Changes in your hormones during menopause can impact your mental health as well as your physical health. You may experience feelings of anxiety, stress or even depression. Menopausal symptoms may include:
- anger and irritability
- loss of self-esteem
- loss of confidence
- low mood and feelings of sadness or depression
- poor concentration – often described as 'brain fog' and/or lost words
Many women experiencing menopause or perimenopause will experience problems with sleeping. Lack of sleep and tiredness can also make symptoms including irritability, ability to concentrate or anxiety worse.
Addressing problems with sleep may help you manage some of the mental health symptoms you can experience due to menopause.
There are lots of different options that can help you with these experiences and improve your mental health and wellbeing during the menopause.
Some women have been prescribed anti-depressants to help with the mental health-related symptoms during the menopause, but unless you have been diagnosed with depression there are other treatment options that are more appropriate.
It’s important to realise that the mental symptoms of menopause are as real as the physical ones, and you should not wait to seek help if you are struggling. Speak to your local GP practice and they can provide you with the right support and help.
There are various treatments that you might want to consider to help relieve some of the psychological impacts of menopause. Everyone is different so it's about choosing what's right for you. Treatments can include:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can help to improve some menopausal symptoms. There are lots of helpful and free resources that can help you get active and feel good, including yoga, mindfulness and walking.
Further information about the treatment options available
You might experience mood changes as a result of menopause, but this should not be confused with depression. Depression is a more serious condition, where very low mood is more constant for longer periods of time.
Menopause can cause an increased risk of depression. If you think you or someone close to you might be suffering from depression, you should speak to your GP.
Further information about depression
Physical changes and impacts
Some of the physical changes that women can experience as they go through menopause can affect the way they feel about themselves, their confidence and self-esteem.
The menopause can feel like a big change physically and mentally for many women, so it's important to give yourself the time and space you need to work through these changes.
It can be difficult to find time for yourself when you are juggling a busy life, working and supporting family members, friends or children. If you can, try to remember to take time for yourself too. Finding time for a cup of tea, to read a book, go outside for walk, gardening or go online can give you a break from the pressures of life. Mindful breathing exercises and yoga can also really help.
Speaking to other women online or in real life about the physical changes you're experiencing can also help. There might be Menopause Cafes or social media groups that allow you to listen to other women's stories, and to share your own.