Anxiety is a normal human emotion. It is meant to protect one from danger by acting as an early alert system that something isn't right, but sometimes it is triggered unnecessarily or grows out of control. Anxiety can also be a symptom of perimenopause or menopause in some women. This guide can help answer some of your questions about anxiety and menopause.
Q: What is the age range in which anxiety symptoms may appear, pertaining to menopause?
A: Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, when hormone changes and cycle irregularities are actually occurring, while menopause is the actual permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle. Although there is no specific age when perimenopause and menopause occur, there is a common age range in which the average woman will begin undergoing these changes. Generally, mid-40s is considered average for perimenopause and late 40s and into the 50s is average for menopause. Some women may enter perimenopause as early as their late 30s, though. It makes sense, then, that this is the same range in which perimenopause and menopause-related anxiety symptoms will present.
Q: How does menopause-related anxiety usually present itself?
A: There are many types of anxiety disorders. Menopause-related anxiety can present as any of them, but generalized anxiety and panic attacks are generally the type experienced during menopause. The changes in your body often trigger the anxiety. For example, menopause can bring on hot flashes, increased heart rates, and skin changes, which may make you feel anxious about your health. Combine this with the headaches, insomnia, and depression that is sometimes caused by the hormonal changes, and anxiety seems more like a natural consequence of menopause.
Q: How do I get treatment for my menopause-related anxiety?
A: Your first step is to meet with a gynecologist that specializes in menopause. They will be able to verify that your symptoms are the cause of perimenopause or menopause, and not the result of any other health conditions. This alone may help alleviate any anxiety-causing concerns about your health. They can also begin monitoring your general gynecological health throughout menopause, which may further help ease some of your anxiety.
A menopausal management gynecologist like Darin L Weyhrich may also recommend hormone replace therapy (HRT), which can help alleviate some menopause symptoms and relieve anxiety. In some cases, they may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or refer you to counseling services so you can better learn to manage your anxiety. Often, a combination of treatment methods, designed to aid both your menopause symptoms and manage your anxiety, will be prescribed.