Menopause, anxiety and the importance of self care

 

 

The menopause can be a tricky time for most women. The demands of modern day living on a woman in her 40’s and 50’s can be pretty full on. These can include managing a busy work schedule, looking after or managing elderly or infirm parents, dealing with teenage kids and running a home. They may be going through significant life changes like a divorce or bereavement as well.

All whilst struggling with a group of familiar menopause symptoms:

Hot flushes

Disrupted sleep patterns

Urinary incontinence

Irregular bleeding (perimenopause)

Bladder infections

Body aches

Mood swings and anxiety

Hair loss

Increased facial hair

Headaches

Poor digestion

Falling and fluctuating hormone levels cause these symptoms.

During your fertile years your ovaries make oestrogen and progesterone.  As you move toward the menopause, the ovaries start making less and less and eventually stop making hormones altogether.  The adrenal glands take over but are making oestrogen and progesterone in much smaller amounts.

Most women expect to suffer the physical symptoms of menopause but many are surprised when they begin to feel mental and emotional symptoms too. I have just read an article in which a former magazine editor said that her anxiety shot through the roof at this time. A symptom that she was really not planning on She said she thought she was going mad and in the end resorted to HRT.

GABA is a neurotransmitter, which helps us to feel relaxed and calm, and plays a big role in stress and anxiety.  GABA interacts with the hormone progesterone. Progesterone stimulates the GABA receptors in the brain, making GABA more potent. When progesterone decreases, the effect of GABA diminishes, leaving us feeling more anxious, more stressed and more irritable.

So if your hormones are actively making you feel this way, coupled with the demands that this time of life is putting on you, it makes for a double whammy. You produce more cortisol, less progesterone and less GABA, resulting in a vicious cycle of stress symptoms.

To try and combat this, it is vitally important to try and keep our stress levels in check. To do this, try and make time for yourself on a regular or daily basis. I find that men are very good at this but women much less so. My message is take time out, without the guilt. Give your body time to rest and time to recover from the demands that are put on you.

This could include:

Having a nap

Taking time out to read a good book

Taking a relaxing bath

Having a regular massage

Doing some yoga

Meditate

Doing some exercise

Make time for your passion or particular hobby

By keeping your stress levels in check, your adrenals will work more efficiently, resulting in the production of the correct levels of cortisol, oestrogen and progesterone. Leading to a lessening of the emotional and physical symptoms of the menopause.

I have seen women in my practise who ignore or put up with their menopause symptoms, carrying on regardless, pedal to the metal, not taking time out for themselves. Only booking in for an appointment when more serious symptoms appear, such as chronic fatigue or exhaustion, Hypothyroidism or even Depression. Of course Homeopathy can work really well in treating these conditions as well as treating the mental and physical symptoms of the menopause. I usually start by giving a constitutional remedy, as well as a menopause support remedy or it could be that one remedy covers all symptoms. I often prescribe Homeobotanical, organ specific, combination herbs along side the homeopathic remedies for extra support, and in some cases Bach flower remedies, which work more on a mental and emotional level. In other words what ever is in my therapeutic toolbox to return my patients to optimum health and emotional wellbeing.

If you think you might need help in any of these areas then please get in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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