GYN Doctors serving patients in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk & Portsmouth

A Gynecology Specialists note: Following is an excellent article by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Since 2004, our GYN doctors in Chesapeake have provided women with comprehensive gyn care and hormone therapy for perimenopause, menopause, hormone changes, hot flashes, night sweats, periods, mental health, fatigue, PMS, depression, and more in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and throughout Hampton Roads. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our GYN Clinic at (757) 312-8221.


Mood Changes During Perimenopause Are Real. Here’s What to Know.

June 2023

When you think of perimenopause—the years leading to menopause—you may think of the physical symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, and the eventual end of periods. But many people also experience mood symptoms during this time.

As Gyn doctors, we wish that everyone understands how perimenopause can affect mental health. Here are the top facts you should know.

Causes and Types of Mood Changes

Mental health changes can have many causes.
The hormone changes that affect your periods during perimenopause can affect your emotions too. Also, physical menopausal symptoms can lead to stress and fatigue, intensifying emotions.

On top of that, your 40s and 50s are a time when life’s pressures can be greatest. Many people in this age group are managing demanding jobs, raising younger children or sending older children off to college, and caring for aging parents. All of this stress can add to mental health challenges.

Mood changes can feel like PMS.
About 4 in 10 women have mood symptoms during perimenopause that are similar to PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. You might feel irritable, have low energy, feel tearful and moody, or have a hard time concentrating.

Unlike PMS, these symptoms may come at times unrelated to your menstrual cycle. Symptoms may occur for years with no pattern. This type of mood change is known as perimenopausal mood instability.

Depression is common during perimenopause.
Most studies agree that the risk of depression increases during the menopause transition. Symptoms of depression include crying a lot, feeling hopeless or worthless, feeling numb, and losing interest in your normal activities.

You may have anxiety too.
There are few studies about anxiety and perimenopause, but some women report symptoms of anxiety during this time. Anxiety involves constant worrying that gets in the way of your day-to-day life. You may feel muscle tension, sweating, or nausea. Both depression and anxiety can make it hard to concentrate, sleep, and take care of yourself.

Finding Help

Treatment options are available.
Talk with your Gyn doctor about how you are feeling. They can help determine if your symptoms are a sign of a mental health condition and refer you to a psychiatrist.

Before or after menopause, antidepressant medications can help with depressive and anxious symptoms. Medications that provide your body the hormone estrogen may help with depression during perimenopause, too.

Getting better sleep can make a big difference.
If you're getting too little or poor-quality sleep, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Not getting enough sleep has also been linked to depression, risk-taking behavior, and suicide.

Try to create the best environment possible for comfortable sleep:

• Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
• Avoid your computer, phone, TV, and other screens in the hour before bedtime.
• Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime.
• Skip coffee, soda, or tea in the afternoon—caffeine can affect you up to 8 hours after drinking it.
• Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark. Use a fan if that makes you more comfortable.

Other lifestyle changes can help too.
Other changes found to be helpful with mental health conditions include exercising, limiting caffeine or sugar, and quitting smoking. Anything that reduces stress can help too, such as meditation, yoga, playing music, journal writing, and massage therapy.

Keep your health care team in the loop.
During perimenopause, see your Gyn doctor regularly and discuss how you are feeling. Gyn doctors, mental health professionals, and other members of your health care team can help you through this phase of life.

If you have any questions about your health or perimenopause, please contact our GYN Clinic at (757) 312-8221. 

About our GYN doctors
and clinic
Our all-female practice covers a wide spectrum of gyn and health issues. Since 2004 our GYN doctors in Chesapeake have been caring for women and teens in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth.  Our services include hormone therapy to help women with perimenopause, menopause, hormone changes, hot flashes, night sweats, periods, mental health, fatigue, PMS, depression, and more.