Going through menopause is a natural part of life, but sometimes the symptoms that accompany it don’t feel so natural. Menopause occurs when the female body experiences a significant drop off in the production of estrogen; naturally, this hormone imbalance causes a lot of side effects. Most people are familiar with symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, and loss of sleep, but those are just the physical symptoms. Hormone imbalances also impact our mental well-being such as causing mood swings and even anxiety and depression.
Menopause and the Brain
Hormones such as estrogen are responsible for regulating a lot more than just your reproductive system. Estrogen also plays a role in regulating the heart and blood vessels, and it impacts your bone health as well as your brain.
Just how does it affect your brain? Well, estrogen helps regulate neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine, thus affecting one’s mood. Some women are also more sensitive to the fluctuation of estrogen in the amygdala, which is also connected to mood regulation. So when your estrogen levels become imbalanced, so can your mood. Some women are more sensitive to these fluctuations than others and may be more prone to experiencing depression or menopause blues.
Depression or Menopause Blues?
Whether you’re experiencing menopause blues or depression, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Many women experience menopause blues with feelings of sadness and fatigue lasting for a day or two; however, women who experience prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, feelings of guilt or worthlessness that persist for more than two weeks may be experiencing depression. Other symptoms of depression include an increase or decrease in appetite, loss of enjoyment in hobbies, and thoughts of hurting yourself. Experiencing mood swings during menopause is normal, but it’s important to pay attention to how frequently you’re feeling down.
If you experience depression during menopause, you’re not alone. While it may not be the most well known symptom, it is one that is experienced by many. Women who have suffered from PMS, experienced postpartum depression in the past, or have a family history of depression may be more prone to developing depression during menopause.
How to Combat Menopause Blues
Whether you’re experiencing a case of menopause blues or think you may be suffering from depression, there are a few things you can do to help. First and foremost, It’s always important to avoid developing unhealthy coping habits. Avoid drinking alcohol or developing unhealthy dependencies.
If you’re experiencing mild symptoms, natural teas or herbal remedies may help alleviate them. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. If hot flashes are keeping you from getting a restful night of sleep, try to keep your bedroom cool at night and to sleep in light, sweat-wicking clothing. Need more tips to battle insomnia? Find them here.
Developing and maintaining healthy exercise routines can also help boost your mood. Take daily walks or practice yoga or tai-chi for low-impact. Many studies have also found that practicing mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and manage depression.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can also help you find your piece of mind. Bioidentical hormones are made from plant-based sources that are biologically identical to what the human body produces. This can be taken in a variety of forms including pellets, gels, or creams. Bringing your body’s hormones back into balance will help alleviate the symptoms of menopause, including menopause blues and mood swings. Schedule your consultation with Renewed Vitality today! We help women throughout Reading, PA and surrounding areas maintain their hormone balance.
If you’re experiencing depression, talk to your doctor. Depression is nothing to take lightly. Consult with your doctor about how you’re feeling and what the best path of treatment is for you.