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Health & Fitness How the menopause can affect your mood

10:40  09 may  2018
10:40  09 may  2018 Source:   prima.co.uk

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Here's how to tackle menopausal mood swings. You may not have linked emotional ups and downs with helter-skelter hormones at menopause . But oestrogen starts to decline in midlife – and as this hormone has a role in the production of feel-good serotonin, the drop can affect your mood , explains

Mood swings during menopause are primarily due to hormonal fluctuations women experience during this time. During menopause , the body begins to decrease its production of reproductive hormones. This change in hormone levels disturbs the body's natural equilibrium, which can affect a woman's

Midlife hormone changes could be affecting you in more ways than you realise. Here's how to tackle menopausal mood swings.: How the menopause can affect your mood © Wavebreakmedia - Getty Images How the menopause can affect your mood You may not have linked emotional ups and downs with helter-skelter hormones at menopause. But oestrogen starts to decline in midlife – and as this hormone has a role in the production of feel-good serotonin, the drop can affect your mood, explains Eileen Durward, the menopause expert for herbal supplement company A Vogel. 

At the same time, oestrogen blocks cortisol, the stress hormone, so this can rise as oestrogen drops, raising anxiety levels. And progesterone, a calming hormone, also starts to decline. The result? A cocktail of seesawing hormones to affect your mood.

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You may experience mood swings, memory loss, problems focusing, irritability, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, stress, anxiety and depression. The changes in your hormones and natural decline in estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come.

Menopause affects all women differently, so it’s hard to say how rare or common menopause anger is. Hormone changes can have a significant effect on your mood , but that doesn’t mean that you’ve permanently lost control over the way you feel. Keep reading to learn more about why these mood

But it’s not just about the hormones, believes Karen Smedley, a counsellor and coach who specialises in working with women over 50. ‘Going through menopause can change the way you see yourself and your body. You may mourn the loss of your ability to be a mother – even if you’ve had children, this can sometimes be challenging. And your body may look and feel different.’

Plus, she says, it can be a busy time of life, with work, children growing up, changes in your relationship and perhaps looking after elderly parents too. All this can increase the physiological impact of your hormones on your mood. And it may manifest in some surprising ways.

Related: Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce anxiety (provided by Men's Fitness)

1. Asparagus: Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and one vegetable that boosts this mood-enhancing nutrient is asparagus. A single cup provides two-thirds of your daily value, and it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Some ideas: Sauté some asparagus tips for a tasty omelet. Go with steamed or grilled spears as a side vegetable for meat, fish or poultry. Snack on some steamed spears by dipping in some dressing.20 fittest foods>>> Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce anxiety

1. Anxiety

Suddenly tense about things that never used to bother you – or even more anxious than usual? Whether you’ve become nervy behind the wheel or inexplicably worried about the state of your relationship, your hormones could be at play.

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It’s important to understand how menopause can affect your sleep. Learn how menopause may influence your ability to fall and stay asleep. When you add the effects that menopause can have on sleep to the mix, it’s no wonder why so many women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are so darn tired.

Mood can be affected by many things, from an argument with a loved one to a traffic jam. It’s not always clear what causes mood swings and the irritability that often accompanies them. Mood swings also differ from depression, which is not typically linked to menopause .

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show women over 50 make up a third of those admitted to hospital with acute anxiety. ‘Hormones are a leading cause of anxiety in midlife,’ says Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK. ‘Anxiety is often the first and longest lasting symptom of menopause but many women don’t link it with hormone changes.’

2. Phobias

At the more extreme end of the scale, you may even tip into having a full-on phobia. A study from the University of Sydney showed dental phobia is most common in women in their forties, for example. In some women, anxiety gets funnelled into one particular area and becomes a phobia – whether that’s fear of flying, germs or hurting someone.

  How the menopause can affect your mood © Provided by Shutterstock

3. Depression

It’s very common to experience depression in the run-up to menopause due to the decline in oestrogen and serotonin. You’re more likely to be affected if you’ve previously experienced depression, or you always had severe PMS.

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How to ease the symptoms of the menopause . You don’t have to just put up with menopausal symptoms. Alcohol can depress your central nervous system, with the result that you may become more uninhibited than usual. This means that it can affect your judgement, as well as your mood .

Donna Begg from YourTango shares how your mental health and menopause are intertwined and what self-care measures you can take. Research shows that menopausal symptoms such as sleep problems, hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue can affect mood and well-being.

And depression can creep up on you. If you’re feeling lethargic, struggling to feel optimistic about anything, get weepy for no clear reason and don’t enjoy things that used to give you pleasure, these can all be signs you may be affected by depression.

a woman sitting in a chair talking on the phone: menopause mood swings anxiety stress © Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch - Getty Images menopause mood swings anxiety stress

4. Anger

‘It’s thought oestrogen plays a role in emotional regulation,’ says Eileen. ‘So as levels fall, you may find it harder to keep your anger in check.’ She adds that bonding hormone oxytocin, which drives us to care for others, also declines, which can mean we feel less concerned about hiding annoyance.

5. Loss of concentration

Can’t keep your focus? Hormones such as oestrogen drive neurotransmitters – the brain’s chemical messengers – and also blood flow to the brain. Plus, symptoms such as night sweats can interfere with sleep, which can contribute to foggy thinking.

  How the menopause can affect your mood © Provided by Shutterstock

What to do about menopausal mood swings

See your doctor

This is important if you’re feeling very depressed or anxious. They can check your hormone levels and may suggest HRT, if you’re not already taking it. You may also need a talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you feel more positive about the next stage of life.

Eating Fish And Legumes 'Could Delay Menopause By 3 Years'

  Eating Fish And Legumes 'Could Delay Menopause By 3 Years' A diet rich in fish and legumes may help to delay the menopause, while eating lots of refined carbs, such as pasta and rice, may hasten it, researchers have found. The study of women from England, Scotland, and Wales, which is the first of its kind in the UK, found the average age of menopause to be 51 and certain foods seemed to be associated with its timing. The researchers found having a high intake of oily fish and fresh legumes - such as peas and beans - was associated with a menopause delay of more than three years. Higher intakes of vitamin B6 and zinc were also associated with later menopause.

Hot flushes and night sweats won't exactly get you in the mood underneath the sheets, but there are ways to overcome your menopause symptoms and get your sex According to a recent survey, 84% of menopausal women find sex painful, and 70% says their relationships have suffered as a result.

Mood swings and irritability can be managed in a variety of ways. Read on to learn more about what causess these menopause symptoms. Alcohol can affect your mood by promoting feelings of sadness or aggression. Sources: Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson.

Reach for herbs

A review of studies published in the journal Menopause found St John’s wort and black cohosh were effective for easing low mood and anxiety during the menopause transition. Try Schwabe MenoMood Menopause Mood Relief Tablets, which contains both herbs – just check your doctor or pharmacist first.

Build yourself

a person standing next to a tree: couple walking © Dougal Waters - Getty Images couple walking While self-care and a bit of cocooning can be soothing at times, it’s also important to get out there, learn and find new things you enjoy. Try joining a dance class or choir – singing is great for anxiety because it regulates your breathing. Or find a local walking or birdwatching groups. Both these hobbies are shaking off their nerdy reputations as people discover the therapeutic benefits of time in nature. 

Open up

Talking to other women can help you realise you’re not alone. Rachel Weiss set up the Menopause Café movement to bring women together to discuss this time of life over tea and cake. Modelled on the Death Café movement, there are now a few Menopause Cafes around the country – or you could start your own.

Related: 6 Reasons You Might Be Sweating More After 40—Other Than Menopause (provided by Prevention)

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