Stress during the peri/post-menopause evolution is no surprise. This experience is full of surprising signals from your body, shifts in perception of self, and changes in your relationships to others. Add in a dash of mood changes, a common characteristic of the menopausal flow, and your evolution may be feeling more like a storm.
You're never alone. Kindra is a community. Sure, we have offerings that can help manage some of the most common menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Beyond these offerings, we have a space to give voice to all the things women experience during this time in the form of our Facebook community and our virtual journal.
We're going to dig into what causes stress during menopause, how mood changes come into the picture, and what can be done to bring forth peace in this era and beyond.
Perimenopause: Where the Stress Begins
Perimenopause is labeled as the first phase of menopause. Yet, we're going to dissect this common menopausal language to explain a bit more. Perimenopause onsets about four years before your final period. Perimenopause is when you'll notice irregular periods, fluctuations in mood, and other side effects from shifting hormone levels. Menopause is scientifically referred to as the last period and the 12 months that follow. Post-menopause is the time spanning after menopause, lasting about four to five months. However, in how we conceptualize the menopausal experience, we see it as a transition, an evolution, and a major shift that flows despite which phase you're in. Simply put: Life changes during perimenopause and those changes stick around throughout menopause and postmenopause.
As perimenopause approaches, estrogen levels begin to lower. Estrogen is a hormone that helps with many typical functions of the body. For example, lower levels of estrogen can cause the hypothalamus to become overly sensitive. The hypothalamus is best understood as the body's internal thermostat. A super sensitive hypothalamus means that when your body temperature shifts even by just one degree, a hot flash can be triggered. Ever noticed that you experience a hot flash when the air conditioner comes on? That's all it takes to trigger a heat wave. Our Core Dietary Supplement addresses some of the most common symptoms women experience. Hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, and increased stress levels are all soothed by our best-selling all-in-one formula.
Hot flashes aren't the only side effect of a sensitive hypothalamus. Night sweats are the nocturnal sibling to hot flashes. If an air conditioner can trigger a hot flash, it's no wonder that slight temperature changes as you sleep can lead to soaked sheets and a lack of sleep. Our Sleep Supplement is designed to keep you dreaming, through the midlife evolution and beyond. Lowered estrogen levels can also lead to vaginal dryness. Dryness down there can lead to irritation, itching and overall discomfort. Lowered sex drive can also come into the picture too. Our Daily Vaginal Lotion is a soothing formula filled with nourishing plant humectants, delivering relief within just two uses.
Even just one of these symptoms alone can cause stress and negatively impact your moods. Keep reading for insight into ways to nurture your emotional wellness during this time.
Mood Changes and Menopause Symptoms
Mood changes are a challenging aspect of this evolution. Let's first start with naming what these mood changes are. Mood changes can feel like stress, irritability, anxiety, sadness, even unexpected tears coming out of nowhere. There's hope and there's help. First up, creating a network of social support can help ease some of these difficult mood changes. Our aforementioned Facebook group is a collective of women across the globe who are experiencing menopausal evolution. It is a safe space for straight talk amongst kindred spirits -- join us!
Next, know when to seek help. If you're finding that you're feeling particularly down or anxious to the point of it severely impacting your daily life, even resulting in feelings of harming yourself, then it is time to seek some professional help. There's no shame in needing some support from a trained psychotherapist. Find the right person for you with a handy therapist directory like Psychology Today. They can work with you in managing some of the menopausal moods as well as discuss if alternative offerings like antidepressants are necessary.
A Holistic Approach to Women's Health
Hormone therapy isn't an option for everyone. In fact, it can be a pretty intense option for many women, as there is a link to an increased risk of breast cancer when undergoing hormone therapy. There's support off the beaten path that can significantly support the menopausal evolution. According to The North American Menopause Society, acupuncture can help decrease the occurrence of hot flashes. Acupuncture also has great effects on mental health throughout a woman's life. For example, it is incredibly relaxing, which can offset the stressors of symptoms and body changes. Mindfulness is another proven support that can ease some of the mental chatter that comes with hormonal changes.
Regular exercise is another key. Not only can it soothe anxiety and ease sleep problems, it can also decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease. Try a low-impact, calming regimen like pilates or yoga for all the stress relief.
Cultivating Mental Wellness During COVID
Managing stress, mood swings, and overall mental wellness during COVID-19 poses some challenges. Opt for a mask in a light, breathable fabric. If you're experiencing panic attacks and find that the challenges of the pandemic are playing a large role in your life, reach out to your doctor for medical advice. They can help point you in the right direction for your mental health, whether that is holistic lifestyle shifts or psychiatry support. Distance from family members may only exacerbate some of the hard feelings you're navigating -- opt for creating new traditions virtually or with loving distance to create a sense of normalcy, routine, and connection.