Menopause is a normal and natural biological process in any woman’s life that marks the end of their menstrual cycles. It is diagnosed when you have gone 12 months or more without menstruating. It usually happens between the age of 45 and 55. According to Mayo Clinic, the average age is 51 in the case of US women. One of the most common symptoms of menopause is menopause depression. Women feel there are many changes happening in her body and this leads to some psychological changes as well. In order to cope with these changes, they need to understand why these changes happened and how to deal with them.
In the months or years leading up to menopause, a woman may experience a number of symptoms such as;
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Thinning of hair and eventual hair loss
- Memory loss
- Sleep disorders
- Poor concentration
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Headaches and itching skin among several others
Why does Menopause Cause Depression?
Menopause period is usually a vulnerable time for women as a result of fluctuating hormones in the body, especially estrogen. The body usually tends to take time before adjusting and getting used with the changes in hormonal levels. As a result, the process cause a whole lot of menopausal symptoms as the ones listed above. Depression is usually considered as the worst symptom hence the need to keenly have a look at it.
Menopause Depression Symptoms
Menopause depression can wreak havoc in your life. In the early stages, you may experience such symptoms as poor sleeping patterns or having trouble sleeping, irritability and feeling moody most of the time, feeling unusually tired, poor concentration and memory lapses. However when it becomes serious, women who have never experienced mental health problems sooner start experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. In the case of women that have a history of mental health issues, their symptoms are likely to worsen.
The Effect of Estrogen on Mental Health
Research studies indicate that women are at a higher risk of developing mood disorders and depression as compared to men mainly due to fluctuating estrogen levels that occur during reproductive cycle events especially during menopause. Estrogen is a crucial hormone that is known to offer mood-enhancing benefits. In the event the hormone levels start declining during menopause, it is true that you will start experiencing some mental health issues including depression.
On the other hand, a drop in estrogen levels in the body may lead to hot flashes that may cause sleep disturbance, concentration and memory problems among others. Menopause depression is more than just normal anxiety, occasional mood swings, sadness or low moods. It is considered as a serious mental disorder that can result in more complicated conditions unless the right treatment is sought. Menopause depression may actually be described to be a prolonged state of extreme sadness that can actually last more than 2 weeks, often with no specific cause that can be pointed out. This may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts, a feeling of worthlessness and poor sleeping and eating patterns.
Tips to Overcome Depression During Menopause
Apart from fluctuations in hormones in the body, there are many other factors that may be responsible for mood swings and other mental health problems including depression.
Family loss and grief, medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction or leaving children may seriously trigger depression in menopausal women. It is for this reason that you need to understand what exactly triggers your depression and low mood so as to determine the most effective treatment option. All in all, the following tips can generally help you in overcoming symptoms of depression during menopause regardless of its cause.
Implementing various lifestyle changes such as
- Nurturing your friendships and connections with family and community at large
- Eating diets rich in Vitamins B9 and D
- Regular exercising
- Going slow on alcohol, tobacco and other hard drugs
- Avoiding excessive consumption of caffeine and sugar
- Consuming estrogen-rich foods
In the quest to get rid of depression during pregnancy, the various lifestyle changes should be the first approach in treating and getting rid of menopause depression symptoms because the approach entails the lowest risk. However, it demands the utmost discipline to implement various suggestions. The various lifestyle adjustments may seem to be minor but the truth is that they are crucial in helping you to improve your menopause depression as well as boosting your overall mental and physical health.
In short, you simply need to observe good habits, embracing regular exercising and considering dietary improvements to be able to achieve your goals of getting rid of menopause depression symptoms. Despite that many women wouldn’t prefer exercising, especially when they are depressed, it is advisable to always lead an active lifestyle during this crucial stage in life. Exercises are usually known for their physiological and physical benefits that may go a long way in easing the symptoms of depression thus providing relief from mild forms of depression. To achieve this, you may consider taking part in various sporting activities such as walking, jogging, golfing, swimming and biking relax muscles and relieve yourself from tension and stress.
In the case of improving your diet, you need to consider the foods that have been recommended to help relieve menopause depression symptoms especially the ones that trigger the production of more serotonin, a moon-regulating neurotransmitter and those that elevate estrogen levels in the body. Foods rich in Vitamin D, B9, phytoestrogens and complex carbohydrates are therefore recommended. On the other hand, you need to avoid certain foods and habits like alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and sugar among others.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
Menopause depression treatment
As mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes should be the first approach to menopause depression treatment before seeking medical intervention. In this case, you also need to consider the two options available i.e. alternative medicine and therapy and medication.
1. Alternative medicine
There is a great advancement in the field of alternative medicine meant to help relieve menopause depression symptoms. The most common type of alternative medicine is the use of herbal supplements. Other forms of alternative medication that you may opt for may include guided meditation and yoga, massage and biofeedback among others. Of these alternatives, herbal supplements are recommendable because they are easy to follow, less expensive and above all have the ability to address the root cause of those hormonal imbalances. You may thus consider taking phytoestrogen supplements like soy, black cohosh, hormone-regulating supplements or combining the various approaches mentioned for effective results.
2. Medication and therapy
This is considered as the last option in menopause depression treatment. In many cases, they include therapeutic methods like counseling or other cognitive therapies. The various options must be carried out with the guidance of a professional doctor who helps you in the recovery process and emotion management. Therapeutic methods are usually carried out alongside lifestyle changes and alternative medicine for effective results.
Your professional doctor may as well prescribe recommended medications when there is need. The medications may include antidepressants Hormone Replacement Therapy or mood stabilizers or dietary supplements. However effective these alternatives may seem, they are risky and mostly expensive. It is better to read its reviews like the Ladycare Review to avoid any risks.
Some women are lucky enough to have the symptoms of menopause depression resolving themselves in a matter of time. However, you need to seek medical intervention and ideal treatment before the symptoms become so severe and start to wreak havoc in your life. The best way to go about resolving this problem once and for all is by combining a number of remedies stated above rather than focusing on only one approach.