Hormone Imbalance Related Anxiety During Menopause
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Women who go through menopause often deal with a number of symptoms that can interfere with their daily lives. These symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, low sex drive, and weight gain. However, one symptom that women may not know is an increase in anxiety. Menopausal anxiety is a direct result of an imbalance in hormones. So what can women do to help relieve their anxiety symptoms?
How do Hormones Affect Anxiety?
As women go through menopause, hormone levels fluctuate. As estrogen levels decline, anxiety increases, especially in combination with other menopausal symptoms. Even during perimenopause, women may experience anxiety during their periods because of lowered estrogen levels. Experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, or feelings of panic are more likely to occur during the week leading up to the start of a period. PMS symptoms can aggravate these feelings and some women can even experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD). PDD is a more extreme case of PMS, resulting in depression, panic attacks, and other negative mental states. Roughly 40% of women in perimenopause will experience PDD, especially if they have previously been diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety.
How to Treat Anxiety in Menopause
The key to treating menopausal anxiety is to not let it control you. Recognizing that you have the power to combat it is the first step in determining the best treatment. You can find ways to manage your symptoms and alleviate your anxiety in the following ways.
Adjust Your Diet and Exercise Routine
Before you ask your doctor to about prescription options to treat hormonal imbalance related anxiety, try adjusting your diet and lifestyle first. If you have mild to moderate symptoms, even the smallest changes can make a big difference. Reevaluate your diet and exercise habits. Try to avoid eating unhealthy foods like sugary, fatty, and processed products. Instead, focus your diet around foods like fresh or cooked fruit and veggies, grass-fed meats, nuts, legumes, seeds, and wild fish. Make sure to get some exercise in every day. Walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, and yoga are great ways to help boost endorphins and lower stress.
Make Time for Meditation
Meditation and meditative exercises can also help reduce anxiety. Finding ways to manage and channel stress into some kind of activity can help boost your happiness hormones.
Some of the best relaxation activities you can do are
- Deep breathing
- Tai Chi
- Music therapy
- Aroma therapy
- At home spa treatments
The most important things is to keep up with your new routines so that you maintain the effects they have on your anxiety.
Additional health tips:
- Hydration is crucial for your body to remove toxins, aim to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day
- If you feel tired during the day, this might mean that your blood sugar levels are low
- To avoid this, try eating smaller meals throughout the day, about every 2 hours
- Avoid large amounts of caffeine, especially after 2 p.m.
- Caffeine increases adrenaline and can impact your sleep patterns
Give Therapy a Try
Sometimes it can be difficult to manage anxiety on your own. Seeking out the help of doctors and therapists could help you find solutions.
If you speak to your doctor about your anxiety issues, he or she might offer a drug for anxiety or suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While these might bring the fastest relief, they also come with the most side effects and highest risks, so this should not be your first option unless you are already dealing with clinical mental health issues.
For some women, anxiety can become worse due to other sources of stress in their lives: their jobs, money problems, problems in their relationships, and so on. Speaking to a therapist about these issues can help you determine which sources of stress are the most powerful and what you can do to relieve those areas of stress.
Look for All-Natural Solutions
Since many medicines have unwanted side effects, many women turn to alternative therapies for treating hormone imbalance related anxiety in menopause. There are a variety of options out there like massage, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and probiotics. Several plant compounds found in bitter orange, Siberian ginseng, lemon balm, and passionflower are said to help with anxiety symptoms. Additionally, supplements and foods containing phytoestrogens, like soy, could help alleviate anxiety-related symptoms.
Taking probiotics is another approach to treating hormone imbalance related anxiety. Researches have found that the gut microbial composition has an impact on the function of the brain, which is called the microbiota-gut-brain axis (1). While there might not be an abundance of studies on managing anxiety with probiotics, there is evidence to suggest that supplementing with beneficial bacteria offers psychological benefits (2) and that behavior can be influenced by changing your gut microbiota (3). As a result, supporting your gut health with probiotics will also have boost your brain health.
Where to Get Probiotics
You can find probiotics in many foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, natto, tempeh, and live yogurt. However, it’s likely that women cannot consume enough of these foods to maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Using a probiotic supplement can be a good alternative for supporting your digestive health.
(1) J. Foster and K.-A. Neufeld. “Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression.”
(3) R. Luna and J. Foster. “Gut brain axis: diet microbiota interactions and implications for modulation of anxiety and depression.”