[Podcast] Menopause and your mental health

Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP
08 November 2023
Next review due November 2026

The menopause doesn’t just cause physical symptoms, it can also impact your mental health. It is often these emotional symptoms that bother people the most. In this article, I look at how the menopause can affect the way you feel, and some things you can do to feel better. I also speak with Elaine and Amanda about their experiences in the podcast below.

How can the menopause affect mental health?

Everybody experiences the menopause differently and for some people, it can affect their mental wellbeing. You might experience:

  • feeling low
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • low energy and motivation
  • panic attacks
  • new fears and phobias
  • low self-esteem

You might be feeling this way because of the hormonal changes that are happening in your body. But you might also find that other menopause symptoms affect your mental health. 

Symptoms like weight gain, joint pain and hot flushes can be difficult to cope with and may affect your mood. You might also have difficulty sleeping, night sweats and bladder problems that stop you from getting enough rest. These can also make you feel low and stressed.

You might also feel low, anxious or sad for other reasons. Around the time of the menopause, many people find themselves going through changes in their work or family life. You might also feel sad about no longer being able to have children or feel worried about getting older.

Can the menopause cause depression?

The risk of depression seems to increase as you approach the menopause. If you’ve had depression before, you might also have depression during the menopause. Depression is different from sometimes feeling sad or low. Everybody has times when they feel down or have depressing feelings. But depression is a mental health condition where you might feel very low all the time, or often feel that you don’t enjoy life. If you have depression, these feelings don’t tend to come and go, they stay around for a long time. You might also:

  • feel tired
  • have low self-esteem or low self-confidence
  • have trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual
  • feel restless or agitated
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have difficulty making decisions
  • have changes in your appetite
  • have changes in your weight
  • have thoughts about death or suicide

What help is available for menopause and mental health?

If the menopause is affecting your mental health, speak to your GP. This is especially important if you feel very low for two weeks or more, as you might be experiencing depression. There are different treatments they might offer you such as:

It’s important to know that antidepressants should only be used if you have depression.  

You might also see herbal remedies for sale in shops or on the internet which claim to help with menopause symptoms. But these products are not regulated and so there is no way to know how safe, strong or effective they are. Some of these products can also interfere with other medicines. So always speak to your GP if you are thinking of taking them.

What can I do to look after my mental health?

There are also some things you can do to try and keep yourself mentally healthy when you’re experiencing the menopause.

  • Eat regular, healthy, balanced meals and snacks to help keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Get some exercise if you can, as it will lift your mood. Try activities like yoga, Pilates or walking to help you to de-stress.
  • Try to get into a regular sleep schedule if you can.
  • If you drink alcohol, make sure you aren’t drinking too much.
  • Avoid caffeine if you find it makes you anxious, affects your sleep or triggers your hot flushes.
  • Try to do things that you find relaxing, like reading, going for a walk or practising mindfulness.
  • Talk to your friends and family about the menopause, if you feel able to. This can help them understand what you’re going through. 

You can also seek support from mental health organisations if you want to speak to somebody else about how you’re feeling, or to get more information.

If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, you don’t have to face them alone. With a Bupa Menopause Plan, you can discuss symptoms with a specially trained GP, get a personalised care plan based around your needs with access to 24/7 support via Anytime HealthLine.

Samantha Wild
Dr Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP



Rasheda Begum, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

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