Q: Normally I’m very easy going person, but lately I’m feeling anxious and snapping at everyone and I don’t even know why. I lose my temper easily, or go on a crying jag. My life is otherwise great, and I don’t have any history of mental health issues. What is going on?
– Female, age 43 –
Given the frenetic pace of life in this world of 24/7 information and stimulation, it’s a wonder that more of us aren’t feeling this way! While anxiety, moodiness, irritability and weepiness can simply be hallmarks of having a bad day, when they become the norm, something is wrong. Too many doctors will tell women it’s all in their heads, and hand them a prescription for antidepressants. In most cases, they’re wrong.
From my experience, here’s what’s more likely to be going on: The early- to mid-40s is when most women start to feel major changes due to hormone deficiencies. Anxiety and irritability are common, and often the earliest symptoms of perimenopause.
Since women get so little education about our hormones, it’s hard to know what’s normal and what’s not. (Sadly, this is true for most doctors as well!) You see, as women approach menopause, lower levels of estrogen and testosterone usher in unpleasant symptoms like anxiety, memory loss, weight gain, irregular or heavy periods, mood swings, hot flashes, low libido, vaginal dryness, night sweats and insomnia, heart palpitations, and skin changes. Ouch!
These two little hormones play big parts in all of our biological systems, so when they decline, it’s like a chain of dominoes falling. Testosterone deficiency can cause irritability and mood swings, and can also lead to depression. The last thing you want is an antidepressant when your core problem is actually testosterone deficiency, as many types of antidepressants also dramatically lower libido. That’s adding insult to injury, as the old saying goes!
These recent changes in your mood are most likely hormone-related, and can likely be alleviated through bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, eating healthy, and taking regular exercise. So don’t despair, and don’t wait any longer. Get your hormone levels checked. If your hormonal balance is normal, and your symptoms persist, speaking to a therapist or counselor can be helpful in establishing good coping and relaxation skills.
Symptoms sound familiar? Call and schedule an appointment today! 480.619.4097