The Mental Challenges Some Women Face with Menopause
Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when her ovaries generate fewer eggs and less female progesterone and estrogen hormones. The reduced hormone production leads to irregular monthly periods till they stop entirely. This “change of life” occurs in women aged 45–55 years with the average being 52 years. There are instances when menopause occurs early when periods stop at 40 years. There are quite some mental challenges that women face in the advent of menopause.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Apart from the apparent change in the bleeding pattern of a woman, there are other physical and psychological symptoms and signs associated with menopause. The physical signs and symptoms that usually occur include hot flashes that are experienced by almost 60% of all women undergoing this stage. Women also suffer a lot of sweating mostly at night as they sleep, headaches, tiredness, palpitations, bone and joint pain and unusual skin sensations. Other physical signs include incontinence, vaginal dryness and urinary tract infections due to the thinning of bladder and vagina walls.
Psychological Signs and Symptoms
When hormone levels start declining due to menopause, there are various changes that occur in different systems including your brain. During this phase, a disruption of the biochemical activity chain affects the average production of chemicals that regulate mood in a human body. These substances include the endorphins and serotonin. This results in depression, tantrums, anxiety, mood swings and unexplained highs and unexpected lows. This happens because the ovaries fail to match the estrogen production in the body.
At times, the estrogen production overshoots and in other instances, enough is not produced. Every time the hormones dance a little bit, then the brain chemistry has to step in and compensate. At times the change is not significant. Hence, it is hard to notice the symptoms at all. When the difference is dramatic, a vast range of unanticipated behaviors usually come alive. Other psychological signs and symptoms include lack of interest, feeling of doom, dis-association with friends and lack of sex drive. Some women suffer from forgetfulness, loss of confidence and difficulty in sleeping.
During menopause, some women get a clammy feeling or cold flashes. The mood swings could be at times accompanied by sudden tears, irritability, rapid heartbeat bouts, crashing fatigue and disorientation. A woman may suffer from difficulties in concentrating and feelings of mental confusion. An overwhelming depressed state can occur in some women as well as feel worthless at that particular stage.
What to do?
A woman undergoing menopause ought to realize that she is not losing her mind when these changes occur. You might act, think or feel crazy at times, but it is entirely reasonable for anyone going through menopause. There a few things that you can do to create a difference when these signs occur. It is essential to reduce stress in your life, as it has a profound effect on the hormone activity in your body. According to a stress expert based at Harvard University, Alice Domar, Ph.D., the number of women who had taken part in an organized relaxation, 30% of them experienced decreased flashes. This proves that having to relax and unwinding sessions will affect your mood swings in a dramatic way.
Another great suggestion would be stepping back and catching a breath anytime you experience an emotional upset. It is essential to take a few minutes off before acting on the dancing emotions you could be experiencing. This will reduce the number of times you will have to lash out at someone else or do something crazy before the mood swings lapse after a few minutes.
Sleeping for a Happier Menopause
At a time when the hormones are influencing your temper and mood, lack of sleep could make the whole spectacle worse. It is normal for a woman to feel lonely with all the changes she experiences compounded by lack of sleep. You could be wishing to sleep, but the hormones could be dancing throughout the night thereby disrupting your sleeping moment. Despite the lack of sleep due to hormonal changes, there are various steps you could take to help you fall asleep every night. By so doing, you will be able to control some menopause symptoms. You could turn to herbal tea of the valerian root that should be taken 45 minutes before sleep. It induces a broader and more relaxing sleep. The same effect could be gained by making chamomile tea or passion flower.
Caffeine or hot and spicy foods ought to be avoided especially before bedtime. They have higher chances of increasing flashes during sleep time and keeping you awake for longer. There is also herb therapy like cohosh plants and other like primrose and soy some say works well. Relaxation has a positive effect on your sleep. It is, therefore, advisable to engage in a relaxing activity before retiring to bed for a quality rest.