Getting older can be a pain! Menopause or even peri-menopause can cause unwanted symptoms as our bodies experience fluctuations in hormone levels. In addition to physical sensations, it's common to feel irritable, anxious, forgetful, and sad during this time. Some women even experience panic attacks for this first time in their lives. We suffer and often those close to us do too!
Did you know that menopause can cause of anxiety? You might wonder why this would happen. One theory is that surges in hormone levels cause physical sensations and reactions that can trick our brains into thinking we are afraid. Hot flashes, breaking out in a sweat and a racing heartbeat are fairly typical as we go through menopause. It's easy to see how ther brain could misinterpret this as a fear reaction, and sound an alarm that there must be danger, increasing our feelings of anxiety even more.
What Can You Do About Menopause Anxiety?
If your diet is high in sugar and processed foods, the problem gets worse. Jolts of sugar into the bloodstream from foods like donuts, candy, sodas, ice cream, and desserts overwhelm the body's natural systems. Ever notice that quick happy buzz that happens right after eating something sweet? Your heart beats a little faster as you get that sugar high. This can also make you feel anxious. And of course we are all familiar with the inevitable crash that comes afterwards, the sick feeling as our body struggles to cope with the correct insulin and sugar balance. This cycle increases risk of diabetes and also plays havoc with our emotions, making us vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
At a time when crazy hormone levels are influencing our emotions, anything we can do to balance hormone levels and maintain even blood sugar levels is going to help. Many women find that just avoiding sugar and sodas can help.
What about soy products? You have probably heard mixed reviews about adding soy to your diet. Women in Asia typically do not have the extreme menopause symptoms that women in North America do. Some studies attiribute this to the higher levels of soy in Asian diets. If you decide to add soy to your diet, ensure that you are adding the same type of soy that is part of traditional Asian diets. This is NOT highly processed and modified. Another fact to be aware of is that some forms of soy act as an estrogen imitator. This can be positive for some women as it may provide the same effect as estrogen at a time when estrogen levels are being reduced. It can also be a problem however in regard to estrogen linked cancers, and therefore is not suitable for everyone.
There is one sure thing that all of us can do to reduce feelings of anxiety during menopause and that is to exercise! It's easy, effective and free! Go to the gym, work out at home or even just get outside and go for a walk. Exercise increases the level of endorphins and serotonins in the body. These are important for maintaining positive mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and sadness.
There are also some herbal remedies that many people find effective. Many people find that herbs like Black Cohoosh, Lemon Balm, PassionFlower, Valerian, and many others are helpful in fighting menopause anxiety.