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MENOPAUSE / HORMONAL CHANGES

If you ever doubt the impact of hormones on female functioning take your mind back to being a teenager, being premenstrual, maybe when you were pregnant or a new mum, potentially when you were having fertility treatment or if you are peri-menopausal / menopausal and think of the ups and downs, the highs and lows of emotions and feeling different each day.  Would you be surprised to know that research suggests that this is because hormones interact with the way women’s brains are wired?  Using scanning of the brain it has been reported that blood flow into the emotion centre of the brain can be up to eight times stronger in a female brain than the same area of men’s brains. 

 

It is important to fully understand that fluctuating levels of hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone can be directly linked to feelings of anxiety, panic, unhappiness, irritability, poor concentration, memory, and loss of self-doubt especially when experience is invalidated. Not fully understanding what is happening in your body, feeling pressured to hold it together and then being dismissed if you open up to anyone about what is happening for you can intensify all those feelings and potentially make life feel very lonely and isolating.

 

Sadly, women’s issues are often dismissed or downplayed as ‘the time of the month’, ‘baby blues’ or even ‘hysteria’.  Even within the medical profession women report that their concerns and changes in both their physical and psychological wellbeing are often labelled as depression, anxiety or that they are just expected to accept this as ‘the time of life’.  So many times I get told that women are being prescribed anti-depressants or being negatively labelled simply for going through natural changes in life.

 

Hormonal changes can often lead to - 

 

  • Broken sleep or feelings of fatigue even when sleep finally comes

  • Lack of concentration

  • Problems with memory

  • Hot sweats

  • Feeling cold

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Increased urinary issues including infections or bladder leakage

  • Loss of libido

  • Loss of intimacy and relationships

  • Symptoms of anxiety

  • Symptoms of depression

  • Lack of motivation

  • Self-doubt

 

Women going through hormonal changes often report going through psychological changes or periods of reflection where they start to question themselves, their achievements, their relationships, and their priorities.  This can lead to what is referred to as ‘social pruning; where women might look to shed relationships that do not nurture them, and this can be a time of uncertainty and questioning.

I have a keen interest on the impact of hormonal changes on women’s health and I am able to offer a safe space to reflect on changes or difficulties that you, or someone you know, may be experiencing. 

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