Does Menopause Cause Anxiety? Here is how to Relieve Anxiety During Menopause

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In the modern world, stress is a part of life. With deadlines, social pressures, and a 24-hour news cycle, life can be stressful even for those who aren’t under intense pressure. This can lead to feelings of anxiety. But does menopause cause anxiety, and how to relieve menopausal anxiety.

Studies have shown that there is a higher risk of experiencing anxiety as you transition through menopause as compared to before menopause due to changes in hormone levels that may influence neurotransmitters in the brain. Moreover, reduced estrogen production can cause sleep problems that can lead to anxiety and mood changes.

Insomnia or hot flashes during sleep can be a source of irritability and anxiety. This is not only for menopausal women but for everyone else.

Are you feeling anxious lately? If so, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 80 percent of women experience some level of anxiety throughout their lives. These anxiety symptoms come and go at different stages of their lives. The reasons for this are many and varied.

One of the ways anxieties manifest itself is in the form of physical symptoms. For example, hormonal changes that occur during the transition to menopause can cause hot flashes and a dip in the sex drive of some women.

But what about the anxieties that don’t show up as physical symptoms? What about the anxieties that don’t go away when you take a pill, or when you move to a new city?

The truth is, many of these anxieties aren’t really rooted in anything specific at all. In fact, they’re caused by a combination of social, hormonal, and environmental factors. Here’s what causes anxiety in menopause, and how you can start feeling better as a result.

What causes anxiety in menopause?

Changes in hormone levels may influence neurotransmitters in the brain, the drop in estrogen levels can also lead to hot flashes that disturb sleep, which can then lead to anxiety and mood swings.

Hormones and the brain: Estrogen is important for the growth and development of the brain in both men and women. It also plays a key role in many functions, including memory and mood.

Low estrogen levels during menopause can lead to cognitive decline, memory loss, and an increased risk of dementia. Lower estrogen levels may be one of the reasons why many women experience anxiety and mood swings in this time as well as why some experience insomnia.

The brain is also highly sensitive to fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels. When estrogen levels drop, another neurotransmitter called serotonin is also affected. Lack of serotonin is linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Hormones and the brain

Estrogen is important for the growth and development of the brain in both men and women. It also plays a key role in many functions, including memory and mood.

Low estrogen levels during menopause can lead to cognitive decline, memory loss, and an increased risk of dementia. Lower estrogen levels may be one of the reasons why many women experience anxiety and mood swings in this time as well as why some experience insomnia.

The brain is also highly sensitive to fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels. When estrogen levels drop, another neurotransmitter called serotonin is also affected. Lack of serotonin is linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Social pressures

Women tend to get anxious about many things during menopause, from their health to their sex lives. Women are socialized to feel anxiety about these things, too, so it’s a two-way street. Women can also exacerbate their anxieties by worrying about them, which won’t help!

Women are also socialized to think about their health in a much different way than men. We’re taught to avoid lifting heavy objects, to watch what we eat and drink, to see a doctor if we’re sick, and to see a therapist if we have any issues with our mental health.

These are sometimes things that we have to do to stay healthy and alive, but they can be barriers to overall health and well-being, which can worry and stress out women.

Environmental factors

As you get older, you’re more likely to experience falls due to poor balance and vision problems due to macular degeneration, which can all cause anxiety.

Changes in your social life and your work life can also contribute to anxiety. You might have a friend who’s sick and you don’t want to pick up their slack at work, or you might have to start working full-time and feel overwhelmed.

These are normal anxieties that come from the changes that come with life. You shouldn’t avoid these anxieties or try to “resist” them—you can just learn how to better cope with them so that you don’t get so overwhelmed.

Does Menopause Cause Anxiety?

Changes in hormone levels may influence neurotransmitters in the brain, the drop in estrogen levels can also lead to hot flashes that disturb sleep, which can then lead to anxiety and mood swings.

Hormones and the brain: Estrogen is important for the growth and development of the brain in both men and women. It also plays a key role in many functions, including memory and mood.

Low estrogen levels during menopause can lead to cognitive decline, memory loss, and an increased risk of dementia. Lower estrogen levels may be one of the reasons why many women experience anxiety and mood swings in this time as well as why some experience insomnia.

The brain is also highly sensitive to fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels. When estrogen levels drop, another neurotransmitter called serotonin is also affected. Lack of serotonin is linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Let’s talk about medication

How to treat anxiety during menopause: Why anxiety in menopause?

For anxiety during menopause, the normal anxiety treatment can work to markedly reduce anxiety and improve the quality of life. The common treatment methods for anxiety include antidepressants, psychotherapy including CBT, and supplements for a better mood.

Moreover, for challenges with hormones, you can treat that by using hormones and hormone therapy. This helps regulate your estrogen level and thus reduce anxiety.

Medications prescribed for other conditions often have a role in people who experience severe anxiety. For example, people with depression often take medication to regulate their mood. If a person with anxiety has also been diagnosed with clinical depression, medication for both conditions may be recommended.

There are also medications available that specifically treat anxiety, like benzodiazepines (like Xanax and Ativan), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs (like Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin) and/or other antidepressants (like Celexa, Lexapro, and Zoloft).

Does anxiety from menopause go away?

Yes, most women find that their level of anxiety reduces once menopause passes. If you’re feeling more relaxed, that’s awesome! But the reality is that anxiety is rarely “just in your head.” It’s an emotion that can be traced back to the way you feel about yourself and the world around you.

It’s important to remember that anxiety is a condition that affects your brain chemistry as much as it does your behavior. This means that some aspects of it, like how you feel about yourself and how you perceive the world, are affected by external factors, like your hormones, your social life, your level of stress, and your sleep habits.

Can menopause cause severe anxiety?

If you’re experiencing severe anxiety and mood swings during menopause, it could be due to a combination of factors. It’s important to rule out other reasons for your anxiety before you focus on hormone changes and menopause.

The main cause of anxiety during menopause is hormonal changes. This can cause serious changes in the way you feel and live. Estrogen is a very important hormone in women. It influences the way your body looks, how you feel and how you control your emotions/ pain and others.

The other cause is sleep problems. Sleep problems are associated with reduced estrogen production and worries about your body and image. The worries about body image can lead to anxiety disorders too. Decreases in estrogen levels can change your body image and this can lead to anxiety.

Other people are worried about infertility and aging which can cause mood swings and anxiety. Moreover, it can lead to stress which brings a cycle of anxiety and stress.

Severe anxiety during menopause could be related to your social life, your level of stress, your worries about your body image and infertility, your sleep habits, or your diet.

Does low estrogen cause anxiety?

Yes, a Lack of estrogen may increase the chance in the development of anxiety and mood changes.

Estrogen is a popular culprit when it comes to menopause-related mental health issues, but what exactly is estrogen?

Estrogen is a chemical produced by both men and women to help maintain reproductive health, including stimulating libido and improving mood. It’s also found in a number of foods, like soy and meat.

But estrogen is not just present in women during puberty; it’s also present in men, and it’s present in both men and women throughout life.

There are a number of reasons why low estrogen may cause anxiety, though.

Can taking progesterone help with anxiety?

Progesterone acts as a natural antidepressant, enhances mood and relieves anxiety by stimulating the brain’s GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is primarily responsible for regulating feelings of anxiety.

Low GABA levels are linked to anxiety, while high levels are linked to feelings of calm. Interestingly, progesterone also acts as a precursor to estrogen, which increases estrogen receptors, increasing feelings of calm even further.

This means that, when taken during perimenopause and menopause, progesterone helps with anxiety by boosting GABA, and by increasing estrogen receptors, giving you a sense of calm.

Does lack of progesterone cause anxiety?

This is related to the above, as it may have caused by low progesterone levels. Low GABA is linked to anxiety as well as feeling anhedonic, which refers to a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. When you have anhedonia, you may feel unmotivated and have trouble enjoying other aspects of life.

Anhedonia is almost like a “low energy” feeling, like you don’t have the “up” to put into other parts of your life. You may feel irritable, lethargic, depressed, and have trouble concentrating.

What does menopause anxiety feel like?

Feelings of anticipation, dread, or fear. Anxiety can be so intense that you experience a rush of emotions, such as excitement, dread, or anxiety. You may also feel an overwhelming sense of relief when the symptoms subside.

Can anxiety be a chemical imbalance?

Yes. Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. This can lead to changes in your serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels, which are all linked to mood.

Studies have also shown that taking progesterone can help balance these levels by increasing serotonin production and by helping with anxiety.

Bottom line

It’s important to remember that anxiety is a condition that affects your brain chemistry as much as it does your behavior. This means that some aspects of it, like how you feel about yourself and how you perceive the world, are affected by external factors, like your hormones, your social life, your level of stress, and your sleep habits.

It’s also important to remember that anxiety is treatable. If you’re having a hard time coping with your anxiety, or if it’s causing you significant distress, it’s time to reach out for help. Treatment options like medication, psychotherapy, or support groups can make a big difference in your ability to cope.

FAQs

Is anxiety common in perimenopause?

Yes. This is a relatively new area of research, and there isn’t a lot of data yet. However, it is known that anxiety often goes hand in hand with mood disorders, such as depression, and is often a precursor to those.

What does perimenopause anxiety feel like?

Sad, or sluggish, or irritable. Some women experience a drop in libido (sex drive) and a decrease in energy and endurance during perimenopause. This change in hormones can make you feel sad, lethargic, or irritable.

Does perimenopause anxiety go away?

Yes. Symptoms may go away when perimenopause ends. However, postmenopausal women (women over 50) are the most likely to experience anxiety. This is because you get a hormonal balance when the period is over thus improving mood and reducing stress.