Understanding Postmenopause and Emotional Changes That Can Occur

Menopause and Emotions

According to Massachusetts General Hospital, more than 1.3 million women in the United States reach menopause each year. Although physical changes occur during menopause, there are emotional changes as well. Declining estrogen levels associated with menopause can make women feel like they’re in a constant state of premenstrual syndrome or PMS, wrote WebMD.

Emotional changes are a normal part of menopause and unfortunately what comes after. Postmenopause. Women are postmenopausal when a year has elapsed since their last period, said the Independent. The psychological element of menopause is valid, wrote LiveStrong.com. Women are feeling the effects of changing hormone levels. Hormones affect moods, and menopause involves major hormonal changes in your body. The emotional changes associated with menopause vary with each woman. LiveStrong.com said each woman's emotional experience is specific to her life and body. Emotional instability may involve drastic mood changes or subtle feelings. WebMD reported that some of the emotional changes can include irritability, feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, anxiety, aggressiveness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, mood changes, tension and even depression.

One study from Harvard University found women were twice as likely to develop significant depressive symptoms after they entered menopause, wrote EverydayHealth.com. Other research found that women between ages 45 and 64 — a period of time that coincides with menopause and postmenopause — have the lowest emotional well-being of any age group or gender in America.

Researchers aren't exactly sure why menopause and beyond is associated with emotional changes, but there are many theories. Often menopause and postmenopause are accompanied by children leaving home or the stress of caring for elderly parents, said LiveStrong.com. Experiencing the end of childbearing years and "getting old" can bring additional emotions of sadness, anger and frustration. While there is growing evidence suggesting hormone therapy (HT) can relieve emotional symptoms, said Cleveland Clinic, HT alone is not effective in treating more severe depression. Article by Stacy Loyd