Menopause is something that has a big impact on women’s bodies. But it also affects their minds, and the psychological effects of menopause are often the most challenging.
Menopause is something that will change a woman’s life for good. It not only leads to the end of fertility and a farewell to menstrual cycles, but in the months that a woman’s body is going through what’s commonly called “The Change”, a number of different side effects may occur. While physical issues like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and headaches are among the most common, the psychological effects of menopause are often just as troublesome and in some cases even harder for women to deal with.
When menopause begins, the ovaries will reduce* the amount of estrogen and progesterone that they produce. These hormones control a wide range of different aspects of one’s body and as a result their sudden reduction* will cause a variety of symptoms to occur. Estrogen in particular dictates a lot of different emotional and psychological effects within the body, and when its levels plummet there are a lot of things that may occur.
- Mood Swings – Hormones like estrogen help to regulate the emotions a woman experiences. This triggers mood swings that can be minor or intense. One moment a woman could be as happy as she’s ever been, the next minute she could be in tears, and the next she could be furious at her spouse. The mood swings occur without warning and often without even having a real trigger.
- Depression – A number of studies have found that menopause can trigger depression in many women. However, surprising research has also revealed that many menopausal women are actually happier than they were before going through ‘The Change’. The specifics of who gets depressed and who doesn’t may be tied to genetic factors that have nothing to do with menopause, but the hormonal changes that occur during this time simply trigger its occurrence.
- Sexual Desire Reduction* – While this is as much a physical symptoms as it is one of the various psychological effects of menopause, it’s still worth mentioning here. Sexual desire is often governed by psychological issues. Women may simply not be interested in sex, may be too depressed to think about it, or may even be afraid of it because of vaginal dryness and discomfort. Whatever the issue, psychological effects may reduce* libido in a big way.
- Irritability – The ‘angry’ side of the mood swing spectrum often stays active a bit longer than other moods. The specific reason for this isn’t exactly known, but still comes down to hormonal changes. Women are often cursed with a shorter fuse when they go through “The Change” than they would normally have.
- Guilt – Finally, guilt is worth mentioning. This is often one of the most difficult psychological effects to deal with because it is triggered by all of the other ones. Guilt over not being interested in sex, guilt over having a short temper, and general feelings of guilt without a real cause are all common in menopausal women. And combined with the other psychological effects, it can be the final part of a vicious emotional cycle that continues revolving throughout menopause.
These psychological effects can be hard to deal with, but by discussing the issues with your partner and with your doctor, it’s often possible to help reduce* their occurrence and improve* your overall mental health.