At a certain point of a cisgender woman’s life, the body enters menopause, also known as climacteric. In this process, menstrual cycles have stopped completely and childbearing is no longer possible. Typically starting between the ages of 45 and 55, this change can trigger physical and mental symptoms possibly needing treatment by physical and mental health professionals.
Signs of menopause typically begin as the production of estrogen declines and periods decrease in frequency. During this process, hot flashes, sweats and a drying and thinning of the vaginal wall will occur as well. Up to two-thirds of menopausal women will experience the overheating.
Although not directly connected, weakening of bone strength, weight gain and mood change tend to occur in this time frame.
Menopause has shown to increase the risk of depression in some people. The Carlat Psychiatry Report cites a study focusing on women attending menopause clinics, which found depression at a 30 percent rate. The report does caution against taking this research at face value, as a specialized clinic is bound to attract certain groups over typical subjects.
The report also found depressive symptoms more likely leading up to menopause compared to the actual event.
Treatments for menopause and its symptoms can include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and estrogen, although many individuals forgo treatment and choose to adjust their lifestyles.
George Krucik, M.D., recommends eating a healthier diet when entering the typical age for menopause, if not earlier. The drop in female-orientated hormones can create a vulnerability to weight gain, necessitating a focus on fitness. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are also a concern, so taking supplements and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables could help prevent health complications.
Altered sleeping patterns is also a common complication during menopause. Hot flashes don’t help the problem, so those going through menopause should sleep in a cool room with sheets and clothes that breathe well. Drink a fair amount of water so dehydration does not occur. Learn relaxation techniques to bear through the flashes and sleep restfully.
Blood pressure is another concern in later years as estrogen levels fall. See a doctor on a regular basis for tests and possible medical interventions.
The side effects of menopause can trigger mental health problems like anxiety and depression. While some treatments can help with the physical transition, taking care of mental health can require a different kind of care. Mental health professionals at Sovereign Health Group of Arizona specialize in women’s issues and their possible mental health complications. For a consultation at any time, please call 866-598-5661.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer
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