Jacqueline Boden a GP and menopause specialist
Anxiety, from mild to completely disabling is a very common feature of the menopause.
Most women that I talk to in the clinic do not realise that it is the hormone deficiency that is causing it….they put it down to ‘getting old’ , not being able to cope with the same degree of stress, due to being the ‘ sandwich generation ’- struggling to support growing children and help ageing parents. It is often compounded by the fear that they are developing dementia because of the increasing brain fog and memory loss.
Palpitations are common, and women have often had heart scans and 24 hour heart recordings – all of which are most usually normal.
It is important to exclude other causes of the physical symptoms of anxiety, but for the majority of women, replacing oestrogen, and in some cases testosterone is what is needed to help them.
Lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine and alcohol, exercising and learning relaxation techniques are also important and these are all much easier to achieve once hormones are replaced and motivation and energy return.
One of the best parts of my job is the follow up appointments, when women who were distressed, nervous and bleak return to the clinic with a smile, energy and optimism.
As you head towards menopause, the levels of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone produced by your ovaries begin to fluctuate and fall. There’s nothing you can do to alter the age at which you reach menopause as this is mostly influenced by genetics, unless of course you’ve had a surgical menopause following a hysterectomy,…