The psychological symptoms of the menopause
These can be some of the most debilitating symptoms of the menopause and ones which sometimes women can either be incredibly reluctant to admit they have, or even realise they are suffering from.
As with any mental health issue, they remain an equally taboo topic. Strange isn’t it that a lot of us feel more comfortable talking about a physical symptom whereas with anything to do with our mental health we can tend to keep it to ourselves, which then ends up making everything ten times as hard to cope with.
I should write the next words in capital letters…these are some of the most common symptoms…if we were all more open and comfortable talking about mental health we would realise that the majority of us around the same age, those that we are either working alongside or are friends with, are experiencing similar symptoms!
What are the most common symptoms…
- Lack of concentration
- Poor memory
- Low mood swings…very different from clinical depression
- Panic attacks
- Brain fog…red mist…
Always remember, as with any of the many symptoms of the menopause, there will be other contributory factors…coping with teenage children, elderly parents, pressure of work, life/work balance that needs adjusting…we’re not known as the sandwich generation for nothing!
So how do you treat and cope with these symptoms…
First and foremost…lifestyle choices…
What you eat, drink and how well exercised you are can make significant differences to how you and your body copes with these symptoms.
Make sure you incorporate energising foods into your diet, reduce those carbs, only eat the healthy fats and keep hydrated throughout the day.
Try and make exercise part of your daily routine, incorporate a variety of exercise throughout the week, making sure you get at least one session of pilates or yoga in there if possible. Make it fun, not a chore, set yourself realistic goals which are sustainable – no one’s asking you to go and run a marathon…that might float your boat, which is fabulous, but for other women just doing 10 minutes of high intensity exercise can be enough. As with anything, find out what suits you and your lifestyle, which you know will be sustainable. Just make sure you do something which releases those endorphins!
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), explained in a previous post – known to be as effective for some, if not more, than any form of medication. One of the main advantages of CBT is that you are learning life skills which help you to manage your symptoms throughout your life, the more you practise them the more effective they will become and the easier you will find them to use.
Mindfulness like CBT, focusses on the present and the positive, an extremely useful life skill to learn and especially helpful when coping with all the psychological symptoms being thrown at you.
Counselling – any form of talking therapy can be beneficial, whether that’s sharing your problems with a trusted friend or going to see a therapist, it remains one of the most effective treatments.
Alternative remedies like herbs can be an option for some women but, as explained in a previous post, remember they have their side effects too and can interact with other medication you might be taking. It is always better to get advice from a trained medical herbalist rather than self medicating.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) : replacing that oestrogen will have a beneficial effect as well as treating other symptoms you might be suffering from. Please see previous post.
Antidepressants : these definitely have their place in the medical world but within the NICE guidelines for menopause it clearly states that they should not be used as the first line of treatment. All the other options above should be considered first.
Finally – Rest and Relaxation, a bit of R & R is essential with any symptom but particularly with psychological symptoms…making sure you get even 10 mins to yourself every day can make a difference…but ideally a little longer! The more rested and relaxed, the more exercised and well nourished you are the better you will cope with any symptom.
As with any information developed for Fountain Retreats the information in this post is accurate at time of posting and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace or substitute the judgement of any medical professional you may come in contact with. You should always seek advice from your health care professional regarding a medical condition.