Often referred to as the “change of life,” menopause is a normal part of a woman’s aging process. However, the driving force behind menopause is a decline in the production of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Though these hormones play a vital role in managing your menstrual cycle, that’s not all that they do. Estrogen, for example, helps maintain bone health and keeps cholesterol numbers in check. It also affects brain health and mood.
You may know all about how menopause affects your physical health. Women have no problem talking about their hot flashes and night sweats. But you may not know how menopause affects your mental and emotional health, causing depression and anxiety and zapping your energy levels.
At The Riegel Center in Plano, Texas, our hormone expert, Dr. Christopher Riegel, understands how menopause affects every aspect of your health, including your mental well-being.
Here, we want to talk about menopause and mental health and how we can help.
Hormones and mental health
Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones that dictate your menstrual cycle. Before you reach menopause, the production of these hormones starts to fluctuate. These hormonal changes indicate you’re entering the transitional phase to menopause — perimenopause.
The hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause cause many of the same symptoms you associate with menopause, except you still have your period (though it may be irregular). These chaotic fluctuations in hormone levels not only cause hot flashes and night sweats, but they also affect mood and behavior.
Your irritability, moodiness, and depression are the results of changes in your hormone levels.
But it may not just be your hormones affecting your mental health. Menopause is a major life stage, marking the end of your fertility, which can affect your sense of self. You may also worry about growing older or feel unsettled as a new empty-nester.
Combining intense hormonal fluctuations with these stressful life events increases your chances of having mental health issues, especially depression.
Menopause and mood
Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect anyone at any age. However, minor depression is also a symptom women experience during menopause.
You may be more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression if you have a history of mental health issues. Stress, lack of high-quality sleep, and not having a strong support system during this time in your life may also put you at risk.
Improving mental health during menopause
There’s no need to suffer through your menopause symptoms, including those that affect your mental health. At The Riegel Center, we specialize in easing symptoms brought on by the hormonal changes that occur with aging with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
However, instead of using synthetic pre-packaged hormones, we use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). With BHRT, we customize your treatment to match your unique hormonal needs.
Providing you with the right mix of hormones in the right amounts gives your body exactly what it needs so you can feel more like your usual self. In addition to lifting your mood and energy, our BHRT eases night sweats and hot flashes and improves a low libido.
BHRT for women may also improve bone health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s no secret that hormones affect how you feel. But the chaotic hormonal changes during menopause may have a significant effect on your mental well-being.
Don’t let your mood changes keep you from living your life. Let us help you restore your zest for life. Call our office or request an appointment online today.