Maxed out by menopause and all those symptoms you’re experiencing? You’re not alone. A study of electronic medical records discovered that a whopping 85% of postmenopausal women have experienced a menopause-related symptom at some point in their life, and approximately 40 to 50 million women in the US have experienced hot flashes or night sweats.
Feel better? We didn’t think so. For many women, menopause and perimenopause and all those symptoms that come with it are no joke. Symptoms can be inconvenient, if not downright disruptive. And they cause anxiety when they hit. So what to do? Let’s take a look at a few of the most common menopausal symptoms, their causes, and what you can do to get relief.
Menopause and Anxiety
We’ll start here. Why? Because the whole transition can be somewhat scary. One day you begin to notice that you don’t feel the same way you usually feel. You start having heart palpitations, waking up at all hours of the night to pee, and you get so hot that you feel like you will jump out of your skin. Who wouldn’t feel anxious?
But it’s not just the combination of other symptoms that causes anxiety. Those nice steady hormone levels (hopefully steady) are now rising and falling at random intervals and going to extremes. This could make anyone crazy.
It also triggers up your nervous system because it thinks that there’s something wrong with you. Not only do you have a sense that there’s something wrong, but your nervous system tries to keep you safe by starting up the fight or flight response. Cortisol, adrenaline, everything skyrockets. Yuck!
What can you do about anxiety associated with menopause?
- Visit a qualified professional to rule out any other possible conditions.
- Stop and take a deep breath.
- Exercise it out.
- Talk with a trusted friend, loved one, or counselor.
- Practice yoga, meditation, or tai chi.
Menopause and Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations can freak you out. However, we have some answers as to why this happens during menopause.
Most of us have a nice steady heartbeat that only rises with exercise, excitement, fear, or when we fall in love. But women who’re making the transition from their childbearing years into post-menopause often find themselves with a loud racing heartbeat or skipping heartbeats that arise from nowhere.
When that happens, your first thought may be, “I’m having a heart attack!” But if you have a hormone imbalance associated with menopause, then this is par for the course. In most cases, heart palpitations aren’t cause for concern and will go away on their own.
However, in some women, heart palpitations may be caused by an underlying heart condition.
What can you do about menopause and heart palpitations?
- Visit a qualified professional to rule out any underlying conditions not related to menopause.
- Stop and take a deep breath.
- Limit caffeine intake.
- Stop smoking (although we know many of you might have heart palpitations at the thought).
Menopause and Chest Tightness
Chest tightness is not a menopausal symptom that you hear much about, so it can be particularly unnerving if you experience it – especially during COVID times. Shortness of breath, chest pain, or tightness can be tricky, so it’s definitely worth seeing your doctor as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, hormone changes can also lead to some cardiac issues, but chest tightness during perimenopause could also be caused by heartburn, gallbladder problems, sore muscles, panic attacks, or depression.
What can you do to relieve chest tightness during menopause?
- Visit a qualified professional immediately to rule out underlying heart conditions.
- Apply heat like a wet, hot compress to the area.
- Avoid overworking or over exercising.
- Change your eating habits or take an over-the-counter medication, depending on what is causing the tightness.
- Relieve stress by meditating, practicing yoga, taking a deep dive into an enjoyable hobby, or talking with a friend or therapist.
Hot Flashes and Menopause
Hot flashes can be a little different for each individual. Some women may get a little flushed and feel like the room got a little hotter for a short while. Other women may turn red, sweat profusely, feel like they’re burning up, and need to strip off all of their clothes.
Either way, the cause is the same. Research suggests that hot flashes occur when estrogen levels decrease and cause your hypothalamus to become more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature. If the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it begins a chain of events to cool you down, resulting in a hot flash.
What can you do about hot flashes associated with menopause?
- Avoid triggers like stress, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, tight clothing, heat, and smoking.
- Practice deep abdominal breathing.
- Exercise daily.
- Talk with your doctor about prescription drugs that may bring relief.
Menopause and Mood Swings
When you’re caught up in a mood swing, you may not notice it until someone else points it out to you. Your mood could swing from being excited to angry to impatient to balling your head off in just a few minutes. Again, menopause and anxiety about these things go hand in hand!
These mood swings can dominate your whole personality, making you and your loved ones wonder what alien species has taken over your body. Like menopause anxiety, mood swings can be caused by two factors: hormone imbalance, and as a reaction to the experience of going through menopause and living with its symptoms.
What can you do about mood swings associated with menopause?
- Make sure you aren’t pregnant.
- If mood swings are wrecking your life, don’t give up. Balancing your hormones can help.
- Exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet.
- Do your best to get enough sleep.
- Pursue supportive friendships
Menopause and Sweating Night and Day
During perimenopause, night sweats don’t just happen at night! They can happen any time of the day. They are most often associated with nighttime because hormone levels can swing even more drastically at night. This can result in much more severe hot flashes.
Hot flashes have to end somewhere. After all, it’s your body’s way of regulating temperature. So what happens when you get hot? You sweat. And sweat! And sweat! This can leave your clothes and bedding soaked.
This is very different to an ongoing experience of excessive sweating which your practitioner can diagnose and treat.
What can you do about sweating associated with menopause?
- Wear light clothing.
- Keep your environment pleasant and cool.
- Take a cool shower, use a fan, or drink a cool drink.
- Reduce your stress levels.
- Avoid spicy food, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Starting to sound familiar?
That’s because you need to treat the underlying cause of menopausal symptoms, hormone imbalance. There are many lifestyle changes that you can make to support your hormones. But that’s not always enough.
What’s the Most Effective Way to Treat Menopause and All its Symptoms?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)! Want to know more? Want to see how BHRT can help with the menopause anxiety you naturally feel when any of these symptoms hit?
You can read all about it here. Or, even better, make an appointment with our expert practitioners today to learn more and get to the root cause of your symptoms!