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Help with Perimenopause

The “Menopausal Madness” and the brain hormones gushes and dips throughout the menopausal process and affects your brain. Here’s what happens, why, and how to cope.

On average, the hormonal transition to menopause begins four years prior to your actual menstrual-Stopping and one of the common signs to these transitions are anxiety and panic attacks. It is also statistically quoted that one in every four women aging between 40 to 59 years old, takes antidepressant. This age group includes both perimenopause; the stage leading up to menopause – to the earliest years of menopause itself.

In a study, it was found that when a perimenopausal women was compared to either younger or older women, they have higher levels of brain protein linked to depression. “This is the first time that a biological change in the brain has been identified in perimenopause which is also associated with clinical depression,” said Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching.

The reason why this happens is because it’s all linked to the deteriorating levels of hormones that takes place during the earliest stage of perimenopause and menopause. When the right level of estrogen and progesterone is not produced by the ovaries, it leads to some physical changes in women which includes hot flashes, weight gain and night sweats.

Menopause in general can also affect our brain because; the inability to produce more hormones will lead to a decline in the production of brain chemicals too. This therefore can take a toll on our emotional life and in our ability to perform; such as how one feel about oneself, as well as our memory, attention, and overall mood. Many women reports this “menopausal madness” as a sense that feels out of control, especially when they recognize that their mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be.

How to cope:

The first thing you must realise is that you are NOT losing your mind. You may think that you are acting or feeling crazy and having irrational thoughts but basically, you’re OK. The good news is: ‘As much as the menopausal madness is inevitable, good measures can be taken that helps to makes a difference towards the betterment of overcoming this phase of life for every women’. Among the most important are as below:

Reduce Stress In Your Life

According to Harvard University stress expert Alice Domar, PhD, the effect of stress on hormone activity can be so profound that it is capable of inducing symptoms. Therefore reducing stress can have the opposite effect. In studies that Domar conducted, the results indicated that there was a 30% decrease in woman’s hot flashes, with a significant drop in anxiety and depression level when they were engaged in an organised relaxation activity. They also reported fewer mood swings and more stable emotions overall.

The good news: Reducing even small stresses in your life – or simply setting aside some time every day to relax and unwind – can not only affect hormone balance but have a dramatic effect on your mood swings too.

Sleep Your Way Towards A Happier Menopause

While hormones influence your mood and your temper, what can make everything seem worse is a lack of sleep. If getting good night sleep is tough for you, you’re not alone.A study published in the journal Menopause in 2001 observed that “insomnia is a repeatedly reported difficulties faced by many menopausal women.”

The reason: As much as you are sleeping or wanting to be asleep, because your estrogen level is still up and dancing all night long, that continual action can interrupt a healthy sleep. This therefore reduces both the quality and the quantity of your sleep. And when that happens it can cause your waking hours to be filled with even more menopause symptoms, particularly emotion based problems.

However, there are ways to induce better midlife sleep and in doing so help control some of these symptoms. For Instance, avoiding hot and spicy foods, as well as caffeine, at least several hours before bedtime may prevent you from staying awake and helps to decrease hot flashes during your sleep. Also, relaxation can also have a positive effect. Cornell University sleep expert Samuel Dunkell, MD, says that taking 20 to 30 minutes to engage in a particularly relaxing activity right before going to bed may help you fall into a deeper sleep faster

Talk to your healthcare provider

Lastly, talking to your health care provider can also benefit you because as mentioned, one of the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause is also increment in anxiety level. For some cases, anxiety might be severe enough till it needs to be treated. Untreated anxiety can lead to heart disease, depression, and a host of other health problems too. So anxiety needs to be identified and taken seriously by both you and your health care provider as there are many good treatments for anxiety.

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