The emotional symptoms of perimenopause can be misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Irritability for instance may be a feature of perimenopause and not an underlying mood disorder. It’s worth considering that peri- and post-menopausal women make up 40% of all healthcare visits in Australia1.
I find people tend to sit with mood changes (including irritability and teariness) and accept them as the norm. As a GP, however, I encourage you to chat to your doctor for support as soon you notice symptoms. There are plenty of things that can help.
Simple lifestyle interventions like regular physical activity, meditation, sleep hygiene measures, and caffeine and alcohol reduction can go a long way to help patients experiencing perimenopausal symptoms such as emotional lability, interrupted sleep and hot flushes.
If required, there are also prescribed medication options that can be considered depending on symptoms. For hot flushes, for instance, specific anti-depressant therapies can be helpful. Hormone replacement therapy is also an option for people who have a range of persistent symptoms. Vaginal oestrogen can also be considered (if safe) for those experiencing vaginal dryness impacting sex. There are options galore!
It is worth being cautious of “natural” therapies – lots of them lack proper scientific evidence and can cause harmful side effects, so always consult your doctor or pharmacist first.