Perimenopause Can Cause Anxiety and Depression

perimenopauseWhen my mom turned about 50 years old I noticed that she was a lot more irritable than she used to be.

I never bothered to ask why and instead I’d get annoyed with her. Silly me.

My poor mom was emotional, sleepless, anxious, and ready to fight on a regular basis.

She did tell me it was menopause and that she was going through a lot, but as a male I didn’t know what all that meant, and to be honest, I never looked into it. I just laid low.

That is until I got a phone call from an AG reader named Tracey. See, Tracey has been to several doctors because of something called perimenopause, also known as menopause transition.

Perimenopause is a transitional time for women between the ages of roughly 45-55 that takes them into menopause.

Anyway, Tracey didn’t feel like her doctor(s) were very helpful, so here we are.

Specifically, Tracey wanted to know if perimenopause can cause anxiety and depression. The answer is yes. So now I owe my dear mom an apology!

Perimenopause, or even full menopause, is nothing to sneeze at. It marks a significant life transition and can be painful, isolating, and take a long time to complete.

I delved into this issue for a lot of reasons. Mainly though, I just wanted to get the word out, which is that perimenopause is serious but manageable.

There are several symptoms of perimenopause and each one can cause distress.

“Even with a normal sleep cycle, fatigue may still be reported. Irritability, forgetfulness, headaches, stiff joints, joint pain, vertigo, palpitations, stomach bloating, fluid retention, and breast tenderness can occur. Menstrual symptoms include irregular menstrual flow, excessive or deficient amounts of menstrual flow, and infrequent flow. Sexual symptoms include a decrease in sexual interest or desire, vaginal dryness, dissatisfaction with sexual relationships, and painful intercourse” (Daire, A. P., & Fairall, H., 2005, p. 107).

 

So I’d say any woman experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause deserves a break. But more than that, I also think they deserve solid information. So if you are, or know someone, dealing with this very issue then take a listen to today’s podcast.

Inside Today’s Podcast

I’ll explore:

- The causes of perimenopause

- The symptoms of perimenopause

- The link between perimenopause, anxiety, and depression

- Treatment options for perimenopause

How to Cope with Perimenopause

What you really need to know in a nutshell is this:

  1. Get your hands on some basic education about sexuality and sexual functioning
  2. Normalize your sexual activity
  3. Exercise
  4. Try Magnesium, B vitamins, or a multivitamin
  5.  Seek sex therapy to treat a sexual dysfunction or to manage a chronic
    physical problem that requires a change in your typical
    sexual repertoire
  6. Think positively about aging and menopause
  7. Live a healthy lifestyle and reduce stress

AND always talk to your doctor openly about what you’re experiencing and about treatment options available to you.

(Daire & Fairall, p. 112).

There’s more, there always is. But these are the basics and you should be aware of them.

And even if this issue doesn’t affect you directly chances are it affects someone you know. So learn about this condition for yourself or so you can empathize more with those around you because that can make all the difference in the world.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast.

P.S.

A big thank you to Tracey for asking this excellent question.

References

Daire, A. P., & Fairall, H. (2005). Sexuality and perimenopause: What counselors need to know. Adultspan: Theory research & practice, 4(2), 105-115. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Perimenopause: rocky road to menopause. (Cover story). (2005). Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 12(12), 1-4. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Prior, J. C. (2006). Perimenopause lost—reframing the end of menstruation. Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology, 24(4), 323-335. doi:10.1080/02646830600974071

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  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Just wanted to let everyone know that if you commented on this post in the last 2 days your comment was lost.

    AG is on a new server and I lost a few bits during the transfer.

    Thanks!

  • Tracey

    Hey Paul, thanks again for taking the time to look into this very important issue. I knew you’d come up with great info!! I did want to share that I finally found a good doctor who at least somewhat understands the hormonal connection. She told me that everyone has to find that right thing (or things) that work for them and it is a process. I am now taking 400 mg of magnesium daily, which has helped greatly with insomnia and heart palpitations, as well as easing anxiety during the day. I also started taking extra B6 and fish oil – both of which seem to help with hormonal swings and mood. My doctor recommended walking and/or yoga on a regular basis as well. I do think that persistence is key in finding solutions to dealing with anxiety – and I know you will continue to put out great info to help all of us overcome anxiety!

  • Bryan3000

    Ahhhh… that explains my missing post on the other article. :)
    Thanks Paul!

  • Sue M.

    Thanks for an infomative article and podcast Paul. I could write volumes on this topic! I have been through all of this, and am now finished, thank goodness for that. The hormonal fluctuations were very hard to deal with for a few years, which lead to a great deal of anxiety. Imagine sitting at your desk when you feel a strange kind of pressure, like when you blush, then withing a few seconds sweat starts running down your face and your back, and then a minute later you start to shiver as it switches over to the chill cycle. Then imagine doing this every 20 minutes or so during your work day. It just about drove me mad.
    I tried all the hormone stuff for a while, which provided a bit of relief, but as this is a natural bodily cycle, I gave it up and just let it run it’s course on it’s own, and I think that is why I was done within a few years. If the body is trying to shut down this process, then continually giving it hormones just extends it all.
    Sleep was quite absent at this time with all of the night sweats, which really caused a flare of Fibro symptoms, so basically I lived in a lot of pain and anxiety for a few years. It is slowly correcting itself now, so at least I am getting sleep once again.
    This whole thing is a natural process – us ladies just have to tough it out for a few years. Watch the caffeine and sugar, and do some mild exercise and it will eventually pass!

  • http://www.womenshealth123.com Amy Adinda

    Irregular menstrual periods can be disruptive, especially if it is accompanied by severe PMS and heavy bleeding. To help manage these symptoms, I have identified 5 natural solutions you can use to your menstrual woes. Before you try any of these, I would strongly advise that you seek the opinion of your doctor – this is to make sure that you do not have any pre-existing medical condition or are not taking any medication or substances that can interact negatively with these remedies.

  • http://anxietyguru.net dana

    Paul,

    I have been listening to your Pod on perimentapause and OMG you can ramble on! I am sure you have some good information to share, but you could have rapped it up in 10 minutes or so, but you say the same thing over and over. You should have this written down so you can stay focused and on track.

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Thanks Dana, that’s not a bad point. Thing is, I don’t do scripts because I’m just being myself. The other thing is that repetition helps a lot of people digest information. This is just how I do things. My style, who I am. I’m ok with that.

  • Sue M.

    Hey Paul, don’t change a thing about your podcasts! I have always enjoyed listening to them because of your style and the kind of information you present. All of us long-time friends on your site like things just the way they are!

  • kathie Fowler

    YES! The hot flashes create a surge in adrenalin, and I wake up heart racing and all soaked. Lovely.
    I had the disorder under control for years with meds and yoga. When I started this phase of my life, it was like the old days of panic.
    Just went through 2 days of hell, your podcasts helped.
    Thank you Paul!