How can I relieve stress during menopause?

Meditation, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, guided imagery, and other forms of stress   reduction, such as yoga, may help reduce menopausal symptoms for many women. Some studies that have demonstrated the effects of stress reduction on menopausal symptoms, although benefits vary among women. Numerous studies have demonstrated that general health and well being can be improved with these techniques.

Increased stress during menopause can cause depressed feelings. Job worries, home anxieties or issues about money can add to daily stress. Also, low self-esteem can cause anxiety or stress if you are unhappy about your life. It is important to talk to your doctor about these emotions or negative feelings. Emotional issues can come from many issues other than menopause.

Dr. Alice Domar
Psychology Specialist

Relieving stress during menopause is not all that different than learning how to relive stress at other times of your life. The key is to identify which symptoms of menopause might be bothering you. So for example, if hot flashes are an issue for you, then focus on strategies such as relaxation techniques and mini relaxations (taking slow deep breathes) which can not only help to stave off a hot flash, but if practiced regularly can lead to decreases in their frequency and intensity. If the slowing of your metabolism, leading to weight gain, is an issue for you, brainstorm on ways to become more active. Anything you do, whether it is walking your dog an extra five minutes, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, dancing to your favorite tunes, can help. There is some research which shows that it is not the physical issue of decreasing estrogen which is associated with menopausal symptoms but instead trying to adapt to all the changes around you, i.e., kids growing up and moving out, friends having serious health challenges, relationship issues, etc. If that is the case, examine who is important to you and try to structure your time more around you and what you need. And remember that puberty in reverse doesn't last forever!

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

There is building evidence that women experience acute stress more intensely after menopause than before. Midlife is often a time for many stressors, including demanding family responsibilities, lack of time for oneself, lack of sleep, and financial concerns. Recent research is also showing that women exposed to more stressful events may be more likely to experience a subsequent low mood as well as hot flashes and night sweats during the menopause transition. Reducing stress at any time in a woman's life may help protect her from mood problems; this is especially true in the menopause transition and after menopause.

Just as important as exercise is learning some relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. Unwind before you go to bed with a relaxing book or a warm bath. Then, once in bed, breathe deeply and slowly. Tense and relax your muscles one by one, starting with your shoulders and working your way down to your toes. Concentrate on your breath. Take a deep breath in, counting to five, and then count to ten as you breathe out. Imagine yourself walking down a hill or along a beach. This technique also works if you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. Done correctly, the combination of cardiovascular exercise and yoga or meditation will do wonders for your sleep.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

More About this Book

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

New studies, although often with small numbers of participants or for limited duration of time, do show effectiveness for meditation, paced respiration and yoga in helping with menopause symptoms. A review of this data can be found here:

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.