Although pregnancy isn’t a major concern for most menopausal women, anxiety can be. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common perimenopausal and menopausal symptom. Anxiety is something that everyone experiences during different periods in their life. It is normal to feel anxious, nervous or worried at times, but these are feelings that should not be felt constantly or make one feel overwhelmed or trapped.
What causes anxiety during menopause? Menopausal women are more susceptible to anxiety due to the fact that their hormones are in a constant state of fluctuation as their body prepares to shut down its ability to reproduce. During this time, many women suffer from depression and high stress levels. It is believed that feelings of depression are a result of insufficient estrogen, and anxiety is often a symptom of depression.
In addition, research has found that the hormone progesterone, which also depletes during menopause, has been known to have a calming and relaxing effect on the body. Thus, the lack of hormones are unsettling and allow for emotions that were once overlooked or produced minor anxiety, to be blown out of proportion.
Anxiety can cause emotional and physical symptoms including:
– Trembling or shaking
– Fast heartbeat
– Tight or full feeling in the chest and/or throat
– Profuse sweating, or cold and clammy hands
– Muscle tension and/or soreness
– Constant worry and feeling sad
– Lack of concentration
– Restless sleep
The above symptoms may be felt independently during different times, or many of them can occur suddenly, last for a period of time, and then disappear. This sudden onslaught of anxiety is known as an anxiety attack or panic attack. Women who experience such attacks are likely suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The severity of anxiety women experience will vary, and is usually at its worst during perimenopause. Symptoms of anxiety tend to taper off after menopause is complete. However, despite how anxiety may affect you, it is important to seek treatment if the anxiety you feel is debilitating or interrupting your lifestyle.
The following are 5 ways in which you can help relieve the anxiety you feel:
1. Identify and reduce the stressors in your life – Carefully analyze your life and think about what triggers your anxiety or causes you high stress. Is it your job, your home life, or the people you work with? Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done? Once you identify stress, you need to find ways to alleviate it. This may mean changing jobs, getting help at home, and finding ways to free up more of your time.
2. Take time to enjoy yourself – You need to make time to relax and do things you enjoy. Everyone needs a break. If you don’t relax, your stress with catch up with you.
3. Eat well – Avoid crash diets, skipping meals and eating before bed. These eating programs are sure ways to increase your anxiety level and cause restless sleep. Make sure you stay well hydrated, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and stay clear of high fatty, processed foods. Be good to your body!
4. Exercise – Yoga, Tai Chi, walking, swimming, jogging or playing sports are all excellent ways to increase energy, clear your mind, boost your metabolism, strengthen your body and improve circulation.
5. Seek the advice of your doctor – If you are experiencing physical symptoms that are incapacitating or seriously interfering with your daily and social life, you should seek medical attention. Severe anxiety is a sign that what you are suffering from is a disorder. You may need antidepressants to help you cope with your situation, or you may find that what you are suffering from is not anxiety, but another condition.
Remember, anxiety is not something that should be ignored. Take care of yourself by eating well, relaxing and tell others about the way you feel.