How Menopause Affects Your Mood
Menopause is when women stop menstruating because their ovaries no longer produce estrogen and progesterone. Menopause usually starts around 45-50 years of age and has a variety of symptoms, some physical and some emotional. According to the Spanish Association for Menopause Studies, up to 75% of women develop symptoms during menopause. Today, we’re going to talk about how menopause affects your mood.
Many women, upon reaching this stage in their lives when they can no longer have children, start to feel changes in their body and mood. It’s an important transition that takes women into a new reality.
The relationship between menopause and mood
Menopause doesn’t just have physical manifestations. It also has a significant effect on women’s emotions. As you’ll see, many symptoms have to do with mood, the most well-known being mood swings and irritability.
Menopause can also affect women’s sex drive, which can also have an effect on your mood. Next, we’ll talk about the different changes that menopause brings that directly or indirectly affect mood and well-being.
According to the National Institute on Aging, one of the potential side effects of menopause is mood swings. These can be sudden or more gradual, but they tend to appear at the beginning of menopause or in the middle of the process.
Mood swings involve suddenly going from crying to laughing, getting mad without knowing why, being sad for no apparent reason, etc. These are all common reactions to menopause, though resisting them can make your symptoms worse.
In that sense, accepting your new reality as an opportunity to learn more about yourself is a good approach. Life is change, after all, and if you greet the changes in a mindful way, you’ll find ways to enjoy the transitions.
According to the National Institute on Aging, another way that menopause affects your mood is that it causes irritability.
Women who are going through menopause are often bothered or annoyed by anything. In general, it involves being more sensitive to any external factors (a comment, a gesture, etc.).
The hormonal changes of menopause, along with losing the ability to reproduce, can lead to emotional instability.
That instability can be more or less intense depending on the person’s context and coping style. If you have adult children who move out around this time (empty nest syndrome), your instability could also be exacerbated.
How menopause affects your mood indirectly
We’ve seen some of the most significant mood-related symptoms of menopause. But what about the changes that can indirectly affect your mood? Here are some of the most important:
According to the National Institutes of Health, another symptom of menopause is difficulty concentrating. While this is a cognitive symptom and not an emotional one, it can certainly have an impact on your mood. In other words, the fact that you can’t concentrate can make you feel angry, sad, or confused. Obviously, this will manifest itself in different ways for different women.
Changes in sexuality
Menopause tends to reduce libido (sexual desire). According to the Spanish Association for Menopause Research, this happens because up to 50% of androgenic hormones decrease, which can have a negative impact on women’s psychological well-being. That also has repercussions for romantic relationships and can cause anxiety and depression. The likelihood of getting menopause-related anxiety or depression varies from person to person.
The National Institutes for Health also point out that vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause, which has obvious consequences for a woman’s sex life and mood. Luckily, there are many products on the market to address vaginal dryness, such as prescription and non-prescription gels and lubricants.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this, you can visit the Spanish Association for Menopause Research website, where you’ll find an interesting FAQ section. You’ll also have access to studies, articles, and interesting facts about menopause.