“I never used to be anxious, I don’t know what’s changed.” That’s something that I hear from my clients who are ‘women of a certain age’. The connection between anxiety and the menopause is being increasingly recognised but often, women aren’t making the connection.
This is probably for two main reasons:
- It creeps up on you gradually so you don’t make the connection.
- There is a common belief among both men and women that the menopause is all about hot flushes and night sweats and that’s it.
Well this blog is here to both enlighten and reassure you that you’re not going mad, anxiety related to the menopause is a very real thing experienced by not all but many women over the age of 40. Please don’t panic and run for the nearest bar of chocolate to quell your rising anxiety about the prospect of … er … your rising anxiety, it’s not inevitable and it’s certainly manageable if you do experience it.
In the first instance, understanding why you feel the way you do is half way there to dealing with it. There’s nothing worse than dealing with change that you weren’t expecting and certainly aren’t used to although for some women, it is more a case of their anxiety getting worse because they were dealing with it already.
So, first things first. Why do you feel more anxious once you become peri-menopausal (the time where your body starts to experience changes but you’re still having periods)? This can be related to the hormonal changes in your body. As your Oestrogen levels start to fall, you become more susceptible to mood swings, particularly in the run up to your next period (which equally become more irregular and often change in becoming heavier, lighter or both changing from month to month). Oestrogen helps to stimulate the production of Serotonin so when your Oestrogen levels start to fall, your Serotonin levels also start to fall and therefore your mood changes, often leading to anxiety or depression.
Progesterone also plays a part as it is a calming hormone. As it reduces, women are therefore more at risk of feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Something else to consider is that when women reach their peri-menopause/menopause, they’re often at an age that I like to refer to as an ‘Inbetweener’. Yes, it’s the age when you’re helping, supporting and nurturing your children through school and further education (in whatever form it may take) and also dealing with your parents becoming older and needing your attention more and more. So one day, you’re sorting out dates in the diary for all the school events you need to keep on top of including inset days, parents evenings and the like, the next you’re worrying about getting to see your parents as they need your support with doctors’ appointments, help with shopping and generally keeping an eye on their welfare and well-being. Sound familiar? Even if your children are older or you don’t have children, you may be juggling full time employment with dashing around the country because you’re aware that they’re not getting any younger.
So if the bad news is that your hormones start to do a merry dance at a time in your life when you could do with being on full throttle, the good news is that you don’t have to just grin and bear it like the many previous generations of women who quite possibly felt so alone and desperate. Hypnotherapy has a proven track record of helping women to deal with a number of issues related to this wonderful time of change and is being increasingly recognised by ongoing research that it is one of the more effective ways of treating menopausal symptoms. In fact, Gary Elkins Ph.D. of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory at Baylor University found that hypnosis can reduce hot flushes in 80% of women involved in the study. HI also suggests that participants experienced improved quality of life and a lessening of anxiety and depression.If hypnosis can be that effective on menopausal symptoms without the use of HRT (the NICE Guidelines recommended treatment for women suffering symptoms of the menopause), then it offers a credible alternative for those women who either aren’t suited to HRT or prefer not to take it or even just as an add-on to their existing treatment..
So to summarise; you’re not losing it, going insane or just not coping, the menopause creates changes and for some women, these changes result in symptoms of anxiety either developing or becoming worse. This is the time to recognise your changing moods, feelings and emotions and take some time out for yourself to ensure your own well-being as well as that of those around you.
Click here for more information about the study carried out by Gary Elkins Ph.D
If any of this blog resonates with you and you’d like to find out more about how hypnosis can help with any of the symptoms related to the menopause, contact Catherine today at firstname.lastname@example.org and book in for your free consultation to find out more.