Can you stop hot flashes, hormonal night sweats and other signs of menopause with a positive attitude? Probably not, but an optimistic outlook can make menopause easier to bear, and may possibly decrease menopause symptoms. According to gynecologists at Loyola University Health System, a positive attitude may help women cope with signs of menopause.
Dr. Karen Deighan, chair of obstetrics/gynecology at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Loyola University Health System said she gives her perimenopausal patients a pep talk to prepare them.
“I tell them that they shouldn’t just let this transition happen. Women can be proactive about their health and take steps to minimize the side effects of menopause before it occurs.”
Menopause doesn’t just mean hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. Fluctuating hormones can also cause many women to gain 5 to 10 pounds, especially around the waist. Further, bones can become thinner and more fragile, sleep can be disturbed, and you can even experience bladder leakage.
Deighan’s tips to prepare for menopause include exercising all parts of your body. For example, she recommends:
- pelvic-floor-strengthening exercises such as kegels
- weight-bearing exercises for your bones
- exercises like crossword puzzles, etc. to keep your brain sharp
However, Dr. Holly L. Thacker points out that menopause may be a tough time to maintain a good attitude. In Recognizing and Treating Menopause Symptoms: A 50+ woman’s guide, Thacker writes:
Menopause is not a major risk for clinical depression. However, the hormone changes that occur at this point in a woman’s life can influence the neurotransmitters in the brain–serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine–that regulate brain function. This trio of neurotransmitters sends messages to various parts of the brain responsible for functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, sexual interest, and sense of well-being.
Estrogen may stimulate the brain and boost serotonin, while progesterone may reduce serotonin. Rapid fluxes in hormone levels can throw some women out of sync. Considering this, it’s not far-fetched to say that menopause can be the breaking point that throws a woman’s mood into a tailspin, particularly if her neurotransmitters are already running on empty. The fact is that one in three women will be diagnosed with major depression at some point in their lives. This frequently coincides with menopause, particularly if the perimenopausal transition is especially long or difficult. Menopause can also aggravate any existing depression.
Thacker recommends that should you begin to feel depressed or overwhelmed during menopause, you should talk over your symptoms with your doctor.
“Most important remember that depression is a treatable condition, not a sign of weakness or something you should be ashamed about,” she said. “You can do something about it and feel better.”
For more helpful information, download our free report: 5 Proven Remedies to Reduce Hot Flashes During Menopause.