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Why am I feeling anxious?

Did you know that some of the first symptoms of perimenopause are anxiety and low mood 😞?

You might be sitting thinking ‘but I am too young to be perimenopausal’ or ‘I still get regular periods so I can’t be perimenopausal’. However, if you have started to notice that you are feeling low and can’t seem to enjoy the things you used to or you find yourself constantly worrying about doing things that never used to be an issue then maybe you are entering into this stage of your life. Perimenopause can start up to 10 years before menopause and reduced or irregular periods are not usually the first symptom. Psychological symptoms of the menopause are extremely common and can be the thing that bothers you the most. Feeling more anxious and low mood are not the only psychological symptoms, you might have low self-esteem, reduced motivation, low energy, irritability or poor concentration. All of these can lead to you 'just not feeling yourself'. In fact I would say that is the war cry of women as they enter into perimenopuase.

So why are your emotions so impacted? Well its because estrogen plays a role in regulating your 'feel-good' hormone serotonin. Serotonin plays a critical role in carrying messages round your brain which impacts on mood, energy and motivation. So basically if your hormones are out of balance then your emotions will be out of balance.

If you go and see a GP explaining your low mood or anxiety then you might be offered anti-depressants. However, there is a lot of l evidence that if your low mood is due to hormones then antidepressants won’t help. In fact the NICE guidelines say that if low mood is due to hormones then HRT should be offered not anti-depressants. Don’t be scared to discuss your symptoms with your GP (you can use my symptom checklist to assist with the conversation) and it’s never too early to start a discussion about HRT. There are other also other things you can consider trying to help improve your psychological wellbeing including healthy eating, regular exercise, meditation and reducing alcohol intake.

Talking therapy is known to be beneficial during perimenopause and menopause to help with the emotional impact. I offer support to women who are perimenopausal or menopausal to explore the emotional impact it may be having on them and to help look at strategies that can help you feel more confident as you enter into this stage of your life 😊


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