The Connection Between Stress and Menopause

The Connection Between Stress and Menopause

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress. Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety. Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress.)

Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness. Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer. It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well.

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of well being can be negatively affected. The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Your diet has a lot to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms. Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints. Exercise can ostress and menopauseffset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels. Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

There is evidence is that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be a beneficial coping mechanisms to handle stress. In a 2011 study in Menopause, MBSR —which involves bringing awareness to your bodily sensations without judgment through such actions as stretching and breathing—reduced the “bother,” stress, and anxiety associated with hot flashes, as well as improved sleep and quality of life, even though it didn’t affect hot flash frequency or intensity.

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms. Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women. Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders.

Taking care of yourself with a good diet, practices like mindfulness and meditation, and exercise are all great ways to manage the symptoms of menopause. However, sometimes they’re simply not enough. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, bioidentical hormone therapy can help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Take our quiz
to find out if you might need to consider bioidentical hormone therapy.

 

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