womenTALK: Blog

Tuesday, Aug 09th 2011

Menopause and Anxiety: What's The Connection?

authored by Sheryl Kraft

After writing about menopause and hot flashes and stress/anxiety being a possible culprit, I started wondering about the link between menopause and anxiety. How are the two linked? Are women feeling anxious about menopause? Or, is it the other way around: does menopause cause anxiety? Is it a by-product of shifting, dipping, all-over-the-chart hormones?

And how can we control our anxiety? As someone who has had her fair share of anxiety over the years (especially around menopause), I decided to ask an expert some key questions about it all. Is it a disorder, I wondered, or a normal life passage?

For some answers, I turned to psychiatrist and UCLA anxiety expert Jason Eric Schiffman, a graduate of the MD/MBA program at the University of Southern California. Dr. Schiffman is affiliated with the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Program where he has helped to develop the web-based, self-directed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program for Anxiety Disorders found on Anxiety.org.

Q. I'm well aware that anxiety can occur at any time during a woman's life, but it does seem that panic attacks become more prevalent during times of hormonal upheavals: during adolescence, pregnancy and perimenopause and then menopause. In my experience, I've seen teens and women who never before suffered anxiety be suddenly hit with an increased incidence. Is it merely coincidence or is it indeed hormonally related?

A. Yes, there is absolutely a connection between hormonal changes and psychiatric symptoms in general, and women undergoing specific hormonal changes have increased risk for particular psychiatric disorders. With respect to anxiety, women in the perimenopausal period are more likely to experience panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms than other women of the same age who are either pre- or postmenopausal. The postpartum period is another time when women appear to be more vulnerable to psychiatric symptoms, particularly depression, which is often associated with anxiety.
 
Q. If increased anxiety is hormonally related, does that mean it will pass once a woman gets through menopause? Does the anxiety need to be treated?

A. Once menopause passes, many women find that their level of anxiety decreases. However, in addition to hormonal changes, there are often many other factors that contribute to the development of anxiety during menopause. For example, women who suffer more physical symptoms, experience negative life events or who are less functional are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder during menopause than women without these additional stressors. So, it is important not to ignore other possible causes of anxiety—just because a woman may be experiencing menopause. Treatment of anxiety is always warranted if there is significant distress or functional impairment.
 
Q. Once a woman experiences an anxiety attack does this mean she will be more likely to experience them more often?
 
A. Someone who has experienced panic attacks in the past is more likely to experience them in the future than someone who has never had one. That being said, panic attacks respond very well to a type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); someone who gets into treatment may have very few or no panic attacks in the future.
 
Q. Oftentimes women may be able to feel an anxiety attack coming on. Do you have any advice as to how to recognize the start of one and how to stop it in its tracks before it progresses further?
 
A. There are very effective techniques for treating panic attacks but they need to be tailored to each individual. There are now self-help versions of CBT available online which walk someone through the creation of a personalized treatment plan. One that I have worked with that is based upon the approach we use in the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic can be found at www.Anxiety.org.

Q. Anxiety can manifest itself in many forms: sleeplessness or frequent waking during the night, nervous energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, even depression. What do you suggest for a woman who is feeling any one or a combination of these things? Are there different therapies for different types of anxiety and, if so, what are they (from a behavioral, medical and/or psychopharmacological and/or nutritional viewpoint)?

A. It is important that menopausal women identify the symptoms of anxiety they're experiencing so they find the best ways to allay them. As I mentioned, CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. There are also medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist. These are often used in conjunction with CBT. Practical things you can do to help reduce your anxiety include reducing or eliminating caffeine, exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and setting aside time twice a day to do relaxation exercises.
 
More reading:
8 Ways to Deal With Hot Flashes in the Heat (Or Is-It-Hot-In-Here-or-Is-It-Just-Summer?)
Natural Approaches for Easing Anxiety
An Overview of Menopause

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Comments

Jun 26, 2015 07:Jun 7 | Karen Howard-Tripp said

Menopause and Anxiety

Hi Wow it is so nice to hear that I am not alone! I am 53 and live in South Africa and have been suffering from anxiety off and on and the for 2 years I never had any anxiety felt normal. Since April this year I don't feel like myself have a lot of anxiety and separation anxiety little concentration and focus and no drive to get up and go and very debilitating both at work and home. Not like me at all. I was desperate - wanted to get my old self back. I am currently seeing a psychiatrist who has tried and is trying to find a tablet to help me cope better which I hope happens soon so I can feel at least I can function normally and everything not being done in an anxious state - it drive me crazy. I will share if I find a tablet which can help anyone else - Does anyone else take meds which helps?

Jun 13, 2015 17:Jun 5 | Name said

Menopause anxiety

Thank you to all the women who have posted. I have mild anxiety compared to many others who have shared their thoughts. It comes at stressful times, but the last 2 years have been more frequent. I am 62, and thought I was finished with all the physical menopausal symptoms, but now along with the anxious, worrisome, thoughts, I have begun to experience occasional hot flashes again after at least 4 years of freedom from them.
I use mind over matter and try to turn my thoughts poitive, as their is quite a a lot for me to be positive about.....good job, (I' m a teacher) good husband, good health and 3 thriving adult sons. That said, the feeling of depression can be pervasive at times. Leading to a mildly upset in my stomach. The Good news is I eat healthy food and walk just about everyday.
I wish I could shack the feeling though....how comforting to hear I am not alone and the symptoms are acknowledged. There are many good suggestions here and this has made me think to get some help. I have kept it all to myself, feeling embarrassed to seek help.

Jun 04, 2015 17:Jun 5 | Yvette said

I feel a huge sense of relief

I feel a huge sense of relief from reading all these posts!!! I am 48 and had a hysterectomy last year after years of suffering with my periods and trying every medical intervention known to man. I have told my doctor on several occasions that I feel like my life has been stolen from me!!! I single-parented 3 teenage girls, worked 2 jobs and still had tons of energy. Now, I can barely get out of bed, form rational thoughts and my anxiety is debilitating. I can't even fathom that I used to run half marathons...I have gained so much weight; it even feels like my body doesn't belong to me. I don't know how to be this "new me". It's hard to wrap my head around what happened to me but after reading these posts I see that I am not alone and for that I am very thankful and so very relieved (cause I thought I was going crazy!!)

Jun 02, 2015 16:Jun 4 | said

Menopause and anxiety

Wow, do I need this website! I am in my late 50's and going through menopause. I really wondered it I had a fatal disease at first since I felt so out of it and horrible. Brain fog occurs daily and I have also have lost some of my hearing. I am thinking it is due to the loss of hormones. Is anyone familiar with this? Just started HRT and feel more "leveled out" but definitely not like myself. My husband has commented on my razor-like tongue and blunt opinions. I thought all this time I was doing pretty good!

Jun 01, 2015 17:Jun 5 | said

Early menopause and anxiety

I am 41 years old and went through the menopause when I was 24 years old. I experienced all the usual symptoms of hot flushes, loss of libido etc..
The main symptom that has seemed to take a hold of my life for the past 17 years is a constant feeling of anxiety. My lack of self confidence has deteriorated dramatically and I continually worry about how other people may see or judge me. As a result of this, I put high pressures on myself both at work and at home. I also find social situations incredibly difficult. My family ( husband and two young children ) are incredibly supportive, however, my mood swings are getting us all down. One minute everything is fine ( often when I am in control of a situation ) but then the next minute I find myself getting emotional or frustrated at things which are not worthy of getting upset about.
I have slowly lost confidence in my ability to do my job to what I believe is to be the expected standard. As a result, I have changed my role to ease the pressure on myself, but still I find myself constantly analysing what other people think about me.
I have been taking HRT for a while and have been on a CBT course but neither seem to have made much of a difference. I just want to know if anyone else has suffered similar symptoms for such a long time and if anyone can suggest anything to help eradicate these feelings of emotional anxiety. Thank you for reading xx

Jun 25, 2015 09:Jun 9 | Patti said

Anxiety and Menopause

When I was reading your comment it was almost like I wrote it.i was very much a perfectionist and alittle ocd have learned some of that has a play in the anxiety.it makes my brain react differently to stuff I have no control over.i have found that Magnesium(250mg)being a natural muscle relaxer takes all the anxiety away.I eat healthy and don't take medication I always look for a natural solution.I have studied the chemistry of food for sometime now due to the fact of being a Cancer survivor and get not take HRT.I hope some of this will help you !

Jun 12, 2015 08:Jun 8 | said

I have recently started

I have recently started experiencing tremendous anxiety. I have joined a local buddhist chanting group (although I am not a buddhist). I find that faith, chanting and support of peers has helped me atleast deal with some of the issue

Jun 09, 2015 07:Jun 7 | Janet said

Anxiety

Wow!!! As I was reading your post I realized right away that what you have written is exactly how I have been feeling. I am 52 and have recently gone through the menopause. After doing some research I connected my anxiety to the menopause. Like you it has affected my work, interactions with others and my general sense of who I am. Thanks for sharing... it is good to know I am not alone.

May 27, 2015 10:May 10 | said

anxiety

I have been reading through everyone's comments with interest and with some mixed emotions. I too began experiencing problems with anxiety around the age of 43. At the time, I attributed the problem to stress and a change in jobs. However, after returning to my previous job, the anxiety continued and is lurking there all the time. Like many of you, the anxiety feels like a toad squatting at the base of my brain. It is free floating and irrational. As a mental health professional who works with clients who deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, I am well versed in the use of CBT and highly recommend and use it with my clients. However, I have a harder time using it for myself. Physician, heal thyself, right? I am capable of dismissing the irrational beliefs that accompany the anxiety and get momentary relief from relaxation techniques and strenuous exercise. I have recently been very frustrated to find, however, that exercise and a healthy diet are no longer working for me. In January, I got an upper respiratory infection. My doctor put me on a round of steroids. Between the steroids and lack of activity during that month, I gained between 10 and 15 pounds, and now, I can't get it off. As if it is not bad enough to deal with constant anxiety, feeling fat and bloated at the same time does little to help the situation. I have also been to my Internist and my OB/GYN and continue to experience frustration with their insistence on antidepressants as an answer for everything. I have tried Effexor and Lexapro. I have also tried Xanex and Ativan. Nothing worked to address the anxiety. While I experience some downshift in mood two weeks prior to my period, I generally do not feel like depression is the problem. I feel like my doctors are frustrated with my reluctance to follow their advice and "swallow the pill," and I am equally frustrated with them. I have to admit that every time I see a commercial for Viagra, I want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. It does seem that as long as women have been dealing with this issue that better strides could have been made toward helping us rather than having most of us feel like we are crazy.

May 24, 2015 17:May 5 | Teacher said

Menopause humbug

Stumbled across this site and relieved that I'm not alone in suffering going through the menopause. I'm a strong independent woman, good job, great partner however today I've felt that bursting into tears, I'm very touchy too. Totally bonkers, I've a lot to be thankful for and hate feeling this way as I'm normally an upbeat person. The hot flushes torment me, no sweats just my own little furnace I'm approaching 50 with hypothyroidism which is under control however this menopause malarkey is no fun. Can anyone recommend alternative treatments other than antidepressants as recommended by my doctor for the flushes. Surely there must be something out there. Good luck everyone. I feel a little better just having this rant!

Jun 10, 2015 12:Jun 12 | stephanie Krell said

Hot Flashes

My dr put me on the combi-patch whitch is estrogen and progestrogen and my hotflashes are gone. I feel the same as you are feeling and I am 47. I started Lexipro for the anxiety and it has helped me for several months. Good luck to you and you are not alone.

Jun 07, 2015 17:Jun 5 | Geraldine said

Sage Tablets

My sister recommended me to take these as she said she was having regular hot flushes but since started on these is down to two a day, I just started on them yesterday so hoping to see an improvement in a couple of weeks - anything is worth a try.

Jun 07, 2015 17:Jun 5 | Geraldine said

Sage Tablets

My sister recommended me to take these as she said she was having regular hot flushes but since started on these is down to two a day, I just started on them yesterday so hoping to see an improvement in a couple of weeks - anything is worth a try.

Jun 06, 2015 22:Jun 10 | laurie stewart said

menopause with panic attacks and depression

I am so happy to have googled this site. i have been experiencing panic attacks social anxiety separation anxiety and depression for the past 5 months. i stopped driving my car due to panic attacks.i feel like my life has gone totally crazy. i go as long as 4 months without a period, then lo and behold here it comes again, right when i thought "yes i made it through the transition and now ill return to normal" i dont really have hot flashes anymore, just once in awhile. i had panic attacks when i was pregnant 17 years ago, but through time and meds. i got through it. i havent had to take mesd for about 4 years but now i know i need to address this. i got married 2 years ago and i know my husband must think i flipped. thank God for all of you. i dont feel so all alone.
i also dont have any energy and a short fuse these days. i feel like somebody moved into my body and moved me out.

Jun 06, 2015 22:Jun 10 | laurie stewart said

menopause with panic attacks and depression

I am so happy to have googled this site. i have been experiencing panic attacks social anxiety separation anxiety and depression for the past 5 months. i stopped driving my car due to panic attacks.i feel like my life has gone totally crazy. i go as long as 4 months without a period, then lo and behold here it comes again, right when i thought "yes i made it through the transition and now ill return to normal" i dont really have hot flashes anymore, just once in awhile. i had panic attacks when i was pregnant 17 years ago, but through time and meds. i got through it. i havent had to take mesd for about 4 years but now i know i need to address this. i got married 2 years ago and i know my husband must think i flipped. thank God for all of you. i dont feel so all alone.
i also dont have any energy and a short fuse these days. i feel like somebody moved into my body and moved me out.

May 23, 2015 17:May 5 | said

menopause

I have been suffering with hot flashes for 10 years. The last couple years have been the worst. Sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, fatigue. I can't take it anymore but guess what I have to there's no escape. I'll be 58 this year. The hot flashes started way before my periods ended. I wonder if there's any end in sight. I'm sorry so many of you are experiencing these miseries but I'm glad to know it's not just all in my mind. I'm not going crazy. I just feel like I am because of hormones.

May 22, 2015 20:May 8 | Janie said

Anxiety/Menopause

Glad to know that I'm not alone. My hot flashes seem to go hand in hand with my anxiety; stress points will activate it as well. Sometimes it makes me light headed to the point I feel like laying down.

Staying positive because I know that my body is doing what it supposed to do.

Bless you all.

Jun 01, 2015 15:Jun 3 | sds said

anxiety

Glad also to know that I am not alone in this.

May 19, 2015 18:May 6 | Mazlinmagoo said

Menopause

Hi, fellow ladies, it's so ridiculous to be experiencing this anxiety! We were told at school about periods etc but nothing can make you feel normal till you read this!!!! I'm just 50, slight but not too bad hit sweats but I can't control my feelings of anxiety which come on from dreams to weakening early in the mornings . I've narrowed it down to things I can't control - I'm not worried or anxious about my own doings - just when I'm waiting other people's decisions - so glad to read this and know I'm not alone . Not seeking medical health- "safety in numbers" will see me through this hopefully

May 15, 2015 09:May 9 | EALM said

Never believed it

I am 50 plus and an RN. I never truly believed in "the change." That is until now! I have "changed" into Mrs. Hyde. I have become increasingly irritable and realize that I am experiencing a true depression. I have not had symptoms like this for years, since my early 20's. I believed I never would experience PMS again. This is PMS INTENSIFIED X 1000. I have an underlying current of anxiety. I feel electrified and in a constant state of agitation. I am a RAW NERVE, my skin is crawling. I vacillate between aggression, anxiety, and SIGNIFICANT depression. At times I feel like I could burst into tears, and I HAVE NEVER BEEN ONE TO ALLOW MYSELF TO CRY. I truly feel nuts, and to my family, friends,coworkers and neighbors, I think that I appear the same way-NUTS. I don't really care or I care very little about what some people think, but I don't want to be miserable myself and make others around me miserable. I have become very outspoken and brash and do not want to alienate everyone. At the same time, I think that being a people pleaser this has allowed me to say some things that should be said-when I have never permitted this from myself in the past. I need to find some way to constructively manage my symptoms, and as much as I resisted and refused to take psych meds for PMS symptoms, I am almost willing to give them a shot now, though it appears to be controversial about how effective or appropriate they are for menopausal symptoms. I think talking to someone may be immensely helpful, but I truly do not have the money or time for this type of intervention. I think this is why so many of us are willing to try medication. I need some peace of mind and to feel in control of my life again. I was so depressed last week, I felt like walking off of my job-WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY NOT AN OPTION, but this made me realize how devastating this period in our lives can be to some women if they cannot find a way to manage. I think the importance of addressing these symptoms can be underestimated! If anyone has found some techniques to manage the symptoms, I am open to hearing about it. I have been referring to myself as the menopausal maniac. Thanks Maureen for your input, I may consider some medication while other medications take the time to "work". Thanks to the rest of the post for being so candid about what you are going through, it does help to know that it is not just me going through this in this way or a similar way. I do exercise regularly, but recently have barely been able to crawl to my equipment, i have been doing very abbreviated workouts, it is all I am up for. I do not have a good diet. I know I need to make some gradual changes in a lot of things to help improve symptoms. It is hard when you do not have the mental fortitude to do so. Unfortunately I have been craving white pastas, cheese, fatty food, sugar, or the white stuff that all of us should avoid. I am also a coffee drinker, which given my symptoms, I know it has to go or at least be minimized. so these are the things that I need to find the strength to change, but I think it is only a small answer to big problem.

Jun 03, 2015 15:Jun 3 | Maureen pasko said

Menopause nut

I too am suffering beyond belief with hot flashes/ night sweats- I have around 30-50 per day. I am so special haha. I've been going through this for a few years- short tempered snarling without realizing it to family and coworkers, constant anxiety thinking about work -I have a very stressful high pressure job as sales manager of newspaper, feelings of sadness, lack of interest in things hard to get motivated to do anything sometimes. Sleep is pretty much a constant covers on covers off covers on sopping wet covers off, all night long and I just can't deal with this anymore! I cry at the drop of a hat because I am so damned tired and finding it hard to cope. I feel like I am cracking! I am normally a very strong woman, exercise, yoga, eat very healthy. I have tried numerous natural remedies, acupuncture, massage, yoga ,all the dietary things like no hot sauce- which I love and none of it has made a bit of difference. I have held out as long as I can because I don't like drugs of any kind in my body, but I have just started on estrogen and promethium low doses. The quality of my life has become extremely low so I am trying to convince myself the dangers of these drugs will be worth it. I am willing to try them for a couple of months and see. I figure I am doing more harm than good to myself with no sleep for four years!!

May 01, 2015 13:May 1 | Sandra Leisure said

I could have cried when I read all your posts

I have been a mess for about a month now. I have experienced all most every symptoms each of you wonderful ladies have talked about.
My perimenopause started about 4 years ago. My period stopped about one year ago. I have had minimal night sweats and have not been very moody. My issue has been anxiety and panic attacks which I have struggled with in he past. As of recently I wake up every night with a racing heart and the feeling I want to jump out of my skin. I try every relaxation technique in the book but even if I finally calm my mind and heart I still feel jittery and shaky.
I guess I will schedule an appointment with my practitioner to see check my hormone levels ...ugh! Thank you all for your posts I have calmed a bit knowing what I am going thru is normal.

Apr 25, 2015 14:Apr 2 | said

manic period

I've been taking Effexor for 10 years and am at what looks like the final stage now. Since I had a history of generalized anxiety (spikes post-partum) the Effexor is perfect for the losing my mind symptom; too bad I didn't know that was the first symptom of the final stage because I had what turned out to be a manic phase for two months before going in for help. I had just started a new job, was relieved of every burden in my life, getting along great with my husband, a little lossy feeling at my daughter's departure for college, but the job and my new freedom was all in place to be happy about. And was I happy! So it didn't seem odd to me that I was more outgoing, productive and energized than ever. Naturally when the unexplained crying and mood swings came on, I wondered why.

I am blessed to have a General Practioner very skilled in these issues. She explained this would be a hard row to hoe because I was so long in coming in and that the increased dose would take 6-12 weeks to take full effect. She gave me Xanex for the anxiety. I have always used Trazadone for sleep since starting the Effexor. All this has been very helpful and enabled me to keep working, exercising and eating, though one of my first symptoms was loss of appetite so I lost too much weight and am working back to a healthier state slowly.

So what is my problem? I had a very damaging couple of months waiting for the full effect of the drug during which I was unable to get the CBT I begged for. Insurance companies in the US control our access and I had to live with the compulsive thoughts for 10 weeks without the type of training I needed to dismiss those. I have empathy for those with OCDC like I never could have before. I believe I could be much closer to a full recovery, though - which is expected so don't give up those of you who identify with this. The most uplifting thing I found was that people like us who were fully functioning and having perfectly normal lives prior to these episodes (manic or OCDC is not part of my history)overwhelming make a full recovery.

I know I am lucky to have had the right pharmacological treatment as soon as I knew what to ask for. I am, however, at the point with coping that I feel like the recovery is still far away. I've found that joining a loss support group is very freeing and healing. I'm surrounded by elders who actually have lost loved ones so my "loss" feels miniscule compared but their wisdom and loving embrace has nourished me in so many ways. My heart soars at the loving support of all those in my life who have responded to my calls for help so I keep positive with those gifts I receive daily.

Can anyone tell me about their experience with longer-term CBT and how long it takes to make a full recovery? My diagnosis says 6 months is the normal period of time, and that the countdown starts with the date of treatment...how about those 2 months I did on my own; don't they count ;)

Apr 21, 2015 14:Apr 2 | Sheryl said

To All My Commenters: Thank

To All My Commenters: Thank you for furthering this very important conversation. This post elicited the greatest response of any posts since I began writing Midlife Matters, in 2009. I'm so glad so many of you have found a supportive community. Because of that, I have followed up this story with another to keep you all updated on the latest research and information on menopause and moods. You can access it here http://www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/menopause-and-your-moods.  Please feel free to comment and tell me what other issues you'd like to see addressed on Midlife Matters and thanks for reading! Sheryl Kraft

Apr 18, 2015 09:Apr 9 | said

No new news, and same old fix...

Is this anxiety or a 'panic attack'? Anger, fury, rage, crawling skin, bloating, anger, fury, rage, rinse and repeat. Going on ten years. Oh, and add in GI issues in the last five.

What does the brilliant medical profession offer? Drugs of course, the type that men offer - prozac to shut them women up. HRT, which causes breast cancer. A cure? Hell no.

But because there are no hot flashes or night sweats associated with the aforementioned menopause symptoms, yes they ARE menopause symptoms, the brilliant medical profession pronounces: nope, that isn't menopause, I've never heard of symptoms like that. Ah, so because you say it, it must be true.

You saw the part about going on ten years now, with no end in sight. Imagine if men had these issues for ten years, the medical profession would be jumping through hoops to help them. Ditto on the GI issues.

Thought your article - YAY! - had a ray of light in it. Sadly, no.

So, no help, no hope, just - as one lovely OBGYN, male of course, said - live with it.

Apr 13, 2015 15:Apr 3 | Madelene said

Hi ladies For the ladies who

Hi ladies
For the ladies who are using BHRT- prometrium, what is the dose for each?
Thank you

May 23, 2015 13:May 1 | kim said

My gyn prescribed 100mg at

My gyn prescribed 100mg at bedtime. It does seem to make you sleepy and relaxed. Which is a good thing!

Apr 16, 2015 22:Apr 10 | kim said

Prometrium

Hi my gyn gave me a 100 mg dose at bedtime

Apr 20, 2015 17:Apr 5 | Madelene said

Thanks Kim.

Thanks Kim.

Apr 12, 2015 11:Apr 11 | sister said

meno/anxiety

Thank GOODNESS for this forum and article! Does anyone out there feel shaky inside? Like just under their skin? I am post meno. and have had more symptoms POST than peri. I feel like I am going crazy!! I am due to have my thyroid tested in a couple of weeks....any thoughts? I read posts about thyroid and maybe that is what is going on. That plus the out of my shirt heart beat and anxiety have been so disturbing......thank you all for posting and knowing I am not alone in this !!!!!!!

Apr 18, 2015 12:Apr 12 | said

Had thyroid tested...

and nothing.

"Does anyone out there feel shaky inside? Like just under their skin?"

Absolutely. Like ants trying to get out.

Find a doctor who can help with this. Oh yeah, they'll put you on Prozac to shut you up.

Apr 16, 2015 19:Apr 7 | Patty said

Panicky and anxious

I too am thankful for the blog and posts. I have been going through perimenopause for almost two years which included memory issues, emotional crying and hot flashes but just this past week I woke up in the midst of a full blown panic attack that took me to the ER. I have had anxiety and one more panic attach and am now taking Ativan to help but feel so overwhelmed with the addition of this new symptom. I too always feel like my heart is beating out of my chest. I hope that there comes some relief soon for this.

Apr 15, 2015 19:Apr 7 | Sandra said

I don't feel shaky but most

I don't feel shaky but most days I just don't feel comfortable in my own skin; it's hard to explain. The worst feelings I have are anxiety and as someone mentioned here previously, a feeling of dread (about what I don't know, but just dread).

I'm exercising and trying to eat healthfully and taking vitamins and still don't feel that much better. For me the nights are the worst. When I'm lying in the dark trying to get to sleep that's when I feel like I'm losing my mind sometimes.

Glad we're not alone in this. Good point about the thyroid; I never thought about it but will get it checked.

Good luck to everyone.

Apr 09, 2015 15:Apr 3 | said

rimen

I am 59. I am sleeping again and back to the wt I was before menopause started.
I have focused on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean meats. Although a glass of wine seemed like a good remedy for feeling run down at the end of the day, but I am doing much better without it. Staying hydrated, I've found, is majorly important. The biggest factor in my feeling better and recognizing myself in the mirror again was exercise. You don't have to like it for it to work. In a couple of months you may see a huge difference in how you feel. Check with your doctor first! Even just walking can create a huge difference in your energy level and sense of well being. Staying hydrated is very, very important too. Our bodies were made for drinking water and healthy fluids.

My memory came back over time!

This is the time to foster routines that will support you the rest of your life. I don't know about anyone else but I want to be here...for as long as I can and as well as I can. Sisters, best wishes to you all!

Apr 08, 2015 15:Apr 3 | said

menopause and anxiety

THANK YOU THANK YOU LADIES!!!!!!!!! I CANNOT tell you the mental relief I feel just reading your posts. I am pot meno. and have had more anxiety this year than ever! Hot flahes continue, as do mood swings and feelings of dread. THIS is ALL since meno. But hearing what all of you have been said, just helps so much to know I am not alone and NOT LOSING MY MIND!!! Hugs to all of you!!!!!

Apr 07, 2015 14:Apr 2 | Dana 11 said

Menopause and anxiety / migrains

Hi,
I am so thankful to have found this forum. I had a severe panic attack in January and have since found out I am in menopause (47 yes old). I also have been diagnosed with Hashimotos and am on thyroid medications to help. My problem is the daily headache and anxiety . It has been 3 full months with no relief. I started bio identical hormone replacement 4 weeks ago and last week started prometrium pills but still no relief. I am scared to death and my fears are beginning to take over. I need help but don't even know what else to do. I will keep reading your posts in hopes that they will remind me that I am not alone.
Thanks and good luck to you all !

Apr 16, 2015 20:Apr 8 | Patty said

I am seeking help from a therapist

I started seeing a therapist this week who specializes in anxiety and panic just to try to get through the acute part of this new symptom that has arisen while I am perimenopausal. With only two sessions done I have found relief in a breathing exercise called progressive relaxation. It has helped break the feeling of anxiousness and fear. I think you can find more about it on line by googling cognitive behavioral therapy.

Apr 08, 2015 11:Apr 11 | Madelene said

It will pass Dana, don't give

It will pass Dana, don't give up.
Take supplements(Mg, Ca, B6 and B12).
Try acupuncture , it helped me.
Learn the techniques of deep breathing and meditation.
Dismiss the thoughts you have when you're in bad mood.
And remember : Your fear is not real , it will go away every time.
Be strong and don't give up.

Mar 31, 2015 11:Mar 11 | Reese said

Menopause

Thanks for the read. Sharing this similar article I read recently, hope you find it useful to you and your readers. Thanks!

http://anti-aging-today.us/symptoms/signs-symptoms-perimenopause/

Mar 29, 2015 05:Mar 5 | Marilyn said

Hi everyone, I am happy to

Hi everyone, I am happy to have found this forum and read everyone's stories. I know that I am not alone. I am 54 and am in perimenopause. The hormonal fluctuations are causing severe anxiety. I have a foggy brain and somedays think I am going crazy. This is such a scary time. I just started taking Lovan for the anxiety. I also have empty nest syndrome as the last of my six children leave home for university.

Apr 01, 2015 07:Apr 7 | joolz said

Hi Marilyn Im so glad I came

Hi Marilyn
Im so glad I came across this forum. I have been thinking I am going crazy too. Its so good to read that so many women are feeling the same. I'm 48 and periods have become more and more erratic over the last 3 years. The anxiety I have experienced in the last 2 months has been unbearable mainly due to the effect on my sleep. Visited GP, tried mild anti anxiety drug which worked for a couple of nights, then went back following blood tests which showed an fsh level in the 80's and was told I was menopausal and very unlikely I would have another period and suggested HRT. I panicked because of bad press on HRT and opted for an SSRI which I thought would help with night hot flushes and hence sleep. But heck, the anxiety and insomnia got worse and came off them after 10 days which caused even more anxiety. Now trying another type of medication to help sleep but am at my wits end. I feel like Im not in my head sometimes and just want to feel 'normal' again.
I do know that exercise does clear some of the fog for me and want to try meditation.
What I have realised from the forum is that a problem shared helps so much and that the support from others is one of the best therapies.
Xx

Mar 28, 2015 17:Mar 5 | judith Baker said

I am 73 I began menopause at 45

Since I started menopause I have had a problem walking. Before that I road my bike and dispite bad feet, I could walk just fine. Now I have good days and bad days. I have had tests done on my legs and there never seemed to be a problem. Menopause seemed to take away my confidence and has prevented me from doing many of the wonderful things I enjoyed. I also have terrible bloating even when I don't eat.

Mar 28, 2015 11:Mar 11 | Sandra said

Menopause

It's been really good to read other people's comments about menopause and not to feel like I'm losing my mind. Had a bit of post natal depression 20 years ago but have been fine ever since. Now severe anxiety all day long and night time is a nightmare as sleep disrupted and have had to resort to taking sominex OTC sleep remedy which leaves me feeling groggy the next day - not good when your work involves teaching 30 ten year olds. Add to this irrational worries regarding my husband and his relationship with a female work colleague. Their friendship used not to cost me a thought but the last few months anxiety levels through roof and imagining all sorts of scenarios. Sleep disturbance also means feeling constantly tired and feeling detached from those close to me. Will definitely try the magnesium and get more exercise and will go to doctor as have heard CBT works well. This menopause subject should be discussed much more openly!!

Mar 27, 2015 12:Mar 12 | jordan said

Anxiety and Menopause

Has anyone considered that the anxiety women feel around menopause might be due in part to the fact that we as older women become invisible? Society tends to discount women, and the older we are the more this happens. So, how much of this anxiety is a reasonable response to our environment?

Apr 14, 2015 16:Apr 4 | said

Yes, this us exactly how I

Yes, this us exactly how I feel. I'm 56 and struggling with these thoughts. I've been up and down since I was 52. It's been really bad the past few weeks. Incredible sad feeling. It's like a death of the person I was to this aging under desired version. Def feeling of becoming invisible. It's a very difficult time in my life.

Mar 26, 2015 13:Mar 1 | Madelene said

Ladies I had 2 sessions of

Ladies
I had 2 sessions of acupuncture and I'm feeling some relief , I start dealing better with my fears. I also read "Stop thinking , start living " and I highly recommend it.
Keep looking at the light at the end of tunnel, millions of ladies have made it through.
Peace and Faith.

Mar 26, 2015 12:Mar 12 | Floss said

Menopause symptoms

Hi

I am 56 and in menopause. I have always had times of feeling anxious and had bouts of panic. It's weird because when I have a good spell of not feeling the panic I can't imagine how it felt. Unfortunately the feelings of anxiety and panic always eventually come back.

Before my last period at 53 I had suffered 8 years of hellish periods. Sudden flooding to the extent I couldn't go out and was afraid to move. Several times I needed progesterone tabs to stop my periods for a few weeks. These were good and seemed to regulate me for a while. I had always been regular up until I was 46. After this I had periods lasting months, dipping as though I was about to stop and then the awful flooding. I became anaemic several times. It was found out I had a few fibroids, but I have friends who suffered the same as me who didn't have them.
Anyway, I am now having other symptoms I don't like. I am lucky that I haven't had the awful hot sweats most of my friends suffer. I do get hot sweats now and again, but they are mild. What I do get a lot is tingling in my face and neck. It can be anywhere on my face or all over. Some days I cope with this without worrying about it. Other days I get very frightened and think I might have something dreadful wrong with me.
I did see my doctor over this and had a basic xray which came back normal. I had a blood test and my thyroid was slightly out of range, but when I had a repeat test the following week it was normal. My doctor said I had a type of neuralgia. I am not totally convinced and wonder if this tingling is a type of hot flush. Sometimes my lips really tingle and look very red. They can feel hot or cold but even when I think they feel cold they are very warm to the touch.
I live in fear of dying and my getting older.When I get really anxious I feel it affects my co-ordination, and then I worry more and think I might have a stroke. My memory too is dreadful and I can't seem to hold onto information I have been told. I get my words mixed up and then panic more again. I really feel I am losing my mind at times as I do the most stupid things. I have laughed about my mistakes for years but now it is scaring me.

On top of all this I lost my mum late last year and we were very close, seeing each other everyday all our lives. I helped my dad care for her and she suffered a lot. During this time my husband had to come of work sick due to a knee injury and ended up having an op just before Christmas. He is still off work and it seems he may not be able to go back to the sort of work he has always done as he cannot kneel down now, which he needs to do for his job. As he has just turned 60 the prospects of finding work which isn't manual - which is all he has ever down - are bleak. I am also looking after my dad so at the moment can't go out to work. Which is just as well as with my mind I would bankrupt a place within the month lols!!
I have to laugh but it is so worrying. If my husband can't go back to work I will eventually have to find a job as I have 10 years left before I can retire. I am terrified at the thought of going back to work as my confidence is at rock bottom and the more I get stressed about something the more mistakes I make. I just cannot concentrate and all my anxious feeling come flooding back and I go into a panic.
I can relate to you ladies who have been stricken by panic whilst out. It is terrifying enough to feel like that in your own home, never mind being outside of it.
A few years ago I went through a very bad time and became terrified for weeks on end. I was even like it in the house with my husband with me. It was the most awful time. I was feeling dizzy and off balance all the time. I felt like I was drunk and couldn't walk straight. When I looked at someone and spoke my head felt weird and like I was so aware of everything going on in my body. My eyes didn't feel right but tests shown they were fine. The doctor said it was all stress and anxiety, maybe due to the perimenopause/menopause. Whatever it was it was damn awful.
I came through that all ok, but am slipping back into those feelings again. I am waiting for an appointment with a therapist to see if that helps.
So I don't know if this is anxiety and stress on its own - menopause or a mix of both.

Heaven help us all!!

Mar 26, 2015 11:Mar 11 | eleanor said

menopausal anxiety

So glad I found this site, it is the only thing keeping me sane right now. I have terrible anxiety, sometimes think I can't cope. I worry constantly about getting dementia. I'm 57. I have ringing in the ears and a bit of hearing loss. Been to a specialist, he is sending me for a X ray. Some days I really wonder how I am going to get thru this.

Mar 24, 2015 12:Mar 12 | said

menopausal anxiety

I have very high anxiety, am terrified I will get dementia. This thought is with me every waking minute. I am on anti anxiety pills but they don't seem to be helping. Going to see a counselor tomorrow. I just seem to get rid of this terrible feeling. It is taking over my life. It is the most horrible thing ever. I work with the elderly so am around dementia patients a lot. I just can't cope anymore. Help! !!!

Mar 18, 2015 10:Mar 10 | aurora said

anxiety at 50

hi everyone
im 50 this year and last year i noticed a big change im definatly going into menopause but get this low grade anxiety going on. i fear im gonna loose my buisness and have no money and have to take a job i hate.ive alwasy been like this before a period and antidepressants have helped me over the past 20 years but there not working now, maybe i need a stronger dose, being on the mini pill helped the past 3 years as i had no periods so no hormonal fluctutaions . i came off it a year ago as my periods can back again so being on it was useless [dont need it as a contraception] so ive put myself back on it to see if it helps. only one month in as yet, but i walk round feeling sad and worried all the time its awfull

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