For many women menopause can be fraught with annoying and even startling symptoms. The most difficult aspect, though, is not knowing whether what you’re experiencing is part of normal hormonal changes, or if it’s something more serious. Here are some of the normal, healthy menopausal experiences—as well as some that warrant medical attention.
Coping with Menopausal Mood Swings
Two of the most common symptoms of menopause are irritability and fatigue, so if you’re feeling grumpy and sleepy, that’s par for the course. You could also experience anxiety or sadness, or a simple lack of motivation. Mood swings are common as well, so be prepared to feel many of these emotions, and others, in rapid succession.
Another common symptom is a lack of concentration, poor short term memory, or difficulty focusing. These are most likely to occur during perimenopause, the period before menopause, but it shouldn’t last for very long. Although perimenopause can last for years, if you’re concerned about your mental focus, a doctor may be able to help.
Mood swings may be normal, but they’re still no fun. However, there are a few ways to balance yourself out and mitigate the extreme effects. First, be sure you’re eating healthily, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Avoid alcohol, as well as sleeping pills and other tranquilizers.
To relieve stress and anxiety, you might consider yoga or meditation. When you’re feeling irritable and unmotivated, it can be easy to withdraw from friends and family. However, socialization and interpersonal relationships can help you cope, so make an effort to reach out to those around you, especially those who are going or have gone through the same thing.
When to See a Doctor
Ordinary mood swings and fatigue are nothing to worry about, but which symptoms might be cause for concern when it comes to menopause? Although depression is not a direct symptom, it can show up in some menopausal women. Those who already have a history of depression may find it growing worse. Therefore if you do experience it yourself, it can be a good idea to talk to your doctor.
You might also ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy, also referred to as HRT. This can relieve some of the emotional or mood-altering symptoms of menopause.
You should also consult your doctor if you find your mood swings or other menopausal symptoms are bad enough to interfere with your daily life. Are you experiencing insomnia? Hot flashes? Is your irritability or lack of motivation affecting your ability to work? Talk to either your general practitioner or your gynecologist and see what can be done to help you.
Menopause may be a drag, but it shouldn’t be torture. If you find that any of your symptoms are too hard to deal with, hindering you from your normal life, or just making you miserable, talk to your doctor. With a little help and support from those around you, you can get through it and potentially feel better than ever.