Why Is Anxiety Worse During Menopause?

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: May 10, 2022
Medically reviewed by: Sharon D. Malone

Menopause is a paradox. The symptoms can be extremely challenging but can also represent a rite of passage that signals the beginning of a new phase in life. Women experiencing menopause often have to manage a whole range of symptoms that can make daily life uncomfortable or downright difficult, and the one thing that can be most challenging is managing new feelings of anxiety. 

While it’s normal to have some additional stress because of menopause, the anxiety that can come with the condition can suddenly make it feel like the whole world is crumbling around you.

Occasional feelings of anxiety are normal for everyone, but women in menopause often find that their feelings of anxiety become much more severe as they transition through this phase of their lives. While it may seem like menopause is just making you overthink things and feel a little crazy, there is a reason behind this anxiety that’s tied to the effects of menopause itself. 

No one deserves to be alone on their menopause journey, and we’re here to help guide you through your anxiety so you can come out stronger than ever before.

Can Menopause Cause Extreme Anxiety?

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, but the severity and persistence of that anxiety can vary depending on many factors. Extreme anxiety is something that often needs to be treated by a mental health professional, and it can make life extremely difficult without the help of medication or special counseling. 

In most cases, the anxiety caused by menopause will not reach the level of clinical severity. However, in rare situations it’s possible for women to experience extreme anxiety and even panic attacks as a result of the hormone imbalances experienced during menopause.

Why Does Menopause Cause Anxiety?

If you’re feeling a heightened sense of anxiety during menopause, your first question is likely “what gives?” Well just like nearly every other aspect of menopause, your feelings of anxiety are a direct result of the hormonal changes going on in your body.

What Does Menopause Anxiety Feel Like?

Now that you know why menopause can cause anxiety, it’s important to understand what menopausal anxiety feels like so you can learn to identify it. While symptoms won’t always be the same for everyone, the most common menopausal anxiety symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sweating

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Heart palpitations

  • Sense of impending doom

We know none of that sounds fun, but knowing really is half the battle. The more familiar you are with menopausal anxiety, the better you’ll be able to understand how to overcome it.

Does Anxiety from Menopause Go Away?

Your first thought when experiencing menopausal anxiety may be when it’s going to show itself the door, but unfortunately, menopause symptoms tend to hang around much longer than their “sell by” date. 

Luckily, once the menopausal transition is complete and hormones begin to level out, most women will notice that their anxiety levels have begun to decrease. However, some women may still experience more anxiety than they did before due to other factors.

How Do You Manage Menopausal Anxiety?

Managing menopausal anxiety may seem like an uphill battle, but there are a number of things that you can do to level the playing field. Now—we’ll be honest—not every method of managing menopausal anxiety is going to be effective for everyone. However, it’s better to have all of the tools you need so you can control your anxiety and not the other way around.

Get Enough Exercise

Getting motivated to exercise is hard enough on its own, let alone when you’re going through menopause, but it can also be one of the best ways to handle menopausal anxiety. Proper exercise has more benefits than just making you physically fit—it can also help you stay mentally fit by increasing the amount of anxiety-relieving chemicals in your brain. It doesn’t matter if it’s a light walk or intense aerobics, as long as your body is in motion you’re taking steps to decrease the intensity of your anxiety.

Take Deep Breaths

Taking a moment to take some deep breaths can really help you manage your menopausal anxiety. 

When life feels overwhelming, stepping back and focusing on your breath can be an effective way to bring your heart rate down and center yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment sometimes, but allowing yourself time to quiet down and focus on your breath can help reduce your anxiety and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.

Do Yoga

While regular exercise and deep breathing can help on their own, combining them both into yoga can help settle menopausal anxiety. Yoga can help you to push your worries aside and focus entirely on your body, which can be a great way to build a deeper connection with yourself. Working your muscles and focusing on your balance can, in the moment, make you forget you ever even had anxiety, and maintaining a regular routine can help make that relief a part of everyday life.

Meditate

Menopausal anxiety can turn your thoughts into a tangled mess of fear and doubt, making it difficult to find a moment of calm or serenity. Meditation can be an effective way to clear out all of the muck in your mind and allow for a change in perspective that brings you the relaxation you deserve. Taking the time to meditate and be mindful can also become a healthy routine for your overall well-being, not only by helping you control anxious thoughts but by improving your perception of the world around you.

Eat Healthfully

Maintaining a healthy diet is never an easy thing. That said, getting the right nutrients each day can be an effective way to manage the pressure of menopausal anxiety.

Studies have shown that adding more magnesium and zinc to your diet may help decrease feelings of anxiety. Some of the best foods for these nutrients include spinach, legumes, oysters, and egg yolks, all of which have been linked to lowered anxiety. Adding those to your healthy diet in moderation may be able to help you reduce your anxiety.

Limit Caffeine

Caffeine may have been your best friend in college, and your morning cup of coffee can practically be medicine, but it can quickly become your enemy when you have to manage menopausal anxiety. The jitters and excitement that often come with caffeine can lead to increased worry and jumbled thoughts, so it’s best to find other alternatives whenever possible.

If getting some caffeine in your system is non-negotiable, limit your intake to one to two cups of coffee per day. Also, try to limit your consumption of soda.

Limit Alcohol

We all enjoy a glass of wine every now and then (or maybe two—we don’t judge). It’s important, though, to realize that too much alcohol can make the effects of anxiety much more severe. Remember how we said exercise can increase anxiety-relieving chemicals in your brain? Well, alcohol does the exact opposite in the long term, and can actually leave you feeling more anxious once it has worn off. 

Limit yourself to one or two drinks per day, and you’ll feel more in control of your anxiety.

Find a Therapist

If your menopausal anxiety symptoms become increasingly severe, please take care of yourself. It should go without saying, but there is absolutely no shame in seeking the help of a therapist or mental health expert. 

Professional guidance can help you better manage your anxiety and give you the tools you need to handle it on your own. In addition, having someone to talk to can make you feel less alone in your menopausal anxiety. The thoughts that can come from anxiety are no joke, and if it all becomes too much to bear, be sure to love yourself and get some help.

Seek Menopause Hormone Therapy

Earlier in this post we talked about how menopausal anxiety is caused by a fluctuation of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, just one of the challenges that can accompany menopause. Well, for women who want a more comprehensive adjustment to menopause, menopause hormone therapy is a viable option to help get everything leveled out once again. 

We created Alloy to help you navigate your way through menopause. Visit our Solutions page to get the process started.

Treating Severe Anxiety

While there are many methods of management for anxiety, there may come a time when menopausal anxiety becomes too severe to be controlled with regular self-care. In this case, it’s crucial for you to get the proper help so your anxiety doesn’t become too much to bear. 

Take care of yourself, and seek help from a medical professional. A therapist can help you work through your menopausal anxiety, and a medical professional can help as well. If indicated by your doctor, medication can be a solution to severe, pervasive anxiety.

Anti-Anxiety Medication

If your anxiety doesn’t respond to any of your self-help measures and is taking a severe toll on your wellbeing, there are a number of effective anti-anxiety medications that can help you reclaim your life. It’s important to know that prescriptions are not a “one size fits all” solution. Not every medication works for every person, and each has its individual side effects. Your doctor can help you find the one that works best for you.

Experiencing Anxiety and Other Menopause Symptoms? Alloy Can Help

We got you. Our plant-based products are designed to balance your hormones and reduce your symptoms, including anxiety. 

If you’re experiencing menopausal anxiety and need a helping hand, trust Alloy to create a menopause hormone therapy plan that will help bring you the daily peace you deserve. We make it simple–just take our quiz or select a product, complete our medical intake form, and start a conversation with our doctor. 

Menopause is, above all else, a journey. We’re ready to walk with you.

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“Can Menopause Cause Anxiety or Depression?” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 27 Aug. 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-menopause-causing-your-mood-swings-depression-or-anxiety/#:~:text=A%3A%20The%20fluctuation%20of%20estrogen,a%20panic%20disorder%20during%20menopause.

Cherney, Kristeen. “Alcohol and Anxiety: Causes, Risks and Treatment.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 26 Sept. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-and-anxiety#:~:text=How%20alcohol%20worsens%20anxiety,an%20entire%20day%20after%20drinking.

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Naidoo, Uma. “Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety.” Harvard Health, 28 Aug. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441#:~:text=Foods%20naturally%20rich%20in%20magnesium,been%20linked%20to%20lowered%20anxiety.

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Written by:

Alloy Staff

Who is Alloy? Alloy exists to help women age healthfully and feel like their best selves. We approach women’s health with radical honesty. We fuse together powerful medical expertise, science backed treatments, and the support of a community that knows how you feel. We don’t just get you - we are you.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon D. Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is among the nation’s leading obstetrician / gynecologists with a focus on the specific health challenges associated with menopause.