Menopause and Anxiety

 

This article by Madeleine Taylor was originally published on SundayScaries.

 

In addition to the physical symptoms associated with menopause, the process of your body changing can also wreak havoc on your mental and emotional health. One of the primary symptoms women report during menopause is anxiety. This is likely caused by hormonal changes in conjunction with an emotional response to aging. Regardless of what’s causing the anxiety, there’s no denying it can be burdensome.

But there’s good news: there are ways to curb menopausal anxiety. An overall healthy lifestyle can be one of the most powerful tools for relieving menopause symptoms, but that isn’t always enough. For some women, additional treatment is needed to combat the symptoms of menopause, especially anxiety.

 

Menopause (Alternate Title: “That Shit is Rough”)

Menopause might seem like a simple transition—though some women might welcome the relief of not having to worry about pregnancy, cramps, pain, bleeding, mood swings, etc.—but it can be extremely difficult for some women.

The negative aspects of menopause can be debilitating. Women experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, fatigue, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms can last for months or years, including before, during, and after menopause.

In many cases, when women struggle with menopause symptoms that are severe, a doctor will recommend medication or hormone treatment. For instance, if a woman is feeling depressed during menopause, her doctor might recommend an antidepressant. If she’s unable to sleep, she might be prescribed a sleep aid. Since many symptoms of menopause are caused by fluctuations in hormone levels, doctors might recommend hormone treatments. Although there are safe and effective hormone therapies, additional negative side effects and risks are also involved.

 

Menopausal Anxiety

It’s probably safe to say that many of the medications and therapies available to treat menopause symptoms come with their own baggage, especially considering the time it takes to get dosages correct. Simply trying to address these symptoms can cause additional anxiety. Nearly everyone experiences some degree of anxiety from time to time and, in many cases, anxiety is a tool that helps us recognize a dangerous situation. Anxiety related to menopause, however, does not serve as a warning signal for danger. It can interfere with your daily life and make it difficult to function. Symptoms of menopausal anxiety might include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle aches and tension
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nervous energy

It’s easy to see why living with anxiety for a prolonged period of time can make life miserable—especially if the anxiety is paired with any other symptoms related to menopause.

 

Treating Menopausal Anxiety with CBD

As you may (or may not) know, CBD works on the endocannabinoid system—a group of cannabinoid receptors—which is believed to play a role in such functions as:

  • Mood regulation
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Reproductive system
  • Temperature regulation

According to an article in Medical Wellness Today, “Menopause seems to disrupt the endocannabinoid system, and there are cannabinoid receptors throughout the reproductive system, so it is possible that CBD oil could reduce some of the symptoms relating to menopause.” CBD oil also works on serotonin receptors in the brain. These receptors play a major role in anxiety and when CBD binds to the receptors it produces an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effect.

Taking small doses of CBD oil for several days and gradually increasing the dosage has been shown to help ease anxiety. Most people are able to tolerate CBD oil and find relief from their symptoms in just a few days. Some people experience relief immediately.

If you are struggling with menopausal anxiety and other treatment hasn’t worked, or you’re concerned about the side effects linked to other treatments, CBD oil might be right for you.

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