28 Jul 2015
How to Manage Anxiety in Perimenopause without Medication
But what about anxiety? You might be surprised at the number of women who mention anxiety as their most challenging symptom. And interestingly, this is completely new for many of them. They were not hand-wringers in their younger days.
The feeling of constant worry, tension, irritability, or loss of focus can be debilitating! Especially if it results in scary things like panic attacks or heart palpitations.
The good news is that there is often a hormonal imbalance at work that can be corrected. Low estrogen or progesterone levels may be the culprit. Both of these hormones have significant effects in the brain. The bad news is that you or your doctor may not recognize what’s going on and you may be dismissed with “it’s all in your head” or come away with unnecessary prescriptions for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds.
Care for Your Body
From a physical standpoint, a good place to begin addressing anxiety in perimenopause is by balancing your hormones. For many women, bioidentical progesterone is a huge help. It not only helps balance estrogen, but it has a calming effect in the body as well. Bioidentical progesterone also helps with insomnia, which can easily exacerbate anxiety and stress.
In addition to progesterone, supplements like chamomile, passionflower, lavender, and lemon balm can be helpful. These are available in oils, capsules, tinctures, or extracts.
Exercise can also be a huge help. It’s a great stress reliever and helps balance hormones (in reasonable amounts). Too much exercise can increase cortisol, which will further fuel your anxiety.
Care for Your Soul
On a soul/emotional level, there are also helpful solutions. The first is to learn to say no. It’s a complete sentence. You can read more about that here. Staying out of overwhelm is critical for managing anxiety!
Second, be patient and kind to yourself. It may feel like Mother Nature has hijacked your sanity, but being hard on yourself won’t help. Take time out for self-care, do your homework to learn what’s going on with your body, and find opportunities to connect with other women who are going through the same thing.
Because no matter what you think, you’re not alone.
Thoughts about Medications
When you’re stuck in the cycle of stress and anxiety, it may feel like the path of least resistance is anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. In extreme cases, these may be helpful…but they don’t solve the underlying problem. And they can be addictive or difficult to stop if used long term. Having said that, short-term use can improve your ability to function while you’re getting hormone imbalances sorted out.
If your quality of life is significantly affected, don’t suffer needlessly. Seek out the services of a licensed mental health professional to help you. Find someone with whom you can have an open line of communication and trust.
Your Next Step
Hormone testing can be very helpful for identifying exactly where your imbalances are. A full spectrum of testing should include estradiol, progesterone, DHEA-S, testosterone, a 4-point cortisol test, and thyroid testing. These can be done using blood, urine or saliva. Cortisol is most reliable when done using saliva.
Management of imbalances is not a great DIY project. Invest in a provider that specializes in hormone management to create a customized plan of care to address your symptoms and help you get your mojo back. You are SO worth it!
To learn more about my customized Hormone Harmony services, schedule a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call. You can do that at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk.
About Dr. Anna
Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.
Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.