Menopause and Mental Health

menopause and mental health
on Tue 2 Jul


There’s no doubt that women hitting menopause do suffer from mental health symptoms which range from anxiety , mood swings and brain fog to full blown panic attacks or depression. Indeed some research claims that women are two to four times more likely to experience depression.


However, it’s often difficult to unravel cause and effect in medical scenarios and perhaps there is no situation which more clearly illustrates this than trying to resolve whether the menopause itself affects an individual’s mental health.  Here’s why…


It’s possible that it’s coincidental

Approaching that time of life coincides with many life changes:


  • Your children could be leaving home leaving that inevitable empty nest
  • You may have to start more actively looking after your ageing parents
  • You may have to look after grandchildren at a time when you thought you’d got your life back!
  • You could be eating badly and doing little exercise
  • You may fear ageing in a society that values youth
  • You may feel as if you have hit the buffers in your career


It’s possible it could be consequential:


  • Hot flushes have led to sleep deprivation which makes it difficult to function
  • The end of menstruation and thus the ability to conceive can feel horribly finite
  • Vaginal dryness and loss of libido can strain marital relations
  • Mood swings may be affecting relationships with friends and family so that you are isolated


It’s possible it could be chemical:

We know that a reduction of oestrogen has a significant effect on your brain’s regulation of moods and emotions. This is both direct and indirect


Direct: Lowered levels of oestrogen cause lower levels of an enzyme known as MAO which damage neuro transmitters relaying dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine.


Indirect: the imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone causes stress in the body which consequentially produces  the stress hormone cortisol.


There’s a suggestion that some women who have previously suffered from severe PMS or post natal depression  struggle with more sever menopausal mood swings.


We also know that a reduction in oestrogen has been shown to have the potential to trigger or aggravate existing mental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.


Whatever your time of life,  if you are feeling low for a prolonged period of time you should talk to your GP.  And, if you are at a stage of perimenopause or menopause, you DO NOT just have to put up with mental health symptoms.


In terms of menopause, NICE  (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recognise that mental health challenges may be part of it and offer recommendations which include both medication with HRT and therapy through CBT. 


SSRI’s and SNRI’s (types of anti-depressants) have not been shown to be effective unless depression has actually been diagnosed.  For this reason it’s important to mention that your perimenopause or menopause is in progress otherwise you could be put on anti-depressants which may mask a symptom rather than solve the cause.


Unfortunately a 2018 survey by the British Journal of Family Medicine revealed that nearly 60% of GP’s were prescribing antidepressants for the management of the mood related symptoms so it may also help you to mention the NICE guidelines.


I do hope this has been helpful.


We make every effort to ensure that all health advice on this website is accurate and up to date. However it is for information purposes and should not replace a visit to your doctor or health care professional.

As the advice is general in nature rather than specific to individuals we cannot accept any liability for actions arising from its use nor can we be held responsible for the content of any pages referenced by an external link.


About Stephanie Acne Age-related Macular Degeneration AIDS alcohol units and effects allergies Andropause angina anorexia Anti Ageing Anxiety arrhythmia arthritis asthma atrial fibrillation back pain basic metabolic rate BHRT bio-identical hormones Biog Bloating blood pressure BMR bone density Book review bowel cancer brain fog brain tumour Bronchitis bulimia Bursitis calcium Cancer cancer signs and symptoms carpal tunnel syndromw cervical cancer Cervical smear Charles Bonnet Syndrome check your pulse cholesterol chronic fatigue syndrome coeliac disease cold virus contraception COPD coronary thrombosis coronavirus covid-19 Deep vein thrombosis dehydration signs Delaying menopause Dementia Depression dermatitis Diabetes Digestive problems digital health Donor advice DVT dyspareunia Ear infections Early menopause eating disorders eczema endometriosis exercise fertility fibroids fitness flu gallstones Gardisil Genetic testing government health policy hair loss hayfever Health Awareness Day Health Awareness Month Health Awareness week health warning healthy eating heart attack heart attacks Heart Disease Helpful supplements Hepatitis High blood pressure HIV Hives Hormone Replacement Therapy hormones hot flushes HPV HRT HRT & breast cancer HRT in the news HRT risks hydration benefits Hypertension IBS immune system itching Itchy Skin joint pain kidney function Laryngitis Leukaemia libido lichen sclerosus lifestyle liver Liver Disease Long Covid Symptoms lowered immmunity Lung cancer Lupus LUTS Macular Degeneration Magnesium# Male Menopause Managing Anxiety Managing Stress ME/CFS Men's health Meningitis Menoapuse advice for partners menopause menopause and dental health Menopause Specialist menopause symptoms Menopause Weight Gain menpause Menstrual Cycle Menstruation Menstruation and Athletes mental health Mental health support metabolism microbiome Migraine Migraines Motivation technique mouth cancer night sweats Norovirus oestrogen osteoarthritis Osteoporosis Paget's disease painful sex palpitations Pancreatic Cancer Parkinson's Parkinsons pelvic pain Perimenopause perimenopause and breast pain Pneumonia POI post menopause vocal syndrome Premature Ovarian Insufficiency Probiotics Prolapse prostate prostate cancer Pruritis Psoriasis Psychosexual medicine reflux rheumatoid arthritis Rosacea sarcoma self harming sex sex and disability sexual health Shingles Sinusitis skin cancer Skin health sleep Statins Staying positive STI's Strep A Strep throat stroke Takayasu Arteritis talks and presentations TB testosterone Tinnitus trying to lose weight tuberculosis Type 2 Diabetes underactive thyroid Urinary Infections Urinary Tract Infection Using a private GP UTI's vaginal dryness Vascular awareness month vegan diets Vitamin D Vulval itching Winter Vomiting Bug women's health World Health Day

Email enquiry form

How To Find Us

25 Harley Street, London W1G 9QW

Newsletter Signup

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.


We use MailChimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to MailChimp for processing. Learn more about MailChimp's privacy practices here.