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

Sep 24, 2016 02:Sep 2 | Gini said

Highway driving panic attack Age 52

Age 52 - About a year ago I was driving home on the highway and had my first panic attack -I was in the far left lane passing a semi going down hill pitch dark on Hwy I40 Arizona side - scary highway and worse at night and being next to a semi going down hill- panic came on strong ( I had never a had panic attack ever!) it was so bad I pulled off the highway sat for an hour shaking and then got out of car waked around and stretched - I had no idea what had happened but it was very frightening- figured it was a one time fluke but when I got back in the car and started back on that highway the panic came right back! I pulled off the highway again and a state trooper pulled next time me to see if I was okay- I told him what happened(panic) he said I had to move I was not safe where I pulled off- I was too shaken to drive but he was kind enough to escort me ( he drove behind me) so no one would hit me so I could drive slow to the Cali state line (about two mile) The next time I got on a different highway close to home- a highway I had driven so many other times for years - but panic happened again - and I tried several more times each time first trying to release any stress before getting on the highway- still panic came- never as bad as the first time. I went to the doctor and got several blood tests that all came back normal- I cut way back on caffeine - I am a healthy eater - no meat - I tried 5http -made it worse for me- Tried rescue remedy That made panic worse - I am mostly into natural remedies so when the doctor offered a bunch of antidepressant and other pills I said no not for me- if they work for others that is great but not me. I finally just quit driving on highways but then I was getting panic on any road! Then I figured it has to all be in my mind -So I tried self hypnosis , meditation, longer walks, working out more etc and I still got panic ( only when in car ) then I discovered comedy radio on Sirius actually helped!! The laughing out loud seems to help at least on regular roads - I am still too scared to drive highways - Well today I was on a road in town that is 50mph and I did Not have my comedy radio on so my mind started thinking about panic and before I could get the comedy station tuned on, I had a panic attack
- I got a wave of intense fear like I was going to lose control of the car ! I took the next turn off and the panic stopped ! It does appear to be a lot in my mind - And I can kind of control it with comedy radio- something to keep my mind off the thought of panic. The not knowing why I got that first original panic bothers me. I think it may be Age related and it could very well be hormone related. Recently another possible symptom that I noticed is when I am walking my legs feel weaker - kinda wobbly- I do work out but not a lot - maybe muscles are weakening -My next step is I am going to a doctor I saw a little over two years ago - He had tested me and put me on bio-identical hormones- I felt great then- I only stopped because it was pricey. I really do think it will work - I believe what Suzanne summers wrote about bio- identical hormones - also dr Lee online great info on bio identical hormones. I am hoping when I get my hormones back in balance and improve my workouts that all will be Better and I will kick panics butt!
I will not take Xanax And I will not take Premarin .
I take a multi vitamin, calcium,herbs ashwaganda schishandra shatavari and Maca red powder .
Thank you to the wonderful ladies who have shared here!

Sep 20, 2016 20:Sep 8 | Merry said

Anxiety

So glad for this site! I'm not alone!!

Aug 29, 2016 10:Aug 10 | Robyn said

dizziness and menopause

I am so glad I found this web site. I am a woman in her mid 50's and have been going through the transition of menopause. My question is ( and I really hope someone out there has an answer for this), is how do you cope with the dizziness, anxiety, sadness and the crying during this time? I feel like I have lost all control of myself and feel helpless. I am going out of mind and it's a very scary feeling. Please, if anybody out there has any suggestions on this subject matter, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
I look forward to any HELP!!!!!!
Thanks for letting me vent.
To great days ahead.

Sep 23, 2016 08:Sep 8 | Susan said

Preimenopase nasty stuff I feel your pain

Hi.
Not sure if I'm doing this right and where I start a post , my first time ever posting on line beside Facebook of course lol
Someoem to talk to sure would be nice , my friends well one says no noomway nope I don't have that, the other no systoms maybe a little warm at times , other don't want to talk or thye are way behind me in bump ride we are on , I. So sorry for all us I'm in shock this is so difficult to go thught something so biological , a friend of my goes though some systoms like myself but no angxeity, a younger mom friend as just started she is only 41 but had many bouts of angexity before this stage in life min said nothing but she in for a ride poor dear , anyways thanks for reading , someoem ot talk to I'm not even sure if this is going work , sorry for the (sp) and grammar my mind just not there , a brief history.
I'm 53.5 lol over weight, still have a teen kid at home and a 20 year , a great husband who is tired of all this in a way , and how can he help...
The ups and downs of preimenoapse then went months no angxeity wow then a peroid odd angexity , not bad last for while then again last 5 weeks then went long time lasted 3 weeks then now then here and there day or two was not to bad at times .... jump ahead the last 6 years now I gues preimenoapse light ,heavy long peroids , then first time I skipped no peroids for 3 months. ....
Wow no angexity when I had no peroids not sure why and that one boggles me to no end then I felt awful angexity bloating gassy ovary pains headaches intense angexity like spiking ? Weird then a peroid very lite and clean only last 4 days settle down a bit but the angexity as not let up been 2 weeks now, I don't know what changed or why or how lol I take vituiams read all the blogs and I'm lost go to my doc next week I guess , thanks for reading this long winded story...someone to talks to . Blessings

Sep 10, 2016 21:Sep 9 | Lee said

Menopause - Evening of Primrose Oil

My co-worker, bless her soul, recommended Evening of Primrose Oil. She tried that when she was going through menopause. She would take about 1500 mg when she started to feel weepy, etc. until she felt better. I take 500 mg each day and up it when I feel very teary, hopeless, sad, etc. and it helps. Everybody is different. Whether or not this can help you remains to be seen if you try. I have experienced sadness, loss of control, tearfulness, fear and definitely as if I'm going out of my mind. I find that stress causes more hot flashes as does drinking alcohol, for me. I'm still a work in progress. I am trying to go for brisk walks, at least 20 minutes a day, several times a week, the more, the better. This is supposed to help with anxiety. Yoga and meditation are supposed to really help too. Something I'm hoping to make the time for. Anyway, it's a terrible thing to have to go through and I hope you find out what will work for you. Try some deep breathing when you are feeling anxious, concentrate on your breathing onlyB and know that it's the change in hormones that is causing this and you are not going crazy :)

Sep 08, 2016 11:Sep 11 | Rachael said

Same Here

Hi Robyn,

I'm so sorry for what you are going through. While I do not have solution, I just want to let you know that you are not alone. What you described is pretty much exactly what I am experiencing. I just do what I can with diet, exercise, supplements, relaxation techniques etc....and prayer. Here in the Northeast, it is ragweed season and the other day, my allergies were so bad, eyes watery and itchy, throat, nose itchy. I could hardly move without having a sneezing fit and tried to stay as still as possible. But as uncomfortable and annoying as that was, at least it overpowered the menopausal symptoms. It was a nice and welcomed change of pace and I almost enjoyed it...go figure. I hope you are able to find some relief. I'll say some prayers for you and others in the same boat as we are. Please keep in touch.

Aug 28, 2016 21:Aug 9 | Anna BMD said

anxiety

I am 51 and may be suddenly experiencing a lot of symptoms at once (heavy periods, cramps, headaches)-- but by far the worst is the jumping out of my skin anxiety that is sustained and generalized, unrelated to any specific trigger. I had to call in sick to work because I just could not handle going in there. My job is quiet and not stressful- I just thought I could not be still and focus and I might snap at someone. What the heck is happening!?

Sep 05, 2016 00:Sep 12 | said

what you are experiencing is

what you are experiencing is a hormone imbalance and should have your OB test you for it.

Aug 22, 2016 15:Aug 3 | Nan said

Menstration and anxiety

I have been struggling with panic attacks and anxiety for about 3 years now ever since I had to have open heart surgery. My heart has fully healed now and is totally back to normal, the thing is I still get anxious and panic attacks around the time of my period. I am 44 years old and think i am going through perimonopause because I have always been a positive and happy person never had these fearful experiences that like others have said come out of nowhere and wake you in your sleep. I'm wondering if I take care of maybe reducing my cycle in some way will these symptoms change?

Aug 16, 2016 13:Aug 1 | Lynne said

Im sorry everyone on this

Im sorry everyone on this site is experiencing these symptoms but it sure has helped me to know that I am not alone. I am 44 years old and have always experienced sadness and bad cramping with my periods, post partum with my kids, and have suffered with anxiety since childhood, but I have always been a functioning, happy person who loves to laugh. As the stress increased in my life, I started having uncontrollable anxiety, had to go back to bed after I got the kids off to school, and then it took every thing I had to look and act normal when they came home. My doctor gave me Ativan which has honestly saved my little bit of sanity I have left, and also an antidepressant. The antidepressants havent helped and I wonder if they increase the anxiety, so I went off of them. I have to take an Ativan in the morning as that is when my anxiety hits the hardest and then I can usually function throughout the day. But same as everyone, I wish I could just feel like myself again. I do think this is hormone related as the anxiety is a lot worse during my periods. I have tried the progesterone/testosterone supplements as well after having my hormones tested but did not help. I am guessing this is a stage of life that we will have to go through but I am hoping it will end sooner than later. It is an exhausting battle.

Aug 09, 2016 01:Aug 1 | Mich said

So, I'm NOT crazy!

Hi Girls,

I am so glad that I found this blog. I thought I was losing my mind, but finding all of you has made me feel so much better.

I'm 49 and had a hysterectomy 2 years ago, but have only had peri-menopausal symptoms for the past few months. My hot flashes are absolutely horrible. I have had anxiety issues for several years, but the hot flashes bring on anxiety attacks 12 or more times during the day and even strike at night.

I thought that I could handle this by myself, and I'm not currently taking anything for it, but I'm calling my doctor tomorrow. I can't do this anymore. I feel like my head is going to explode.

Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing your stories. I no longer feel alone in this crazy life!

VERY Sincerely,

Mich

Aug 03, 2016 14:Aug 2 | GG said

Perimenopause

Hello ... I am 51 years old and my symptoms started last year. I felt as though my body was slanted sideways when all along, I was standing up straight. I felt movement while walking or driving. I wish I could tell you I had one too many mojitos .... but; it just wouldn't be true. The next symptom I could remember was a sensation of electrical pulses going through my arms & legs. Like many of you; I too ended up in the ER. They did so many tests; found nothing. A family member who happens to be a female cardiologist listened and figured it out. I am now on Adre-all 2x daily and an estriol patch .05mg 2x weekly ... I also take 100mg of progesterone in the evening 3 wks. on and 1 wk. off. Is it helping? YES. Am I perfect? NO. I still get hot flashes, anxiety, irritability. But; it seems to be less than before. I have eliminated caffiene & alcohol from my life. Try to stay away from sugar. And; I pray a lot!!!! I wish it would pass but; it's here to stay for now. Ever heard of "invasion of the body snatchers????" That's what happened to all of us & it ain't fun?!

Jul 24, 2016 14:Jul 2 | Louisa said

I was diagonose of Emphysema

I was diagonose of Emphysema in 2010 and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 3 years ago, our family doctor told me there was no cure but it can only be controled. Ever since then i have been running heather scepter looking for a solution to my problem because i was going to lose my Job if i dont get better, until i ran into this online testimony of Dr Lusanda who have been curing people of COPD with his herbal remedy i immediately contacted him via their email, to God be thy glory i bought this COPD herbal remedy and was cured within 3 weeks of usage, at last this is a break through for all COPD/emphysema patients contact this herbal clinic via their email drlusandaherbal(at)gmail(dot)com or website on www(dot)drlusandaherbal(dot)weebly(dot)com

Jul 23, 2016 03:Jul 3 | Don Lewis said

http://www.journalofnaturalhealth.com/panicattacks

When I read this story I was reminded of my long struggle with anxiety and panic attacks.

The first time it happened, I was a young teacher having a friendly meeting with the principal when all of a sudden I felt a strange flutter of nervous energy that went all through my body and became so intense that I could hardly breathe.

I thought I was having a heart attack. a co-worker rushed me to the doctor, who gave me a prescription and told me to go get some rest.

For many years after that, I suffered through more and more panic attacks. It got to the point where I never felt secure or at ease anymore. In fact, I felt that any day I would end up in a mental hospital.

When I sought help from doctors, they gave me the same knee-jerk reaction many of you with anxiety or panic attacks may be familiar with: a hasty prescription for a bottle of pills. Unfortunately, those drugs did nothing about the root cause of my anxiety and actually made my condition worse much of the time.

I knew that there had to be another way. I searched long and hard and finally came across some simple natural remedies that finally made my horrifying panic attacks disappear for good...to the amazement of my doctor.

In fact, you might want to check out this article, it really helped me a lot:

http://www.journalofnaturalhealth.com/panicattacks

Hope it helps anyone reading this!

Jul 22, 2016 05:Jul 5 | Alice Serinova said

Menopause

Menopause can wreak havoc on your psyche. Initially, you may have trouble sleeping and find yourself feeling unusually tired, moody or irritable. You may also have difficulty concentrating and suffer from memory lapses.

My mom faced symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats she even gone into hormone Therophy but nothing works. she went into depression also she lost her sex life too....only thing helped her from symptoms is fitness (yoga, cycling etc) and some natural products like viebien menopause support helps a lot to experience life without symptoms of menopause.

Jul 19, 2016 18:Jul 6 | Martha Alvarado said

menopause and stress

Dear all,

Thanks a lot for expressing your fears in this blog. I am very happy to feel I am not alone in this bumpy road. I believe in the power of the mind and I am learning how to cope with the panic attacks using CBT(Cognitive behavior therapy) . I work in my thoughts and in my breathing. I even think about punching those panic attacks on their face. I use a lot of distractions for the mind: music, candles and I read a lot in the nights when they come. I try very hard to distract the mind form what is happening and I have learned not to be so afraid. Is matter of time..getting use to them like getting used to a bad smell or an uncomfortable relative...takes time and conditioning of the mind.
Please believe in yourselves and never allowed doctors to play with your brain..taking antidepressants and other drugs is something that will come back to you sooner or later.
Pharmaceutical industries need Guinea picks to experiment with..love yourselves and think that if all women have gone through this previously we can also do it !! Cheers.

Jul 12, 2016 21:Jul 9 | Sanne said

Unbelievable perimenopause symptoms

I'm 54 with hypothyroidism (thyroid removed) and in perimenopause. Last period was 2 months ago and lasted 2 weeks! I have been having symptoms for about 3 years now. Started with heart palpitations, then night sweats/hot flashes, rise in blood pressure, feeling of internal shaking, can feel heartbeat pounding and shaking body, ringing in the ears, aching joints, anxiety/panic attacks, and muscle twitching to name a few. Seen my primary care doctor, OB/GYN, endocrinologist and neurologist. Got back normal reports except for Vitamin D & iron deficiency, thyroid levels fluctuating and cholesterol number was high. All this is so scary... I just want to feel normal again!!!!

Jul 10, 2016 14:Jul 2 | Corrie said

Menopause symtoms never ending

I am so happy to find these comments. I went through an awful menopause starting at around 54. I am 60 now and its been about 2 years since my last period. My symptoms were so bad I prayed to die. Like many of you I ended up at emergency thinking I was having a heart attack. I would get continuous waves of dreadful crippling anxiety and my worry over having some sinister disease was out of control. I went to doctors for every kind of cancer you can imagine. Every test and doctors visit always concludes the same thing...my whole body is like a 20 year old, they can't even find any arthritis and yet I feel worse than people I know who are sick. I eat pretty much organic, take no medicine(except an a tiny Xanax as needed) and run about 4 miles every night...but the hot flashes and anxiety have now come back no matter what I do. I am thankful for Xanax, that is the only thing that is helping me, it doesn't matter what I eat, or if I drink caffeine, the anxiety comes. I have taken a small piece of Xanax when needed for 30 years. Sometimes I go weeks without it and sometimes I need it a few days in a row. I am so thankful I see many have menopause symptoms that return...it gives me hope that it can pass again. I have learned that menopause symptoms are beyond WEIRD and unless someone actually is feeling the same things they can never understand.

Jun 25, 2016 01:Jun 1 | Yvonne said

Not enjoying life

Hi, I'm 51,and I hate my life...ever since I turned 50 my life has gone down hill, mentally and health wise.....I work 5 days a week and I'm just so tired all the time..I can go to sleep because I'm exhausted but wake up a few hours later and can't get back to sleep , I have anxiety about the smallest thing. I have to follow a certain routine in my daily life and if something unexpectedly happens , I have a panic attack.....my body hurts all over , had ultrasounds of my body because I think I have cancer but nothing shows...I'm not enjoying life at all...my youngest is 14,and I'm forcing my self to try and look happy in front of her...my doctor put me on antidepressants ,but they make me so sick....my periods are all over the place...does anyone know what the best thing is on how to cope
Thankyou

Sep 21, 2016 12:Sep 12 | Cat said

Menopausal issues

Hi there,
All I can advise is - if you can - avoid anti-depressants, the side affects in my opinion, counteract any positive effect. My sister took them, and they made her worse, but unfortunately she cannot see it, she’s just as depressed, but her personality has changed for the worst. I was offered them due to having anxiety, but I opted for holistic treatment instead at a women's clinic. I would also advise anyone thinking of taking herbal remedies to be careful. I had a good herbalist doctor but I was allergic to any I tried, and had to cease treatment. I got so exhausted I had to stop working, pushing yourself will not work, you'll feel worse. Talk to your doctor, who can help you, and if they don't get one who will. What currently works for me is having regular reflexology, and learning relaxation techniques. Taking regular exercise such as walking, preferably in nature, lifts my mood, and makes me feel much better. Diet is really important, I cannot eat the way I used to, I’ve had to omit many foods that I previously enjoyed. I still struggle, but ultimately I feel it’s about acceptance, yes I feel like another person physically, but I have to move forward.

Aug 07, 2016 10:Aug 10 | Jaime Raby said

Hello, I saw your comment and

Hello,
I saw your comment and wanted to tell you that I went through awful anxiety attacks for years and I had enough and cried and prayed for god to help me. Last year in June he answered my prayer for me and my son who is autistic. I dont know if you heard of plexus or not but I started selling it because it helped us so much. It took a month to work for us but after taking it has improved my health as well as my son. I wanted to tell people bout this cause i know how awful anxiety and depression are and it is my passion to help people. I recommend the triplex combo xfactor vit and mega x. If you want to try here is my link http://jaimeraby.myplexusproducts.com

yes its pricey but its worth it compared to meds and dr visits costs this has no neg side effects.

Jul 24, 2016 12:Jul 12 | Jaylene said

Depression/anxiety with menopause

I am a bit younger than you, but I suffer the same symptoms. I started with peri menopause due to ovarian failure at 38. I had both ovaries removed at 40. The anxiety and sense of doom have been unmanageable. I am now 45 with three suicide attempts. Most nights when I do sleep, I wake at 4 am with severe stomach pains that often lead to vomiting. I am divorced, with no children, but I do own a farm and I am full of fear that I will lose it. I recently changed doctors and was prescribed a drug called Trintillex, an SSRI, like you I do not tolerate the side effects. This time however, I was prescribed Gabapentin to help. I also take 1 mg of clonazepam to sleep. I won't lie, the first two weeks were very hard, but I felt that my life depended on it. I made it through! I now sleep, and the side effects become less with every day that I take the combo. I really think it's worth a shot for you. I no longer live with constant fear, it's still there, but now it is manageable. Please, I know many people are against drugs, but I think in times like this we need to do what we can, for ourselves and for our families. I wish you well, Jaylene.

Jul 05, 2016 03:Jul 3 | jan said

anxiety and menopause

hi im 54 and i feel like i am going crazy i have horrid thoughts nightmares shaking crying my chest feels really tight , i have been back an forth to the doctors that many times its like my second home now, i take antidepressants but it doesnt matter what i have been given it just doesnt help,, i am just so pleased that there are ladies out there that no what i am going through and that understand , thanku

Jul 02, 2016 11:Jul 11 | Donna said

Anxiety

I use to have anxiety and panic attacks. I researched for 6 months because I was on depression meds for it. Depression meds send serotonin to your brain telling you..... ok your happy no problems. Well, I got to thinking what if the rest of your body needed it. So, the research began. Low levels of serotonin cause ANXIETY. In order to raise your serotonin you need to rebuild it because your body isn't making enough to stop the anxiety. I started taking the brand Natrol 5- HTP. You take it before bed. When you lay down to go to sleep it turns off all those thoughts that keep you from trying to go to sleep. You sleep better. You will need to be on it for about 2 weeks. See how you are doing are the anxiety levels still high? Then try for another 2 weeks ever night an hour before bed. Once you get your levels to the right point you can stop taking it but will need to do maintenance periodically so will have to take it until the anxiety is gone. Maintenance will be ongoing. But, you do not have to take it everyday once cured only when it feels like it is coming back again. Please do your own research on this and also talk to your pharmacist because I have no idea what meds you are on and if there will be any complications from the 5 HTP with your meds. Sam-E is also gr8 for helping you feel calm if you are also dealing with depression. Good luck. Reike will also get rid of anxiety if you have a place near by that practices it.

Jun 18, 2016 20:Jun 8 | Donna said

Wow...so happy to see that I

Wow...so happy to see that I am not alone. I have never had panic attacks or been particularly anxious. I'm 54, had my first panic attack at 51 while I was still having periods. Now I'm running through cycles of hot flashes/no hot flashes but when they are there the anxiety is through the roof. I felt like I was going crazy but all or your stories show me that I'm not...thanks for sharing! I'll try some of the herbal remedies that have been named.

Thanks!

Jun 17, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Debbe said

Perimenopause and Nocturnal (Night) Panic Attacks

When I was 46 and a half, I awoke to a burst of fear and my heart was in an irregular rhythm. I thought it was heart related and went to heart doctor. Everything was normal with my heart after echo, ekg and stress test and other heart test. I realized it was anxiety of some form manifesting at night. But why? Doctors would say I am not handling stress right, but I had the same stresses, same life than before it happened. Then my periods started coming closer together. Then years past and at 48 I had an anovulatory cycle and more changes, mood, anxiety during the day, heart palps, sore joints. I felt 100 years old. I cut out most caffeine and changed my diet but nocturnal attacks became more frequent, mostly before my periods. Which was happening so often. Then at 49 my first hot flash (which happened at night). I am now 50 and noticed that hot flashes at night have increased and nocturnal panic attacks have decreased. I am hoping that the information I am reading is true and the nocturnal attacks will end for good. I haven't had one for two weeks and that is a good sign. Never had them before age 46 and never had this issue when I had my son, no post partum, no issues when I got my very first period. Just now. Everything went haywire. Looking forward to it easing off.

Jun 09, 2016 17:Jun 5 | Renee said

Anxiety Relief

I'm 46 and have had pretty severe premenopausal symptoms for about a year...weight gain, decreased libido, mood swings, fatigue, and an increase in anxiety. I've gone to several physicians, and of course, nobody has the magic pill to bring me back to my old self again. I've tried testosterone, which just made me aggressive and grow hair everywhere that I had to have removed, though it did temporarily increase my libido. I've tried progesterone, which made me sleepy during the day, and whenever I have my levels checked, they tell me they're "normal". I know I don't feel normal, and it's very frustrating. What I did discover though, for my anxiety, is Gai Adrenal Support, which I purchase at Whole Foods. It has Holy Basil and Ashwagandha, which helps me with my stress levels and anxiety. Is it a cure all? It isn't, but as long as I take it everyday, it really does help with the anxiety and my mood, without any noticeable side effects. I'm not a big "herbal person". Being a nurse I tend to rely on standard medicine or traditional treatments, but I do believe in this, and this particular brand. Hope this helps.

Jun 08, 2016 13:Jun 1 | Susan said

panic

when driving on the freeway all of a sudden! I am 59 and have been pretty good at dealing with stress but not any more. Chest and arm pain - have had two EKG's and chest xrays - doc says my heart is fine - it's just me. Feeling like I've failed at dealing with this. Am taking magnesium and "Chill Pills" from the health food store but doc has given me Ativan and another anti anxiety drug - I don't want to take them but if I don't calm down soon I may have to. Been walking, going to the gym, practicing breathing and pretty much talking to myself all day long! So unhappy :o(

May 07, 2016 18:May 6 | sha adams said

Postmenopausal

Hi Ladies,

My name is Sha and thank you for expressing your concerns and testimonies regarding our stages of hormonal changes.

I too am experiencing postmenopausal symptoms that is taken me time to adjust, but with comments such as yours, I just might be able to handle this.

Thank you again

Sha

Apr 30, 2016 20:Apr 8 | Tracy said

menopause/migraines/panic attacks

Hi. I guess I am not alone. :) I am 54 and still getting periods. I seem to have got the hot flashes under control with black cohosh. I am finding now it's panic attacks and fluttery heart that are an issue. I have come off all meds for migraine as they were not working and maybe coming off them has led to an increase in my anxiety. I would not touch HRT - too much risk of cancer there. I am not going to swap one disease for another that is in the long run - harder to deal with. Seen it with two of my friends on HRT. I do understand we just want to feel better - but be careful with that one. As for the person who was n HRT for 29 years and at 80 still getting hot flashes. That is why. HRT does not take away menopause. If you take HRT , you will be dealing with menoapusal symptoms at an older age. No thank you! I don't want to be 80 and having hot flushes. Good info about the thyroid. Mine has been off most of my life, but never enough that GP's will do anything. They don't acknowledge the Barnes Basal Test. Most accurate way to tell if yr thyroid is not functioning well. This truly is a trying time. I just feel unwell, nauseated, headachy, stiff and anxious. Just wonderful. Oh well - lets hope it comes to an end sometime soon.

Apr 23, 2016 21:Apr 9 | said

Menopause symptoms

Shaky, blood pressure spikes, Thanks for sharing. I can relate. Dong quai is a supplement that has helped me immensely. Also magnesium. We will all get through this. Wow. I am glad I saw this site.

Jun 14, 2016 06:Jun 6 | K said

It does not feel like it

It does not feel like it sometime. I just want some good sleep.

Apr 16, 2016 13:Apr 1 | Evans said

I have been sitting here

I have been sitting here reading all of the posts and how many go thru the same things yet in different ways.

I will be 55 in June and for me in started at 40 due to a partial hysterectomy at 28. I have had the heart palpitation's, the panic attacks, can't sleep and pretty much all of the symptoms each one you have or have had. I feel for each one of you and have tried many of the same things to get relief. I found that antidepressants did nothing and made sure to get off of them and stay off of them. I went to many doctor's and agree that the minute you tell them what you are experiencing they start pushing the pills. I finally found a regular physician that decided to test my thyroid and found there was a problem and put me on Synthroid. I was 41 when that happened and I thought oh thank God I will now start to feel like myself again. After a few months it helped and the panic attacks and the heart palpitations stopped but I still did not feel like myself. For me it was not just perimenopause and thyroid but also my personal life was not in balance. I was in an abusive marriage, had a business and worked a full time job. My stress level was off the wall all the time. I finally decided I had to make changes in my life before I ended up ending my life. There was an opportunity that happened and I saw it as a way out for me and I took it. I was scared to be on my own at 45 and have to deal with the financial impact of losing everything and starting over. I can tell you that it was the best decision I could have ever made.

I also began to do research on my thyroid and found that menopause and thyroid issues can be linked together and that thyroid issues can cause so many issues like the ones that I had experienced off and on for many years. I found an endocrinologist in my area and made an appointment to discuss other medications for my thyroid because I felt the Synthyroid just wasn't helping. When the blood tests came back he also told me I was in menopause for sure and suggested taking the extra vitamin D-3. He also diagnosed me as having Hashimoto's which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and started me on Armour thyroid. I have been taking this now for also most 10 years and even though I still have the occasional hot flashes and some anxiety or stress at least I can manage it.

I decided to tell my story in the hopes that maybe this could help someone on here. I can tell you also that I went thru many many doctors who told me I didn't need to even be on thyroid medication. My advice is to find an endocrinologist that is willing to do all of the blood tests needed not just the TSH blood test. Ask them to test you for Hashimoto's which is very common in women in general and especially in perimenopause and menopause.

I wish each one of you the best and hope that you can find the relief that you need to have a better quality of life. We all experience things differently as women yet we have so much in common when it comes to our body, mind and soul. My thoughts and prayers are with each one of you.

Apr 11, 2016 01:Apr 1 | juniep said

woken up from sleep

I too have had similar symptoms. I am 52 and had my last period about 2 years ago. Lately I've been waking up suddenly out of a sound sleep with an adrenaline rush I feel from my chest down to my toes!. I have to do deep breathing to relax. It can happen up to 3 or 4 times a night. I also have hot flashes throughout the day, nothing I can't deal with but annoying. I feel nervous and anxious lately. I have also noticed that I can smell EVERYTHING! Body odors, perfume, cologne, from far away. I'm afraid to go to sleep. My doctor asked if I wanted something for anxiety, but I don't want to go down that slippery slope. Maybe I need HRT? I just want to relax but seem unable to. My poor husband tries to be understanding, but he's at a loss.

Aug 19, 2016 14:Aug 2 | Rebc said

Anxiety, irregular heart, menopause

Hi, I am glad you posted. I had to have my ovaries removed a year ago and now at 49 I have every symptom the other ladies here have posted. The one thing that is sort of an outlier is the sense of smell. Like you mentioned I can smell anything from yards away and most of it makes me nauseated. I've never been bothered by scent before but I've had to leave a couple of social events because the mix of perfumes made me physically ill. I did not have any of this when I was pregnant many years ago. It is simply awful.

May 06, 2016 17:May 5 | Darla said

Me too!

juniep,
I too am suffering from the exact same symptoms as you are. It hit me about 6 months ago in the middle of the night. It has not let up since. I feel as if I am going crazy. I too smell everything. I have been to the ER 5 times in the last 6 months thinking I am dying. Did you ever find any relief?

Apr 13, 2016 17:Apr 5 | tcc said

I'm 52 as well. What you

I'm 52 as well. What you describe sounds like what I have been going through. I am trying my best to find the best terms to describe the electric surge that waves through my body along with the palpitations. Is it adrenaline? Is it a unique form of hot flash??? Been googling perimenopause, heart pounding, palpitations, panic attacks, anxiety for months now. I am very leery of HRT. I don't like taking medication. However been reading about other folks who feel 'normal' after starting this. Thanks for sharing! Hang in there! I'll try too!

May 04, 2016 13:May 1 | Cynthia said

Menopause

I'm 49 years old will be 50 July 2016. I am also having these electric surge that wave through my body along with palpitations, dizziness and the feeling of the life leaving my body. I've had EKG's, Nuclear stress test, TSH &other blood work and now a holter heart monitor everything comes up good. I've googled everything i can think of. Of course, one doctor prescribed Lexapro and another Xanax. This does not feel like the menopause i've heard others speak of i'm not hot or sweating. Someone help me please!!!!

Jun 17, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Debbe said

Electric Surges

This is similar to the nocturnal panic attacks I was describing. Had them since turning 46, and just turned 50 now. I don't take anything for it because nothing works anyway and I just try to deal with it. I was told that maybe I need to cut this out, cut that out, meditate, but I have to say for me these are 100 percent hormonal. I know this because they come and go. More before my period than any other time but they can come and go at anytime. I have done wrong with my diet and have eaten chocolate or sweets before bedtime or even had a tea before bed and nothing. But then one night I might have been good and had whole foods only and nothing bad and bam, a bad nocturnal attack. Sometimes I am so disoriented when I awake that I think I am dying and change clothes to get ready to go hospital, then I realize I am half asleep and go back to bed. I have gone through this for 4 years now. I noticed lately I am having more hot flashes and less nocturnal attacks so if something is shifting, fine with me. I will take the hot flash ANY day over these scary night attacks. I hate them and they terrify me to no end. One thing that may have made them better is that I read to set my alarm about the time I usually have them. Mine occur within 1 hour of sleep, sometimes 30 minutes after falling asleep, so I started setting my alarm and I would wake up before the attack. I could tell my body was getting ready for one too. Doing this for a few weeks has helped me catch them before and I have not had one for two weeks. Crossing my fingers this did the trick.

Mar 28, 2016 14:Mar 2 | C said

there is hope

I feel so sorry for you all! I have been there to the extreme. Desperate, I went on Prozac, at too high a dose, and thought of killing myself. Nearly 5 years later, I am 58 yrs old, on Prozac and HRT, and have a pretty normal mental life. I still get the occasional mild panic attack that is totally tolerable. I'd like to get off the Prozac but not sure if I can. Tried once and I think I weened to fast. I think I will need the HRT forever. If you can't get it in control with therapy and natural methods, consider meds. I don't like to take them, but they have enhanced my quality of life. I have happy days and am active again :) Try the website www.womentowomen.com They have a fantastic natural approach to menopause, and tons of information for women. Lastly, I have heard many women have become very sensitive to meds in menopause. I am one of those. The prozac I am prescribed is a liquid, and I only take 5 drops. With the liquid, I can use the most minimal amount. Good luck ladies. Never give up.

Jul 26, 2016 19:Jul 7 | Sandra Silvestri said

panic attacks menapouse

I have been going through menopause for several years now..I just turned 58 "ouch", and I am experiencing panic attacks..I've been to the er 3 times in about 1 and 1/2 months..They give me 4 mg of Adavan and it helps relieve my symptoms. I have been on Lorazapam for quite awhile and it saves me a trip to the ER..My doctor is resigning at the end of Aug and she refuses to refill my prescription. She won't talk to me so she sticks her secretary between us. She won't even tell me why. If I get another panic attack I will end up, again in the ER at @ $100.00 a pop and a wait of sometimes 4 hours just to give me Adavan again. She knows this and still refused to fill my prescription. It's scary, I'm having anxiety just thinking at any moment I will get an attack..

Apr 08, 2016 01:Apr 1 | Julia said

anxiety and menopause

Hi ladies! I'm glad I happened upon this discussion. I can relate to much of it and have empathy for all of it. When I brought up the subject of panic attacks/menopause
to my gyno, she immediately assumed that I was depressed and started talking about putting me on depression meds. She didn't question me about my life or emotions at all. I left feeling deflated as it took a lot of courage to even bring the subject up. I then talked to my family doctor,and he took the time to ask questions and he really listened to me. I left his office with an rx for low dose xanax, 15 doses with no refills. I have only requested one refill in a year in a half. It works like a charm, and I don't have to take a daily depression medicine after all. I wish my gyno would have talked and listened to me. I am going to be 55 in June. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We really are not alone

Mar 26, 2016 19:Mar 7 | Joy said

Be careful

I feel I should caution others based on my experience with anti anxiety meds. After 9 years on Xanax, I found out that in the long run, it will make anxiety worse. Finally a psychiatrist told me that the more you try to subdue anxiety the worse it gets. I find that to be true. I have recently detoxed from benzodiazepines and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Those of you determined to ride it out and refuse medication, you are on the right track. I wish I would have known this 10 years ago. I tried them all, and took them only as directed by 5 different psychiatrist. In the end it was me that suffered through the detox and my brain having to relearn how to react to fear by itself. I still have anxiety, but it's getting better instead of worse like when I was medicated. I'm hoping it will pass with menopause. I suppose that those who have recovered from menopause are not looking at this website.

Mar 19, 2016 09:Mar 9 | Elizabeth nicolle said

Menopause and anxiety

Hello Ladies, well it is good to hear that I am not alone albeit I am a deal older than all of you. I had a Hysterectomy when I was 41 but had started menopause when I was 38. And I am here to tell you that I have suffered all of these symptoms ever since then. I am now nearly 70 years of age. Of recent years I have started having anxiety, but have suffered Depression for as long as I can remember, hot flushes are mixed with the anxiety and I have them continuesly. It just drives me silly, I do take a anti depressant which has helped me with the dealing of the day to day of my life. I agree fresh air, exercising, and healthy eating is a great help. But you can imagine how I feel at my age that I am still suffering with all these symptoms. Even after taking. HRT as well for almost 29 years. Do hope that you ladies will feel better in the near future. Good Luck

Mar 17, 2016 20:Mar 8 | Lorie said

So great to know I'm not

So great to know I'm not alone. I just started Zoloft a week ago. Hoping that it helps with all of the symptoms and gives me my life back. I feel like I'm going crazy. I've never had this before in my life. It just started nine weeks ago it's definitely menopause..... Xanax is a lifesaver when it gets really bad! 54 years old

Mar 14, 2016 13:Mar 1 | swosumom said

how to get through it

I am in total shock, this is like reading about myself, I am 48 about to turn 49 and started having panic attacks three years ago out of the blue, gyno Dr. says I am in peri-menopause. Have been to emergency room 9 times because I thought I was having a heart attack. Gyno dr. says I should try a low dose birth control pill to help with the high and lows of hormones. Has anyone tried this while going through but not yet through full menopause. Has the anxiety gotten better once you completely went through menopause. My male physician just said " oh you have generalized anxiety disorder". That made me very mad, since it was the first panic attack ever in my entire life. Any advice you have is very helpful. God Bless.

May 19, 2016 13:May 1 | jenny said

panic anxiety

I have experienced panic/ anxiety attacks at age 48. Its confusing and disturbs your everyday life. Its a constant battle to stop the mind wandering towards insecure thoughts and feelings , suggesting you are unable to cope with the simplest of tasks alone without help. I have stopped alcohol take passiflora, practice yoga and in CBT therapy plus I take Menopause Support from Vogel along with a multi vitamin. Ashwaghanda on a daily basis is also very helpful . It is very frustrating you just want to be your old self, relaxed , not worrying and being cautious about every situation. I find taking each day as it comes and being mindful helps , as any future event whether small or big causes anxiety and many what if questions clutter my mind .

Jun 12, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Janet said

Reply

I have to comment on all the responses on this website. Seems like we are all experiencing the same type of menopausal symptoms. I have always had anxiety, but it is ten fold now, with menopause. In addition to the anxiety, I have the hot flashes, the tingling in the hands and feet, the heart palpitations and just feel out of sorts on most days. I have refused to do the HRT route as i am worried about the cancer side of it. I do take a xanax before bed so I will be able to sleep a few hours without waking up all anxious. I also take Evening Primrose Oil and Dong Qui. Both seem to help with the flashes. I'm more concerned with the anxiety. Hopefully once we get thru menopause, it will subside somewhat. I wish there was an easy fix for this, but it looks like it's something we all have to go through....

Mar 28, 2016 23:Mar 11 | said

I am with you

Hello,
You sound just like me. I had a panic attack while sleeping, out of the blue, I was 46 years old (it woke me up with my heart beating out of my chest—I thought it was a heart attack). My husband was away so I had to call 911 and go to the hospital with my 6 year-old in an ambulance in the middle of the night. At the hospital, they did all the tests and told me it was a panic attack, which shocked me since I had never had one before—I wasn't even sure they were right at the time (Although I also had been having a lot of hypochondria. Real symptoms, that were from anxiety, that I thought were from some horrible disease or cancer.) As an aside when I asked the doctor in the emergency room for something to help me since my husband was away, so I wouldn't be back the next night, he looked at me like I was a drug addict in there looking for drugs. He finally gave me 10 pills which I later found out were benzodiazepines. When I got home I was shaking so bad, I accidentally dropped about 5 of them down the drain. Nothing like dropping your anxiety medicine down the drain to ease your mind. I knew if I went back to the hospital for more they would send me off to rehab.) While I have had social anxiety to an extent my whole life, it was in no way debilitating, but this was/is. I did go to a therapist for about a year, which helped, and tried various SSRIs, with which I had side effects of one sort or another with all of them, so I gave up. I am now 53 and this new anxiety has been my biggest peri/menopausal challenge. Night sweats and hot flashes are minimal to nothing, but the anxiety at times has been debilitating. I feel like a different person and I cannot even hold a normal conversation sometimes. My social anxiety has gotten WAY worse. I will say that as of about a year ago I have moved into full menopause and I think it is getting a little better and I have recently given up coffee and it really has seemed to help, so try that if you haven't already. I guess my main point is to let you know you are not alone and your story helped me, so I hope that mine will help you somehow and I am thinking and hoping with time I will get back to who I used to be.

Jun 17, 2016 22:Jun 10 | Debbe said

EXACT SYMPTOMS I FELT

Hello,
I had this happen to me when I was 46 and a half. I took a taxi to the emergency room and although I was low in potassium and magnesium, there was no known reasons why I went through that. Doctor's wouldn't tell me it was perimenopause and I had to learn that on my own. Sadly, because it was such a scary event, I kept having them. It has been four years and it seems I finally have learned to control them. Not sure yet but the last two weeks there have been none, whereas since turning 49 they had been almost nightly for that whole year. (I just turned 50.) Anyway, I read somewhere to wake myself up by alarm before I usually have those attacks. Because mine happened within an hour of sleep, my alarm was set usually 30 minutes later. I was able to stop them like the suggestion and maybe my body is getting used to not having them since I did it so many times. I haven't set my alarm for two weeks and nothing. Maybe they were tricked to stop, or maybe it is just they are finally easing. Either way, that method did work because it stopped one from coming on. as when I would fall back asleep, nothing would happen the second time I would lay down. Try that and just know, this anxiety is those crazy hormones that Doctors know nothing about. If they did, they wouldn't try to give us paxil for anxiety. They would fix the hormone issue itself. I chose to deal with these ugly symptoms and now that I am accepting it and looking forward to actual menopause to happen, I see some of my symptoms have already started improving. I think it is timing though, no my effort. Back when I was 49 no amount of nothing was going to make me better. It was a dark year. I didn't have no one to help me understand that this is all hormone and i feared it, and let it get me. I hope you will see you are not alone and have an easier time moving forward than i did. You are fine, it is these hormones. :-)

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