nurture your friendships.

Although depression is not caused by menopause, some women do exhibit the symptoms of depression during this time. If you are feeling increasingly unable to cope, see your doctor. He or she may be able to recommend medicine, such as antidepressants or therapy that can get you through this rough time.

Can Hormone Therapy Ease My Emotional Problems?

While there is growing evidence to suggest that hormone therapy (HT) can relieve emotional symptoms, HT alone is not effective in treating more severe depression. Antidepressant drug therapy and/or psychotherapy may be necessary.

I Have a Hard Time Concentrating and I'm Forgetful. Is This Normal?

Unfortunately, difficulty concentrating and minor memory problems are a normal part of menopause. Doctors don't understand why memory changes occur with menopause and there are currently no treatments available to relieve these symptoms. If you are having memory problems, talk to your doctor. He or she can at least provide some reassurance.

For more information on menopause, download the Free Guide to Managing Menopause.