Mental Health and Menopause

Most people are familiar with the signature signs of menopause, including hot flashes, nighttime sweating, and unwanted weight gain, but did you know the same hormone imbalances that trigger those symptoms can also affect your mood and your mind?

Here at the Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia, we work together with you to develop a treatment plan that will manage the challenges of menopause — even the mental and emotional ones.

Dr. Melissa Delgado and our team of experienced nurse practitioners, Wendy Roberts, CANP and Amanda McClay, CNM, WHNP-BC, specialize in women’s health and take a holistic, multidisciplinary approach when it comes to easing your menopause symptoms. 

Here’s how menopause might affect your mental health and what you (and we) can do about it.

How hormones affect your mind

Starting with perimenopause (the precursor to full-fledged menopause), your body goes through dramatic changes. Leading the charge is the reduction of estrogen, the main female hormone responsible for the health and growth of your reproductive organs. 

As estrogen wanes, and other hormones like progesterone and testosterone fluctuate, you go through significant physical changes, including vaginal dryness, loss of elasticity in your vaginal skin, and decreased blood flow to the region. But those hormone shifts can also affect your mood and mind, and you may notice:

Although most of these mental issues are relatively minor and temporary, many women experience more severe forms of mental illness during menopause. Women at this stage of life are up to four times more likely than others to have a major episode of depression, and also more likely to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. 

Realizing that these symptoms and conditions are possible with menopause can help you and those you live and work with both cope with them more effectively and help you feel better about seeking medical help. 

But hormones aren’t the only culprit in the mental aspect of menopause; your state of mind and outlook on life have a lot to do with it, too.

The impact of midlife emotions

In addition to the hormone factor, many women who are journeying through menopause are also dealing with other life events that exacerbate their menopausal symptoms.

Women typically begin menopause around age 51, although it can start anywhere in your 40s or 50s. It’s common for women in this stage of life to be dealing with a new empty nest, the care or loss of elderly parents, stress about getting older, and even isolation if the physical and emotional symptoms are overwhelming.

How you can help yourself mentally manage menopause

You don’t have to let the mental side of menopause take over. There’s a lot you can do to keep yourself positive, focused, and happy despite the changes you’re going through. Here are a few strategies:

These simple lifestyle changes can help you keep your mental health in check during menopause, but if you need next level help, don’t hesitate to call us.

Next-level mental health help during menopause

Every woman goes through menopause differently, and not all of them experience mental challenges. If you do, we can help in multiple ways.

If your emotional issues stem from a hormonal imbalance, we prescribe a customized hormone replacement therapy treatment to get you back in sync. This is a complex process that takes an experienced professional like Dr. Delgado to identify the right dosage and delivery system. Once your hormones are back on track, many of your mental challenges should fade away.

For emotional disorders directly related to physical changes such as lower sex drive and vaginal dryness, we may recommend our MonaLisa Touch® laser vaginal revitalization treatment. By restoring the elasticity and blood flow to your vagina, you can regain the joy of sex and an improved mental outlook.

We also offer holistic therapies that care for your body and mind together, including sex therapy, acupuncture and massage, essentail oil therapy, nutritional counseling, and physical therapy. 

Whatever menopause symptoms you’re experiencing, whether physical, mental, or both, we can help. Book an appointment online, or call us here in Vienna, Virginia at 571-261-8069 to find out more about your treatment options. We can see you here in our offices or via a telemedicine appointment.

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