Menopause and mental health

Menopause is a natural part of life for women, but it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. This is partly because there are many myths about menopause, such as the belief that menopausal women have no sex drive or that they're cold all the time.


Another reason why menopause causes stress is that it's surrounded by stigma. Many people believe that you're getting old when you reach this stage in life, which can lead them to feel ashamed about their changing bodies. But really, it's just another part of being human!

In addition to having hot flashes and other physical symptoms (such as vaginal dryness), some women experience mood changes during perimenopause -andropause only affects men! These mood changes may include feelings like sadness or depression, irritability, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger/rage outbursts, lack of motivation, fatigue/exhaustion, memory problems, trouble concentrating/focusing on tasks at hand, insomnia due to night sweats, sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction, suicidal ideations, etc.

The menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle is a series of phases that occur each month. Each phase has its own characteristics, and the cycle repeats in 28-day intervals. The menstrual cycle is controlled by hormones, secreted by the brain, ovaries, and adrenal glands (a pair of glands located atop your kidneys). These hormones control your menstrual cycle:

Estrogen: A female sex hormone produced by the ovaries that prepares your body for pregnancy each month. Estrogen causes changes in your vaginal walls, cervical mucus (the clear secretion from cells lining your cervix), endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) and other reproductive organs during certain parts of each month. It also affects how sensitive you are to pain when you menstruate.

Progesterone: A female sex hormone secreted by a part of an ovary called the corpus luteum at midcycle when it begins producing progesterone after releasing an egg (ovulating). Progesterone causes growth of the uterine lining during pregnancy but prevents uterine contractions during menstruation if conception does not occur.

Pregnancy and the menopause

Menopause is not the only thing that changes in a woman’s life. Women's bodies change during pregnancy, and they also change after childbirth. Menopause and pregnancy are two different things. While menopause is a natural process, it can be stressful for some women because they don't know what to expect or how to cope with their feelings about it.


Perimenopause is a transitional phase that spans the years leading up to menopause. During this time, the ovaries gradually reduce their production of hormones. This can cause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.

Early stages of menopause

Menopause is a natural process, not a disease. It is not the end of life. It does not mean that you are aging or becoming weak or failing as a woman.

You may have heard that menopause is a sign of aging, but it's important to know that this isn't true- in fact, most women in their 40s and 50s can still have healthy sex lives. Some women report an improvement in their sex lives during menopause!

When people use the word "menopause," they often mean perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause). This can be confusing for people who haven't experienced it before because it sounds like something unpleasant - but going through perimenopause doesn't feel like getting your period has stopped…it feels more like getting your period started again after many years!

Surgical menopause

Surgical menopause can be caused by the removal of the ovaries. It can also occur when a woman has a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus).

The process may be temporary or permanent, depending on what caused it. Some women undergo surgical menopause after undergoing cancer treatment that removes their ovaries or uterus and other reproductive organs.

Symptoms of menopause

Menopause symptoms may include hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness and decreased libido, mood swings, and depression.

Menopause and weight gain

It's important to note that weight gain can be a symptom of menopause, not just an age-related health problem. In fact, one study found that 92% of women who gained weight during menopause were otherwise healthy and did not have preexisting conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. This means it's crucial to manage your body mass index (BMI) as you get older—even if you don't think you're at risk for obesity or other health problems.

If you've noticed that your jeans are getting tighter or clothes fit differently than they used to, it may be time to start thinking about how your diet and exercise habits could be affecting your waistline. While there's no magic formula for losing weight after starting menopause, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are two great ways to stay active without sabotaging yourself in the process!

Menopause is a natural process, not a disease. It is not the end of life. It does not mean that you are aging or becoming weak or failing as a woman.

HRT and menopause

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common treatment for menopause. It's a form of hormone therapy that replaces some of the hormones lost during the menopause process, which can cause symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. HRT also helps with chronic conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.

There are two main types of HRT: oestrogen only and combined oestrogen-progesterone therapy. Estrogen-only HRT usually starts before menopause has finished to help ease symptoms or prevent them altogether. Once you're through your changeover period, you'll need to take both oestrogen and progesterone until your body stops producing its own hormones naturally - usually between 10 years after your last menstrual cycle or when you turn 56 years old (whichever comes first).

Stress and menopause

Stress can make menopause worse. It's a fact that many women experience during their transition period to perimenopause and beyond.

Stress can make menopause symptoms worse, both in the short term and throughout your life. Stress can make menopause symptoms appear earlier than they normally would, causing you to experience more severe mood swings or other physical symptoms than your friends in their 40s or 50s who haven't experienced as much stress in their lives.

Stress can also make menopause symptoms last longer than usual - for example, if you've been under constant pressure for weeks on end, this could cause depression or anxiety which may be so severe that it lasts longer than usual and requires treatment by a professional before returning back into normal functioning levels again!

Andropause is a real thing, but it's much less talked about than menopause.
It's important to note that menopause is a natural process. It's not a disease and it's not a sign of aging, but some people do experience mental health symptoms during this time in their lives. The difference between menopause and andropause is that menopause is caused by hormonal changes in the body, whereas andropause happens because of changes in testosterone levels as you age.

Menopause can also be treated with medication, or you may be able to manage your symptoms through lifestyle changes and therapy if they're severe enough. If you're struggling with any aspect of menopause or andropause—whether it's physical or mental—please know that there are lots of resources available for support!

It’s important to remember that menopause is a natural part of life. It can be difficult for some women, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary. If you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed during this time, reach out for help. Talk to your doctor or another trusted professional who can guide you on the path toward better mental health during these years of transition.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Epsom, Surrey, KT17
Written by Karina Godwin
Epsom, Surrey, KT17
I am an Integrative Psychotherapist.

Being an integrative psychotherapist means I will tailor our sessions to your needs and draw from a range of approaches to work creatively with you and act as a catalyst for new perspectives to emerge.

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