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Anxiety is a common symptom of menopause

It's a feeling of being continually worried or tense.


When is anxiety more than just worry?

Anxiety is a constant sense of worry over normal everyday events that are out of proportion to the degree of concern they merit.

It’s a difficult feeling to shake off, leaving you feeling irritable and constantly on edge.

For some, it can lead to sleeplessness and other symptoms of peri/menopause such as headaches and memory lapses.

The link between anxiety and menopause

Often women suffer from anxiety earlier than the onset of other symptoms of peri/menopause such as hot flushes, so they don’t associate it with hormonal shifts.

When female hormones begin to fluctuate in the early stages of perimenopause, estrogen levels can peak and trough but ultimately they start to diminish.

Estrogen plays an important part in managing the chemical activities in our brain.

When there are optimum levels of estrogen in the body you feel great, but when they are low your mood can plummet and anxiety can set in.

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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.