Symptoms Of Stress - How Stress Affects Menopause

Many classic symptoms of stress are identical to signs of menopause. How much influence does your lifestyle have on the way you experience the change of life?


How often have you snapped at your kids just for breathing, put the socks in the toaster and the bread in the washing machine, cursed out loud in a traffic queue, or burst into tears because a friend turned up three minutes late to meet you?

If you've been blaming the menopause for forgetfulness, mood swings and irritability, think again. These are all well-documented symptoms of stress - and you could well see an improvement in the way you experience the menopause if you work at finding ways to relieve stress in your day to day life.

Sign of stress, or menopausal symptom?

Tired woman at laptop

Here are just a few of the numerous symptoms of stress, that you might have put down to the menopause. If you can identify a source of stress in your life, you could get useful relief by making lifestyle changes, rather than putting up with things because..."It's the menopause...".

The effects of stress on your health can be far-reaching, so don't delay.

Physical symptoms of stress

  • Tiredness
  • Menopausal women often complain of exhaustion - but this is also a time of life when heavy, tiring demands can be made on you by others.
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble sleeping? It's a common problem in midlife. Tackling the worries that are circling around in your brain and keeping you awake could help.
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Stress can affect your appetite, and can make you extra hungry. Result? You eat too much of the wrong kind of things, which all contributes to menopausal weight gain.
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Blood pressure goes up if your weight increases, which can happen during menopause. Everything is linked...you feel stressed, you eat unwisely, your body releases fat-storing hormones, you put on weight - and your blood pressure goes up because stress and weight gain are affecting you.
  • Headache
  • All sorts of aches and pains are laid at the door of menopause - but did you know that stress can also make your head, back and joints painful?
  • Upset stomach
  • Digestive problems, including constipation, nausea and queasiness can all have their roots in feeling stressed, and are often experienced by menopausal women.

Other physical symptoms of stress include: tense muscles and cramps, allergies and skin problems, and increased susceptibility to colds and flu.

Psychological symptoms of stress

  • Memory problems
  • Show me a woman of 40+ who doesn't forget things from one moment to the next. It happens to almost everyone - but could the underlying reason be that we have to pack too much into our lives, rather than being simply an effect of the change?
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Caused solely by menopause? Or could stressors like health and money worries, ageing parents and troublesome teenagers be an influence on menopausal depression and anxiety in menopause?
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling under stress and menopausal can put you on a very tight rein, and make even a calm person volatile and angry.
  • Overeating
  • A sign of emotional eating or stress eating, which can contribute to a midlife weight problem. The hormonecortisol and stress also have a role to play.
  • Tearfulness
  • Bouts of tears can overwhelm you when life seems to pile in relentlessly. Ease the pressure, and the stress signs should also dwindle.

Other psychological symptoms of stress include restlessness and hyperactivity, boredom, irrational fear and guilt.

It's hard to work out how much of what you experience day to day is caused by the menopause, and how much is a symptom of stress. Experiment with different ways to relieve stress, and you could make your menopausal years far more manageable.

Go to Beat Menopause Weight Gain Home Page. Or go back to the top of Symptoms of Stress.

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Facts about stress

"The effects of stress are even more profound than imagined. It penetrates to the core of our being. Stress is not something that just grips us and, with time or effort, then lets go. It changes us in the process. It alters our bodies—and our brain."

John Carpi, writing in Psychology Today Magazine


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