Menopause is the period of time when a woman stops having her monthly period and experiences symptoms related to the lack of estrogen production. By definition, a woman is in menopause after her periods have stopped for one year. It is a normal part of aging and marks the end of a woman's reproductive years.
The drop in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause triggers physical changes such as weight gain, hot flashes as well as many emotional changes -- such as depression, apathy anxiety and changes in memory. Like any other point in a woman’s life, there is a relationship between hormone levels and these physical and emotional symptoms.
This one is sneaky. Sometimes it is assumed that hot flashes are the first true sign of perimenopause, but many women experience anxiety long before hot flashes set in. Anxiety can be the first sign of perimenopausal hormone transitions, but many women do not connect a rise in anxiety levels to the physical changes caused by changing estrogen levels. Perimenopause can be an added stressor to an already stressful overly busy life, and hormonal imbalances can adversely affect your nerves, mood and mental function. Anxiety can shake your very core and reduce your self confidence. Many women begin to feel lost and confused with a strange lack of confidence in themselves.
You may found yourself feeling apathetic, a little bit down, unable to "pick yourself up," or you might even feel depressed. Well, you're not going crazy. There a simple biological changes occurring during perimenopause that contribute to feelings. There is a connection between the hormonal changes during perimenopause and depression, affecting the way you feel. The imbalanced ratio of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can be the physical basis for depression. The estrogen dominance so common in perimenopause can exacerbate symptoms of depression and apathy.