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Menopause and mental health

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Women Veterans

Menopause and mental health

As women transition into menopause, they may experience changes in their menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, urinary changes and other physical symptoms. This transition into menopause is called perimenopause. Perimenopause begins when menstrual cycles first change and ends a year after the last menstrual cycle, when a woman enters menopause. During perimenopause, a woman’s risk of feeling depressed is double what it is before or after. Women also may experience increased anxiety. This is due in part to fluctuating hormones and midlife stress. Many women experience major life changes in middle age, such as retirement, children leaving home, divorce, widowhood, caring for elderly parents and coping with chronic medical concerns in themselves and loved ones.

Do you think you might have depression or anxiety affected by menopause or perimenopause? Complete the screening checklist to learn more.

Checklist for depression or anxiety related to menopause or perimenopause

(Adapted from the North American Menopause Society)

Is there a recent change in how often you have periods?

Is there a recent change in how many days you bleed?

Has your period recently become very heavy?

Do you have any of these symptoms?

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Increased difficulty sleeping
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying spells
  • Increased urination
  • Leaking urine
  • Dry or itchy vagina
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

If you answered yes to at least three questions, consider speaking with your primary care provider or mental health clinician about assessment and treatment options.

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