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I am going through the menopause: why am I so anxious?

Although most women probably know what to expect from the menopause, some women are still unaware of the emotional and psychological repercussions. With so many shifting hormones and fluctuating symptoms, the whole process can start to weigh down on your mood, making you feel more anxious and jittery than you would have expected.

Anxiety: the unexpected menopause symptom

By the time the average woman reaches her mid to late 40s, she is usually quite aware of what menopause is, and has a general idea of what to expect when she begins to go through it.

Usually, a few night sweats and hot flushes, maybe bouts of insomnia, erratic menstrual cycles, and perhaps even a few mood swings as well.

What she might not expect, however, is crippling anxiety, heart palpitations, and panic attacks.  Yet, for a large number of women, these three symptoms of menopause are as common as hot flashes and night sweats. They can also be quite severe.  So severe in fact, that some women become so overwhelmed, they fear they are having a nervous break-down, or worse, that they are suffering a heart attack – but why?

What causes heart palpitations, panic attacks, and anxiety in women who are going through menopause, and more importantly, what can be done about it?

Hormone imbalance

Like all symptoms of menopause, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and anxiety can result from hormone imbalance.  Low progesterone levels, for example, one of the hallmarks of menopause, can cause women to feel anxious, edgy, and irritable.

Also known as the calming hormone, progesterone acts as a natural sedative, if you will, softening and balancing the effects of estrogen. Without enough progesterone, women in menopause feel more overwhelmed and easily stressed.  For many, this can lead to anxiety issues, including tension headaches, heart palpitations, issues with their digestion; and in some cases, even full blown panic disorder.

Adrenal fatigue & thyroid dysfunction

Adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction are also common causes. The physical and emotional stress of menopause can take a toll on the adrenal glands, exhausting them, and hampering their ability to release the proper balance of the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and DHEA.

If a woman is suffering from adrenal fatigue, she might feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, yet be unable to relax or sleep because of surging levels of cortisol and adrenaline coursing through her body. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can cause feelings of panic, nervousness, anxiety, and fluttering and palpitations of the heart. It can also cause you to bolt wide awake from a deep sleep with rushes of anxiety and panic.

Is it any wonder then, that women often feel they are going crazy during menopause!

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, can also be a source of panic attacks, anxiety, and heart palpitations during menopause. Though it may sound counter-intuitive that a sluggish thyroid could cause such symptoms, the unnatural rising and falling of the thyroid hormones TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), T3 (triiodothyronine), and T4 (thyroxine) during hormone imbalance, can cause not only these symptoms, but a very long list of other symptoms as well.

Get it checked out

If you have been experiencing heart palpitations, panic attacks and anxiety in menopause, it’s very important you see your doctor to have your hormone levels evaluated, and testing done for both your adrenal glands and your thyroid gland. It may be that you will need supplements to support your adrenal and thyroid gland, and hormone therapy to help restore balance in your body.

And remember, ladies, the menopause transition can be a turbulent and rocky road for a lot of women, but investing in your wellness through proper self-care can help ease the symptoms and put you back on the path to balance and health!

Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women’s health and a women’s freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog

A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Soya for menopause – why it helps & the right type to take

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays it’s all about phytoestrogens (also known as plant oestrogens) such as fermented soya and how they can help ease low oestrogen symptoms, including hot flushes, anxiety, low mood, joint aches and pains and more. I explain what type of soya you need to take to feel the best benefits.

Missed one? Watch them all on my menopause blog.

Get your FREE Menopause Support sample

A.Vogel Menopause Support is the ideal companion for menopausal women, offering a little helping hand to relieve the symptoms of menopause such as low mood, irritability, tiredness, pains and aches, vaginal dryness and low libido.

**Open to UK residents only**   

"As soon as I received the product and almost instantly I felt relief from my hot flushes I slept through the night which was wonderful. Thank you for this wonderful product."

Real women stories

"I was breezing through my menopause"

I was breezing through my menopause, barely aware that anything was happening bar the fact that my... Read the full story

"During my menopause"

During my menopause, the worst symptom I have struggled with is the itchy skin. I could cope with the flushes... Read the full story

"Suffering from very heavy periods..."

After suffering from very heavy periods (confined to the house for two days each month), my GP gave me... Read the full story

"My periods stopped five years ago"

I stopped having my periods 5 years ago and felt I was able to cope without any replacement... Read the full story

Soy isoflavones for before, during & after the menopause

Menopause Support can provide support to the body through all stages of the Menopause but is especially useful when broad range of symptoms such as hot flushes, irritability, tiredness, pains and aches, vaginal dryness etc kick in.

  • Made from fermented soya beans
  • Support for all stages of the menopause
  • Also contains magnesium and hibiscus

A herbal dietary supplement containing soy isoflavones, magnesium and hibiscus extract for all stages of the menopause.

TIP: Read why so many women recommend Menopause Support for before, during & after the menopause

How I survived the menopause

What is happening to me? I know I asked this, so if you are asking it too, don’t worry, you are not alone! The menopause can be a daunting, confusing and scary time if you let it be, but as they say, knowledge is power.

I use my personal experience of going through the menopause (and surviving it) to offer support and guidance to help you have a happier, healthier menopause.

I survived the menopause and so can you!

Don't go through the Menopause alone!


Menopause expert Eileen Durward explains the benefits of joining the A.Vogel Menopause Health Hub.



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This week's talking point

HRT 'increases ovarian cancer risk' Well ladies, it's in the news again. According to a recent study, HRT has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women taking it for over 5 years.

Menopause Expert Eileen Durward looks at the medical facts behind the news headlines.

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