Can Menopause Cause Depression? 10 natural Ways To Feel Like Yourself Again

Can Menopause Cause Depression
This page may contain affiliate links. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me.
I hope it can help you too x. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

Can Menopause Cause Depression?

Can Menopause Cause Depression? Yes, absolutely. Menopause CAN cause depression. For some women, the wild fluctuations of hormones and physical changes as they go through Perimenopause can lead to mental health problems. Coupled with stress, lack of sleep and midlife lifestyle issues this can mean mood swings, irritability, anger, brain fog, memory difficulties and lead to anxiety and depression.

How does menopause affect you emotionally?

When you hit perimenopause or menopause you may feel like you are losing your mind. It’s a disconcerting feeling of your grip on life starting to slip and you may not realise why. 

You may experience confusion and memory problems as well as wild mood swings and raging anger and irritability.

Brain fog and memory issues can be so profound that you may start to wonder if you are actually getting some kind of early-onset dementia. Where once you had a sharp agile brain, there is now a confused melted foggy mess. 

I personally started to find that I was existing in a confusing grey soup. I forgot friends names and found items in my shopping trolley that I didn’t remember putting there. I put cheese in the fruit bowl and fruit in the fridge. I would find my handbag in the weirdest of places with no recollection [and I hadn’t been drinking!}

On top of this I would suddenly find myself unable to remember crucial aspects of the job I have done for years. 

But the worst thing was a dull grey cloud that seemed to descend upon life. It felt like I was just existing. There seemed to be little colour or pleasure in life or much hope of things improving. 

Before I realised that all these symptoms were a side effect of Menopause this was very frightening. I did start to question my own sanity.

Thankfully I started to put two and two together and ask, can it be Menopause or Perimenopause? Can Menopause cause Depression? A little bit of research and I found my answer…

Midlife and Menopause. The perfect storm for depression.

During the midlife years, as we travel through Perimenopause and Menopause the circumstances are perfect for depression. 

Our hormones are in turmoil, riding a wild rollercoaster of highs and lows which can affect our emotional state.

On top of this hormonal chaos, Our lives are often a whirl of stress and pressure. Many significant events happen around 50 so social and emotional issues may also play a big part in how you feel.

You may be:

  • Caring for elderly or sick parents
  • Dealing with teenagers and their OWN crazy hormones
  • Facing children leaving and the sadness that feelings around the empty nest can bring.
  • Looking after grandchildren. Joyous but exhausting
  • Coping with divorce or relationship issues.
  • Losing parents and facing bereavement
  • Having problems with sex and libido
  • Feeling unhappy with your body and losing body confidence due to midlife weight gain
  • Facing existential angst from a midlife crisis
  • Dealing with a partner going through a midlife crisis
  • Questioning what you want from your life going forward
  • Facing issues at work, for example, redundancy or being passed over for younger staff.
  • Wondering how you are going to retire on little money
  • Running low on energy and struggling with getting through each day
  • Feeling invisible
  • Feeling like you are on the scrap heap and you don’t matter any more

As you can see, the menopause hormonal craziness on top of all this lifestyle pressure is the perfect storm for bringing on depression and anxiety. It’s no wonder we can feel so awful at this point in our lives!.

I feel its a miracle we can hold it together at all!.

But the good news is that once you begin to recognise what is happening things become a little easier. You can then start to take steps to improve things. 

Can Menopause Cause Depression

Is depression a side effect of menopause?

Depression can be a side effect of the physical menopause process.

During Perimenopause your hormones start to fluctuate wildly and this may have a strong effect on your emotional state and mental health.

If you have had a history of clinical depression before, this can leave you more vulnerable to depression at Menopause.

Women who have suffered badly with PMS during their younger years may also be particularly vulnerable at Midlife.

However, one particular key point may be the quality of your sleep. 

This research paper states 

“Stratification analysis showed a significant association between poor sleep and depression across different menopause stages, “

So to put it in simple terms, poor sleep was definitely associated with depression in all menopause stages.

You may be finding that your quality of sleep really tanks during Perimenopause.

Restless legs, night sweats and various factors conspire in Menopause to create sleep difficulties.

It seems that chronic lack of sleep can lead to or worsen depression. 

This makes sense as anyone who has face insomnia will know. It wears you down and damages your health.

There is hope in that things can be done to improve it though which I will explain below.

The important thing to realise is that…

  • Depression and anxiety CAN be symptoms of Menopause
  • You are not going crazy
  • There are things that you can do to improve the situation using Natural methods

How do I deal with depression during menopause?

Now that you know the probable cause of your Midlife depression there are various things that you can try to improve it.

Lifestyle changes can be highly effective with depression and are worth trying before anti-depressants if possible. 

You need to find and fix the underlying issues to move your body and life back into balance. You need to look at your life holistically, identify areas that may be a problem and work on improving them 

Natural Menopause Remedies ChecklistDownload the FREE NATURAL MENOPAUSE REMEDIES CHECKLIST

Over 60 Natural Supplements & Strategies to help with Menopause Symptoms.

including remedies for Hot Flashes | Night sweats | Low Libido | Hormone Headaches | Weight gain | Depression | Anxiety and many more…

Please Note. I am not a doctor, nor am I qualified to give medical advice. I’m just sharing what has worked for me. Please see your own doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle or medical routine.

Treating Depression Through Lifestyle Changes – 10 approaches to try

1 – Improve Your Sleep

Sleep seems to be the number one area to improve in order to combat depression in Menopause & Perimenopause. 

If you only focus on two things, make them sleep and diet. 

Menopause Insomnia is such a big issue for many women that I wrote a whole post with 10 suggestions for better sleep. Read the post here.

2 – Keep Moving

Exercise seems to be linked to a great improvement in Depression symptoms. However, I don’t advocate going crazy with cardio and running for miles. Exercising too much increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

What seems to be the best form of exercise is brisk walking every day. Importantly, getting out in nature and the environment.

Feeling the elements on your face, breathing fresh air is invaluable to improving your mental state. Try to get a good brisk walk in nature every day, even if it’s just your local park. Nature has amazing healing powers.

3 – Look At Your Diet Closely

Diet and Nutrition can play a huge part in hormone balance at Perimenopause and Menopause.

Eating the right things can help enormously to tame your hormones and leave you feeling calmer and more positive.

Conversely, consuming processed food on the Standard American Diet will not help. This is a complex subject but in a nutshell, try.

  • Avoiding processed food
  • Eating good quality Meat, Fish and Veg
  • Avoiding sugar in all it’s forms [ie honey, agave nectar as well as white sugar products, sweets]
  • Avoid soda pop, even zero-calorie drinks
  • Avoid fruit juice – this is highly sugary although marketed as healthy
  • Avoid sweeteners, preservatives and chemicals.
  • Cook from scratch yourself

I have written two posts that address Diet, Weight Loss {which a lot of us struggle with a Midlife} and Hormones that will help you more with this.

LOSING WEIGHT DURING MENOPAUSE. THE 5 HIDDEN REASONS YOU CAN’T… {And How To Fix Them}

HOW TO LOSE MENOPAUSE BELLY FAT EASILY {WITHOUT MAD CRAZY DIET OR EXERCISE} 5 Powerful Tips

I learnt a lot about how to balance my hormones in my research to improve my own health over the last 3 years. I have put all my information into my structured weight loss plan which is specifically designed for women around Menopause. The focus is on balancing your hormones which in turn will help with weight loss

The Belly Fat Solution – 14 Day Menopause Weight Loss Plan

The Holistic Way To Balance your Hormones, Lose Weight & Feel Great – in 14 days

If you need a holistic and structured weight loss plan that walks you through losing your Menopause Belly Fat this may help you. It’s designed specifically for women struggling with their weight at midlife… and exercise is optional!

You can read more about my Belly Fat Weight Loss Plan here

Belly Fat Solution Menopause Weight Loss Diet Plan

Begin Your Weight Loss Journey Today

4 – Meditation

I know everyone recommends Meditation but I have found it hugely helpful to my mental state. Even if you just take 5 five minutes out of your day to do this I’m sure it will make a big difference to you. I like to do this as soon as I have woken up after I have my morning coffee. It’s a lovely morning ritual.

If you have never tried meditation before, the apps CALM & HEADSPACE are very helpful to get you started.

5 – Support groups

Support groups are wonderful, just to know you are not alone.

Being able to discuss your symptoms with others going through the same thing is invaluable. The best place to find Menopause support groups seems to be on Facebook. Just type Menopause into the search bar and see what you find

6 – Cut down your drinking

I didn’t realise what a big effect drinking had on my mental health until I cut right down.

My menopause symptoms improved and I felt much less anxious and worried. Overall my mood improved A LOT!.

I’ve written a post here about how I cut down on drinking alcohol which may help you.

7 – Reduce stress

Stress is a factor that can weigh heavily on you during the midlife years. Pressures at work and home can mean that you are constantly living with a high level of the hormone cortisol.

If this is raised it plays havoc with all your other hormones and can increase menopause symptoms as well as making depression worse. Do everything you can to decrease your stress levels. Walking, Meditation and the Support Groups as mentioned above can all help you in this.

8 – Evaluate your life – make changes to improve it.

I know this is easier said than done. However, often you know deep down what is an issue in your life and causing stress, dark moods and depression. It could be…

  • Your job – Have you stagnated and need a change of direction?
  • Your relationship – Are you happy where you are?
  • Your environment – Do you like where you live or could you make improvements?

Often depression can surface when we are unhappy deep down but try and make the best of the situation. It’s like putting a lid on a pressure cooker. Eventually, the problem will surface and have to be faced

Midlife is the perfect time to look at all facets of your life honestly and try to make improvements in the direction you need to go

Supplements that may help with Perimenopause & Menopause Depression

9 – Black Cohosh

A Meta Analysis of several studies by the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine show that Black Cohosh worked as well as HRT for reduction of Depression.

The research concluded…

All of the RCT and Clinical Trial demonstrate that Black Cohosh use is effective at reducing anxiety/depression. Black Cohosh seems to be the same effectiveness as Hormonal therapy available for anxiety/depression in postmenopausal women.

Black Cohosh is also reputed to treat other Menopausal Symptoms, such as hot flashes too.

View On Amazon

10 – St Johns Wort

Another Meta-Analysis, comparing the use of St Johns Wort with SSRI Antidepressants for mild to moderate depression concluded that St Johns Wort was just as effective as the antidepressant and had a significantly lower rate of adverse events compared to SSRIs

Both St John’s wort extract and SSRIs are effective in treating mild-to-moderate depression. St John’s wort extract is safer than SSRIs.

I have used St John’s Wort on and off over the years and found it highly effective in helping my mood.

View On Amazon

Please Know That You aren’t going crazy…

If nothing else I hope this post has helped you to realise that you aren’t going crazy.

Menopause and Perimenopause can mess with your mind and make life very difficult mentally for a while. 

However once you know what is happening there is a lot that you can do to turn things around and to start to feel good about life again.

I hope these suggestions help you to improve your symptoms and start to feel much more like your old self again…

Love and light 

PS. If you need a few more ideas to help you deal with Menopause Symptoms, please download my FREE ebook of Natural Remedies using the form below. 

Natural Menopause Remedies ChecklistDownload the FREE NATURAL MENOPAUSE REMEDIES CHECKLIST

Over 60 Natural Supplements & Strategies to help with Menopause Symptoms.

including remedies for Hot Flashes | Night sweats | Low Libido | Hormone Headaches | Weight gain | Depression | Anxiety and many more…

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Helen

Menopause and Perimenopause can be a tricky time to pass through. I certainly had a turbulent journey. I learnt a lot from my intense battle. I rediscovered my Menopause Mojo and you can too. I truly believe that Menopause can be the start of the best part of your life. I am an Artist, Certified Transformation Life Coach, Holistic Health Coach, Hypnosis practitioner and woman's health researcher. NB. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me. I hope it can help you too. x