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

Aug 25, 2015 00:Aug 12 | said

im not going crazy!!

wow!! I stumbled across this forum and I am soo soo glad!! I truly and really felt as if I was going crazy! I just turned 54, been going through menopause since age 51! Hot flashes, night sweats, and just recently, anxiety and depression!! Been waking up early mornings with crazy fast beating heart, and a very terrible anxiety and feeling of intense dread, hopelessness, gloom and overwhelming feelings!! Enough to give me an upset stomach most times!!! I lost my dad tragically a couple a months ago and my work is physical and demanding. I am caregiver to my mom now, and feel that these recent events have brought on the anxiety and depression and ooh hahah also panic attacks!! I saw my doctor who prescribed Zoloft, lowest dose I took for 3 days and omg!!! I felt horrible!!! I wanted to get rid of the anxiety and depression, panic attacks but I felt a gazillion times worse!! I also felt like my mind was not mine and felt like I wanted to cry but couldn't!? I felt alone and scared!! I decided to stop taking those meds!!! Thank goodness!! Now I'm trying to go natural, change my diet, re joined my gym, called family up to help with my mom, go out and do things for me!!! Just reading that we are all going through the same thing has made a big difference in how I'm tackling things on a daily basis, just knowing that I'm not alone has really made it much easier to handle. And for those who are working with someone who has lost someone or who is going through a rough time. Go easy on them!!!! As they are trying as best they can and are sometimes just doing the best that they can by the hour, by the day!! To all of us, hang in there we are amazing and will get through this!!

Aug 23, 2015 21:Aug 9 | dd said

anxiety

Hi everyone,

I am 50yo and haven't had my pd in about 8 months so I guess that is still peri-menopause. Anyway, I am a complete wreck. My husband and I had a disagreement and I was on the phone looking for a lawyer. We generally get along but he made a stupid move with some of our accounts leaving us vulnerable and I just want to leave. Anyway, the possibility is so small but it's like a loop in my head centering the worst possible scenario. He is being really compassionate but I am in such panic. It's not me at all. I can't sleep or eat and am completely a wreck. It looks I am not alone but it feels so real. thanks you and good luck to everyone.

Aug 22, 2015 01:Aug 1 | Sandra said

Anxiety attacks/panic attacks

Never have felt like I needed to comment before, until now. I was diagnosed last year with breast cancer DCIS, I went through 30 days of radiation and then started Letrazole at age 52. Prior to that had the worst panic attacks I would not wish on my worst enemy. I had many runs to the emergency room to only be told the my rapid pulse, spike in blood pressure and muscle pains were not a medical issue, but anxiety/panic attacks. I also have severe hot flashes and body aches as well. I can go for a while with no anxiety and then it hits me and I cannot breathe and or feel like I cant swallow correct. It is miserable and I wonder if anyone has experienced anything like this. I think that lack of sleep and stress makes mine worse.

Aug 21, 2015 06:Aug 6 | Women's menopause information said

Menoapuse & Heartbeat, Irregular – Arrythmia

Anxiety & & Heartbeat, Irregular – Arrythmia is mainly related in woman due to Menoapuse

An average woman’s heart beats between 60 – 100 times a minute. However, when a woman reaches Menopause the decline of Oestrogen can cause a woman’s heart to beat irregularly, skip a beat or start to beat faster.http://goo.gl/uHSCT1

Aug 11, 2015 23:Aug 11 | said

It is so good to read all

It is so good to read all your comments. thankfully I don't suffer with hot flushes but the anxiety I am experiencing can be overwhelming. I first had this unshakeable feeling of dread and anxiety with no seeming cause over a year ago, it went away but has come back with a vengeance. I have so many positive things in my life but the smallest decision sends me into panic mode and looking into the future sends me into a spiral of worrying and catastrofising everything. I literally wake up with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach and can be almost physically sick, living with this feeling makes me so unproductive. i knew what I am experiencing can be a perimenopausal symptom but is is wonderful to read that I am not alone. Thank you everyone for sharing.

Aug 13, 2015 13:Aug 1 | kay83 said

Anxiety

Thank you all for sharing. I feel the same way as all of you. I have gone from a confident person to someone who is afraid that every action I make is the wrong one and could hurt someone. I feel like I want to stay in my house and not go anywhere. I have such a wonderful life, but all I think about are the things that could or might go wrong. I can be happy one minute and crying the next. I thought I might be going crazy, but am relieved to know it might be from menopause. I was surgically induced into menopause in 2011. (I am 50) I am BRCA 2 positive, and watched my mom battle breast and fallopian tube cancer for almost 8 years. (She passed away this March.) My maternal aunts both had breast and ovarian cancer, with one also passing away. I decided to have an elective hysterectomy and oopherectomy, so now because of my high cancer risk, I cannot be on hormone therapy. I am trying black cohosh, and it does seem to help a little, but this has been hard to deal with. I appreciate others opening up and helping me realize that I am not alone.

Jul 20, 2015 17:Jul 5 | LisaSusan said

Wow, me too :(

I am 56 years old and post-menopausal. Stricken with those horrid hot flashes with often are preceded with a feeling of agitation and/or dread. Also awake often with anxiety and dread, but for no apparent reason. I am dealing with anxiety, brain fog, sadness, mood swings and feel like I am going crazy! Everything seems to have amplified in just the last couple of weeks and I have no clue as to why. In the past, I have experienced mild anxiety and carry around Xanax just in case, but never use it. These symptoms are new for the most part. I don't feel myself -- it's really scary. My memory is affected - thank goodness I just past a "short memory test" online. Is my anxiety caused from worrying about going nuts or the other way around?! I am even worried about driving (which is a totally new symptom for me). This is made worse at present, since I am scheduled for a road trip in a few weeks. Ugh!! Anyway, I am not the type of person who goes to the doctor, but I am going to check this out -- maybe hormone levels are off? I am just soooo grateful to have come upon this forum. I don't feel so alone; it really is comforting to know other women are dealing with this too. THANKS TO ALL who wrote in.

Jul 20, 2015 17:Jul 5 | LisaSusan said

I am very thankful that I

I am very thankful that I came upon this forum. I can relate to so many of the posts. I am 56 and post-menopausal. Have been dealing with hot flashes for a couple of years, but as of late, have worsened. Most are preceeded with an agitated feeling and many times, dread. I too awake many mornings with a sense of dread...for no apparent reason. I don't really feel like I have much stress in my life to warrant my current anxiety, which as worsened just in the past couple of weeks. I don't feel myself. I am experiencing memory issues, anxiety, mood swings, sleeplessness and brain fog. I don't feel myself and feel like I am going crazy! In the past, I have had minor anxiety and I carry around Xanax just in case of a panic attack, although I haven't had one in years. Recently I am even a bit scared to drive, which is causing me more anxiety since I am planning a road trip in a few weeks! I just feel like I can't get outside of my own head with all the anxious thoughts lately. I have decided to make an appt. with my doctor -- Again, I actually don't feel so alone after stumbling on this forum -- I have never posted on anything before, but was inspired to do so after reading what you other women are going through!

Aug 18, 2015 12:Aug 12 | Lee said

OMG, I so can related and

OMG, I so can related and have felt I was going crazy of late. I am 58 going on 59 in a few weeks. I am usually a very happy-go-lucky, easy going person, very positive. However, I suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks a couple of years ago following several unexpected traumatic life experiences all at the same time. I seemed to have weather it well thru counseling and medication, eventually weening off all meds. However, it seems to have come back with a vengeance, I have scheduled an appt. with my GP to seem if meds are back in order or other alternatives to get me thru this fog/funk I am in. Many Thanks to all those that have posted on this site, as I don't feel so alone with these crazy feelings.

Jul 16, 2015 07:Jul 7 | Deirdre said

I just want to say thanks as

I just want to say thanks as well to everyone who has shared here. I woke up this morning with that awful dread and panic (like many other mornings) and just happened on this article while searching for answers. I don't get these feelings so often now (I'm 55) but when I do they hit like a ton of bricks. HRT didn't agree with me so I keep xanax with me, just in case, and also get medication to help me sleep. Really, really dislike this time in my life, feeling out of control and not like the 'real' me. I try to look at all the positives in my life, even if I feel there are none! And Pranic Breathing is very very helpful too. Also regular exercise (anything at all) and drinking lots of water does actually help. Good luck everyone! ♥

Jul 13, 2015 11:Jul 11 | Reese said

Menopause

Hi Sheryl! Thanks for sharing this post. Menopause really gives a lot of discomfort symptoms. I recently read an article that talks about it. Sharing this article http://anti-aging-today.us/symptoms/signs-symptoms-perimenopause/

Jul 08, 2015 13:Jul 1 | Cindy H. said

menopause

Ladies - Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I'm 51 and had my first panic attack about one year ago. It mostly happens while I'm driving. The problem is I'm a photojournalist and driving is as much a part of my job as photography.

I'm encouraged by what I've read here.

I have days when I lay in bed until the afternoon, just feeling lost and unable to face the day. I told someone I feel like a Macy's Day Balloon, floating above my life and managing to get down the parade route but without making contact! I never thought about menopause until a friend mentioned it to me last week. I think this may be my problem. I'll be heading to my Dr. as soon as I can get an appt.

Jul 06, 2015 19:Jul 7 | Vicki said

Anxiety with hot flashesI

I am 55 years old going through menopause with a vengeance. My hot flashes continue through the night and along with them I get a terrible feeling of anxiety in my core that is so severe at times it is painful. Although the flashes are obnoxious I find the dread and doom feeling I get with them is almost debilitating.Sleep is almost non existant and I'm finding it very hard to function at work. As a result I'm just tired all the time. Went from type A personality to a sloth. I hate it and it's depressing. I'm thinking of starting HT soon. Has anyone else experienced this and did HT help.

Jul 22, 2015 09:Jul 9 | Sue said

Hiya Vicki, I relate entirely

Hiya Vicki, I relate entirely to what you're describing as i had the same symptoms other than lack of sleep, my sleep increased, deep heavy sleep which took my an hour to completely feel able to function, my work was badly affected and my life had dramatically changed with crash fatigue, depression and anxiety to such an extent that i rarely moved from the sofa some days, everything felt like a huge effort.

I relented and started HRT - Everol 50 patches to try and get some control back, it took 3 months for me to feel the effect of the hormones, it has alleviated the depression and anxiety and the most important improvement to me was the energy levels that i have again. I have just started exercising again and swim 5 days a week for 45 mins and i am also eating healthy. I have lost over a stone just doing the things i used to do and it feels good. I wanted to let you know this as many people write about the weight gain with HRT. For me, gaining the energy helped me focus on planning my meals, exercising and get active which has lead to results. I won't say i feel completely back to normal but i can now cope and feel like i have my life back.

Good luck with your journey and finding your way.

Jul 16, 2015 08:Jul 8 | Libby said

Hi Vicki, I am 49 years old

Hi Vicki,
I am 49 years old and have been in menopause for 2 years. I experienced terrible night sweats and hot flashes and also anxiety and insomnia. I read in several of my health books and some of my health news letters about 5HTP (100 mg/ AM and PM) and GABA (750 mg at night) used for these symptoms. I have been taking this combination for about 7 or 8 months. I no longer experience hot flashes or night sweats. It has been amazing, a Godsend. My anxiety is lessened and I am much less irritable. When I initially started taking the combination my insomnia essentially went away and I was sleeping much better. I now have some anxiety and insomnia again but nothing like I was experiencing before. I now also take passionflower extract and Natural Calm (a magnesium supplement) to help with the anxiety symptoms. I get my 5HTP at Costco. The brand is Natrol. I hope some of this information is helpful for you.

Jul 16, 2015 03:Jul 3 | Lynley said

Like Vicki I also have that

Like Vicki I also have that awful dread and doom feeling before the hot flush comes, Mine is mostly at night as soon as I try to go to sleep my mind start racing followed by the doom feeling and the hot flushes sometimes up to a dozen in one night. My doctor won't give me HRT as I have had breast cancer. I thought these were panic attacks but after reading all these ladies comments I'm thinking its menopause. I had my ovaries removed at 50 after the cancer and it's been a rough ride. I'm now 56 so wondering how much longer till I'm out the other side.

Jul 13, 2015 16:Jul 4 | Nicki said

Hi Vicki I have that same

Hi Vicki
I have that same feeling of dread and anxiety before each hot flush, so I always know when one is on the way.
I am 55, started with hot flushes about 7 years ago. I was waking 10/11 times a night and feeling very tired. My GP gave me HRT which worked wonderfully well. I still have a couple of flushes (sorry, British say flushes!) a day, but I can cope.
Now I am trying to cut down the medication-very, very slowly. Still getting the anxious feelings, but hoping to be 'through the other side' soon.
If you have no risk factors for HRT why not try it?
Best wishes

Jul 09, 2015 22:Jul 10 | Timber said

menopause

Hi Vicki,
My name is Timber. I too am having anxiety/panic attacks and just confirmed that I am in menopause. I have been prescribed Climara 0.025 MG I am very scared to try it and very scared not to try it...I think I have small hot flashes in the middle of the night when I wake up and can't go back to sleep but not bad. I just wish I could sleep thru the night. I am afraid of everything and hate to be alone. I had hysterectomy in 2012 but still have my ovaries. I am here if you would like to talk.

Timber
tflo739@gmail.com

Jul 05, 2015 22:Jul 10 | Barb said

menopause

I thought I had an illness ! Started waking up in the night several times in a panic. I have something that nobody has mentioned before and it was numbness in my legs , hands, arms and feet even my face on one side. I took birth control pills 28 years and stopped all at once. The fluctuation of going off the pill and start of menopause I think was too much for me. I ended up in the ER shaking, scared emotional and blood pressure spikes. Every test I had came back normal. Started going for tests and all was well with me. Till I was put on Prozac ! I was shocked that a month later, I was myslf again, Of course I still had small symptoms but knew what they were by that time. I even had vision strangeness and my hearing became funny at times on top of finally having hot flashes and then freezing cold.
I also became an angry person, and moody I was never like that before. Don't let any Dr, tell you those are not menopause symtoms because IT IS ! I am living with it. Don't be afraid to ask for help and make someone listen to you !!!!!!! Take anything they give you that is not HRT but Prozac has helped me become sharp again.

Aug 14, 2015 06:Aug 6 | said

I have the numbness you

I have the numbness you describe as well as muscle twitches and I just filled an anxiety medication after going to the doctor this week. I can relate to what most women are writing about dealing with menopause and anxiety(I am 52). I am convinced that this time of life amplifies the stress and makes some of us feel this way. I sure hope the medication helps! I am so tired of feeling this way and worrying about feeling this way!

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

Aug 03, 2015 18:Aug 6 | Priscilla said

Thank u

Omg...I can so relate to your post. I have had a lot of things going on in my life and I have felt beyond overwhelmed. I am 49 and I have never had feelings like this before. I have periods where I can't stop crying and the anxiety is just horrible. I started to wonder if menopause might have something to do with it. After reading your post, I am going to talk to my doctor about it. Thanks so much.

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.

Aug 02, 2015 20:Aug 8 | janet andrews said

I here ya!

Amen! I am astounded that women are basically left to suffer like this. I am a scientist(biologist) and am having a hard time wrapping my head around how this is all "natural".

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

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