Most women who reach menopause are confronted with anxiety. This symptom of menopause includes trembling, sleeping problems, breathlessness, clammy hands, stomach problems, sweating, racing heart, rapid breathing, irritability and fatigue. Other symptoms are excessive worrying about small problems. Anxiety can be a vicious circle: anxiety increases other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and the occurrence of these symptoms and inability to solve them immediately creates more anxiety. So it is important to break this circle.
Hormonal changes may also play a role in aggravating anxiety but the exact mechanism is not yet explained. This anxiety is not only caused by changes in the body but also by events which might occur during menopause, such as problems with job, children getting married or parents getting sick.
There are many natural ways to reduce this anxiety:
- Exercise – Doing relaxing exercises such as swimming, walking or yoga. Whenever you feel fear, try to inhale deeply and slowly from your belly during a few minutes. You can buy some relaxing CD’s which work on the principle of visualization.
- Relaxing herbs – Eat to food you like and take time. Some herbal teas or supplements (valerian, ginseng,chamomile, skullcap) can help to relax you.
- Healthy diet – Some products should be avoided such as too much alcohol (more than 1 glass daily), refined sugar, nicotine, caffeine, antidepressants or other drugs which can lead to dependence. It is important to keep your sugar level in your blood under control. When sugar level rises, due to consumption of sugar, adrenaline will be release which causes feelings of anxiety. Also when sugar levels are low adrenaline will be formed. Swings between high and low sugar levels can cause stress. To stabilize the blood sugar levels you should eat more frequently smaller portions. You should take enough vitamins (especially vitamins B) and minerals (especially magnesium).
- Discuss you problems and anxiety with others – When you discuss your anxiety with others the severity will decrease. Talking with other menopausal women who experience similar problems may help to relativise your anxiety.
- Cut down on jobs – If you have a full time job and at the same time have to take care of a household it is important to share some jobs with your husband or to hire some extra help.