Words & Image: Shelley Chapman
With anxiety during the menopause.
This month I’m talking about anxiety, not a ‘symptom’ you’d necessarily associate with the menopause, or peri-menopause. Peri-menopause is the build-up to your periods totally stopping. It's a time when you can suffer with all sorts of different feelings, both physical and emotional.
The peri-menopausal stage can last from 4-8 years but we’re all different, so please don’t compare yourself to anyone else as we’re all unique. You know your body better than anyone else, so the more you know about this stage, the less scary it will be.
It’s important to visit your doctor, just in case anything isn’t menopause related so you can nip it in the bud. I mentioned before, this stage can last for a few years and your hormones will be all over the place during this time, and it’s not easy for doctors to definitely say (normally via a blood test) that things are due to the menopause.
I’m going to cover a lot of the most common symptoms in these articles, so that you have an idea what to expect.
Anxiety: You might start waking up with feelings of being overwhelmed, of being tense and worried, or start having disturbed sleep, memory lapses and headaches. This can, for many of us, be totally out of character and some women think they’re going completely mad!
If the doctor can’t find anything obvious, it could be down to fluctuating hormones and possibly a drop in your magnesium levels. Magnesium is found naturally in the body and is the fourth most abundant mineral (known as the ‘happy hormone’ – even though it isn’t a hormone) and during the peri-menopause, these levels can drop.
Magnesium is vital to our daily life, heart and arteries, and a lack of it can often be associated with; aches, pains, muscle spasms, poor sleep, eye twitching, fibromyalgia, poor memory and personality and mood changes. Which is why, as I said, the more you know about the possible symptoms of menopause (or peri-menopause), the better it is for you, and especially the loved ones around you.
What should you avoid? There are things that can interfere with your bodies magnesium levels:
Anything with caffeine
Alcohol - causes a Vitamin D deficiency (which like magnesium, is vital to your body).
What can help?
Eating a healthy diet
Avoiding stressful situations
Having a good support network around you
Supplements - Magnesium with B6 (which aids absorption). The recommended dose is 375mg a day, but cut back if you start getting diarrhoea.
With the supplements, if you get anxious during the day, take it in the morning. If you wake up anxious, take it when you go to bed, or have half the dosage in the morning and the other half in the evening.
If you are on ANY medication, please check with your doctor before taking any supplements in case they interfere with it.
Please note: High anxiety or panic attacks aren’t a normal part of menopause, so go and see your doctor.
See you next month,