Updated: Mar 22
Menopause has an onslaught of hidden symptoms, the kind you may never have even thought of. Studies show that roughly 50% of perimenopausal and menopausal women suffer from anxiety. This can be extremely stressful to experience, especially if anxiety is an all-new sensation for you. We all suffer from occasional bouts of anxiety, but menopause can exacerbate this feeling, leaving you lacking in confidence and feeling helpless. So, what can you do about it? How long does the feeling last? And, more importantly, will it go away? Let's figure it out together.
Is Menopause Anxiety Normal?
Absolutely! There's nothing weird or out of the ordinary about menopausal anxiety. In fact, I have been asked this question by women more times than I can count. For some women, it's the first time they have experienced heightened anxiety. Which can leave them feeling overwhelmed. It's completely normal to have bouts of anxiety during menopause. Anxiety can present itself in many ways too, so what one person may experience might be different from the next. For instance, anxiety can make you lose your confidence, and make you feel like your completely helpless. And yet, in others, it can cause irritability and crankiness. Or maybe for you, it's just a physical sensation!
But, that doesn't mean you should have to feel this way all the time. There are many things that will help manage the symptoms of anxiety. You certainly shouldn't feel ashamed of these feelings. And hopefully, I'll be able to help put your mind somewhat at ease throughout this post. We'll discuss the feelings and symptoms, why it happens, and even a little bit about what you can do! So read on, and just remember - you're not alone in this!
What Does Menopause Anxiety Feel Like?
Great question! Most of us will at one time or another experience anxiety, menopause anxiety can creep up on us, out of the blue. And if it's not a common experience for you, the symptoms of menopausal anxiety might not even make any sense to you. To help you better understand what this particular anxiety feels like, I'll break down some of the main symptoms here.
Much of the time the symptoms are physical, making your heart feel like it's racing quite suddenly, maybe even leaving you feeling dizzy. Sometimes, this can feel like an episode of vertigo, you might feel shaky, and notice that your hands are trembling, or feel shivers throughout your body.
You might find yourself feeling more emotional than usual, not just sad or upset, but even scared or angry! Of course, this can be really distressing, which might lead you to spiral. Dealing with this kind of emotional turmoil can actually lead to emotional eating and weight gain.
Add in disturbed and disrupted sleep and these issues can leave you feeling less confident in yourself and your life. And it affects parts of your life you might not even consider! It can impact your relationships, making you feel like you're not as close as you used to be with loved ones, and like you're not as desirable. Not to mention the possible decrease in libido and the effect that can have on your sex life!
These symptoms might leave you questioning who you are, and your identity - but don't dismay, hope isn't lost, just make sure you read on to the end ;).
Can Menopause Make Anxiety Worse?
For those that have a history of anxiety, menopause can amplify and exacerbate anxiety symptoms. This in turn can lead to an increase in how often you experience these symptoms, and make them feel much more intense. Some research has shown that there may be an association between anxiety and hot flashes. For some women, what once was a simple task or activity, becomes stressful and challenging. Menopausal anxiety is often overlooked, not taken seriously, or dismissed as something that happens as part of ageing. I've had friends tell me they've walked out of their doctor's office feeling "stupid" for raising the issue of anxiety. And if the doctor doesn't immediately make you feel like a fool for having brought it up in the first place, they just want to throw pills at the problem. No doubt, this makes women or anyone dealing with these symptoms feel even worse than they already do.
How Long Does Menopause Anxiety Last?
This is a tricky question, everyone has a different experience with anxiety - symptoms and reactions range wildly from person to person. A single episode of anxiety may last from a few minutes to a few hours, or for some, days. Across the lifetime of menopause, anxiety can come and go. The important thing to remember is that there are many things we can do to manage these symptoms allowing us to live full vibrant lives, and not live in the shadow of anxiety.
Why is Menopause Anxiety Worse at Night?
Sleep during menopause can be disrupted due to night sweats, needing to go to the bathroom, and overheating. When sleep is disrupted the body becomes stressed. This means that we experience a rise in stress hormones. These are the same stress hormones that fluctuate with anxiety. Getting a good night's sleep is important to help manage menopause symptoms. Following some simple pre-bedtime steps to improve the quality of sleep can improve night-time-induced anxiety. Our Lights Out Psych-Bite contains the tools you need to take back control of your sleep hygiene.
How to Calm Menopause Anxiety
I love being asked this question because there is a lot that we can do to calm menopause anxiety. As mentioned getting a good night's sleep is one. Using relaxation and stress management techniques. I encourage women to set up a 7-day self-care challenge to focus them on daily self-care using a mindful approach. Adopting a nutrition plan that has foods known to relieve anxiety, along with an exercise regimen that eases the nervous system. Talking to friends and family, or a professional, about how we feel is another important step to reducing anxiety. There are also medications, such as HRT, that a doctor can prescribe and don't overlook the benefits of natural supplements like ashwagandha. Just remember, no matter who you are you don't have to go this alone. My goal is to empower anyone who is experiencing menopause, and my No Pause Menopause program is exactly what you need to start feeling like yourself again.