Menopause in itself is a time in a woman’s life that can cause many different emotions, including anxiety. But, the question is if anxiety is a purely emotional response or is it a physical response to hormonal levels?
Many researchers and physicians will agree that it seems to be a combination of both factors. Changing hormonal levels can be a strain on the different organ systems of the body. Reproductive hormones have been found to play a large role in other areas, including the chemical in the brain that regulate emotional responses. In addition to anxiety attacks, menopause can cause mood swings, depression and low stress tolerance.
In a six-year study that was done on menopausal women at all different stages, they clearly found a relationship between hot flashes and anxiety attacks. Mental health experts are finding that estrogen replacement therapy can greatly reduce the incidence of hot flashes and associated anxiety attacks.
Emotional adjustments to menopause can also cause anxiety. Women understand their role in life is to bear and give birth to children. Menopause is a time of changing roles for women and facing the fact they can no longer reproduce. This fact may be even harder for women who never had children. Talking to someone who understands these feelings can help to calm the anxiety of losing the ability to bear children and bring on an acceptance of new roles in life.
With both emotional and physical factors present, anxiety during menopause can be severe. Anxiety and hot flashes can set in as early as age 35, even earlier for patients who had hysterectomy performed. The emotional anxiety of menopause usually sets-in during the 40’s and 50’s when it becomes very evident that the roles in life are changing. Women become grandmothers, instead of mothers. They are faced with new challenges and responsibilities and this can be worrisome.
The best way to deal with anxiety attacks during menopause is a combination of hormonal treatment and emotional support from others who understand this difficult time. Many women state that anxiety associated with menopause is temporary and it does get better after the body and mind adjust to the changing hormonal levels and new roles in life.