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How Menopause Affects Your Mental Health (And What You Can Do About It)

Are the hormonal effects of menopause making it more difficult for you to cope with everyday challenges? If so, you aren’t the only one. Many women report a lower quality of life due to menopause symptoms.

The average American woman reaches menopause at age 51. However, the symptoms that accompany the transition can appear up to 10 years before your menstrual cycle stops. At Alpha Internal Medicine, we want to inform you about the impact menopause can have on your mental health, to reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal, and to explain what you can do about it.

Higher risk of developing depression

In some cases, having difficulty coping with aging or losing loved ones leads to depression. In other cases, depression occurs due to lower estrogen levels. When you enter menopause, your adrenal glands continue to produce estrogen. However, your ovaries, which are the largest source of estrogen in your body, stop producing the hormone.

This can impact your emotional health. Estrogen is a mediator for dopamine, one of your brain’s chemical messengers. So when your estrogen levels decrease, this feel-good neurotransmitter also stops working at full capacity.

Up to 20% of women who go through menopause develop depression. While everyone has moments when they feel hopeless and tearful, prolonged episodes of sadness — those lasting more than 2-3 weeks — could be a sign of depression.

Accentuated ADHD symptoms 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is typically associated with children, but it doesn’t necessarily go away with age. You can manage adult ADHD via treatments, therapy, and lifestyle changes. 

Many adults with ADHD are undiagnosed, especially those with milder forms of ADHD that don’t significantly impact quality of life quality. However, declining estrogen levels worsen ADHD symptoms.

Increased risk of developing chronic stress 

Many women going through menopause report being more stressed than usual. Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, disrupted sleep, and weight gain contribute to chronic stress.

The workplace is often a source of stress, and the emotional and physical symptoms of menopause can compound that stress. One study found that menopause symptoms had a negative impact on the performance of women at work. 

How to prevent menopause from decreasing your quality of life

Hormonal changes affect everyone differently. Some women may experience hair loss, while others may experience a sudden drop in energy or noticeable weight gain. As they get older, many women also have to take care of elderly parents and come to terms with aging, which can lead to even more stress.

Our specialists understand what you’re going through and can help smooth your transition through menopause. There are various ways you can address your menopause symptoms and take care of your mental health.

Hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormones can help you manage mental health issues and reduce mood swings and irritability. At Alpha Internal Medicine, we offer BioTE® hormone pellets, a more natural form of HRT that is molecularly like the hormones your body makes, to help bring your body into balance.

If you live in Fayetteville, Georgia, and are concerned about how menopause impacts your mental health and your quality of life, feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment via phone or our online form.

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