For some women, perimenopause and menopause can be a time of increased anxiety and depression, especially if there was some anxiety and depression ahead of time. This can be caused by variety of things ranging from thyroid disease, to life circumstances. It can also be due to the lowering of estrogen levels that can have a worsening effect on sleep.
Usually, the blood test FSH goes up as menopause comes closer. There is no absolute number, but a value above 20 usually means that perimenopause is approaching. While the mean age of menopause in the USA is age 51, the onset of perimenopause is usually up to 10 years before.
If estrogen is a hormone you are able to take, talk with your doctor about it after having a blood test for FSH.
Machelle M. Seibel, MD
Perimenopause/Menopause and Wendy
In September 2002 I had to get up from my desk at work and go to a doctor. I was 44 years old and I couldn’t cope with the feelings of depression and acute anxiety any more. I had been fighting the symptoms for nearly 12 months. I had to resign from my office job and take to my bed for a month. I spent the next 12 months trying to understand why a person who had never felt depressed before except for 1 day during my second pregnancy, suddenly was disabled by this mental condition. I finally succumbed to the doctors insistence that I take anti depressants and I started to keep a diary in case I became so bad that I could not continue to raise my three children and that way they would be able to read my diary when they were grown up and try to understand how hard I was trying to feel normal again.
After 4 weeks of lying in my bed I felt I had to do something physical so I jumped out of bed and went to the local gym and joined in on the step class. This was good for me because it got my metabolism going again and I carried the upbeat song in my head all day. It also released endorphins which helped. I had a friend who was born in the United States and she swore by Progesterone cream. She lent me a book called What your doctor may not tell you about menopause, Dr John R Lee. It was very, very good at explaining about how everything works regarding menopause. It is important to understand how everything we eat and do is linked to our health. However that book was very pro, progesterone cream as the amazing cure for hormonal imbalance. I didn’t find that the case, I would feel better for a few cycles but then I would have a return of symptoms, I can’t say that the cream cured me.
I was watching the Doctor Phil show in 2003, Dr Phil’s wife did a whole show on Menopause. The symptoms that were described included mine although I have never had a hot flush in my life. I think that is still to come. My worst symptoms were anxiety and depression and it often started in the 10 days leading up to a period and then again 7 days after a period. She had a nutritionist on the show called Anne Louise Gittleman, who had written a book called “Before the change” which looked at menopause symptoms from a nutritional point of view. She listed the most helpful things for Menopause or Perimenopause symptoms from one to eight. The top of the list was Flax Seed Oil. Cold pressed. She said sometimes all you have to do is to add this to your diet and the symptoms will disappear. I didn’t believe it so I did 6 of the eight things on the list, my sister has the book so I will try to remember them:
Anne Louise Gittleman’s PERIZAPPERS
• 2 tablespoons of Flaxseed oil ( has the highest content of Omega 3 and is the only oil which also has Omega 6 fatty acids in it as well. About 10 times as much Omega 3’s as Evening Primrose oil)
• Black Current oil (Next highest in Omega 3’s I think, I didn’t pursue that)
• Evening primrose capsules, I take 6 a day and have for 18 months, It can’t hurt you
• Minerals and Vits including
C 1000 mg
E 1000mg build up from 500mg daily
Spiralina fantastic for energy I take it because it has antioxidants and all sorts of goodies, it’s a food so you can take up to 6 a day. I do when I am working hard.
Zinc, at our age we are often depleted of zinc
Magnesium I take 2 it’s about the only thing that will aid calcium uptake in the body apart from vitamin D also good for nerves, if you are deficient, you are jumpy and don’t handle stress well.
Don’t take calcium and Magnesium together, Golden Glow I find is the cheapest and best source of Vits and Minerals, there should be a website
• Progesterone Cream best to read the book on this one I use PRO-GEST from emerita.com but I have to get someone to buy it in the States.
• Stress relief sleeping, meditating, getting away. Meditating has become my stress cure-all, I can even do it on an airplane.
• Adrenal gland energizer, you can buy it it’s made from animal’s adrenal glands, she recommends one, I didn’t pursue that
• The eighth I can’t remember off hand
She was very big on eating the correct protein and fats, very big on almonds and all types of seeds as a source of protein, magnesium and good fats. Health has been focused for at least 30 years on low fat diets to reduce obesity and heart disease but the spin off has been that we aren’t getting the essential fatty acids in our diets which are the building blocks to steroids then hormones. If the body has these building blocks it can make the hormones it needs in the correct balance. If we try to put hormones into our systems, it is almost impossible to administer the correct hormone in the correct dose. It is so finely balanced and almost impossible to get right. There is also research to say that Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to mental health, the brain is made up on 10% Omega 3 fatty acids. They are targeting kids who suffer from depression and mood swings with fish oil but it is interesting to note that Flax seed oil has many times more Omega 3 and also has Omega 6 and 9.
The flaxseed oil is available directly from stoneycreekoil.com.au for a little under $20 per 500mls it costs about $23 - $25 in the health food shops. I find it the worst tasting stuff I have ever ingested. The only way I can tolerate it is to have two gulps straight from the tin and then chase it down with a little glass of red wine. The wine cuts the taste smell and oilyness straight away.
I was able to come off anti depressants after 14 months. I started weaning myself off after 6 months of feeling much better. I have stopped using some of the above remedies over the last four years, especially if I am having a good patch but I find that if I stop using the flaxseed oil my mental symptoms return and that’s the pits. I take it every second day now and I suppose because I usually have a pretty calm lifestyle, my stress levels are good and I can honestly say I haven’t felt depressed since March 2005. I have a part time job which I enjoy and I have been able to complete my job as a mother with my youngest child now 17 years of age.
It’s just so wonderful to feel well again, I really can’t explain properly what it has been like to have those symptoms for 3 years, it is very much like being sent to Mars but then being allowed to return home. Thank God for research.
Hope this can help someone