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There are lots of myths and facts surrounding the menopause and when you’re searching for answers to your questions, the information out there can be somewhat overwhelming.
Here are some myths that you will likely hear and read about, but they’re not all that they seem…
You, Will, Get Depressed
Before assuming that menopause leads on to depression, it’s helpful to clarify the difference between clinical depression and depressive symptoms.
We all experience points in our life when we might experience low moods, such as when we lose a loved one or go through a divorce. Then there may be times that we feel rather blue, but there may not be any particular trigger for it.
These are usually short-term and may not require professional help. When it comes to the menopause, many women experience mood swings, where one moment they may be happy, followed by an unexpected bout of tearfulness.
All of these reactions are most often due to the fluctuating levels of ovarian hormones, but can often make women feel like they’re depressed.
Mood swings due to menopause are not the same thing as clinical depression. However, if your mood swings extend into a lengthy period of sadness and lack of energy and zest for life, then it’s possible that a clinical depression may be setting in and requires attention by a professional.
You’ll Lose Your Mind
You are neither losing your mind nor necessarily heading toward dementia. It’s once again more likely to be your fluctuating hormones and stressful life that may be temporarily interfering with your mind.
Menopause often comes at a time when women’s lives are typically full and busy, so it can seem harder to keep everything together.
Some menopausal women worry that their memories are going and that these lapses foreshadow the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, it’s very unlikely that starting the change will lead to long-term memory loss.
While there is some evidence that fluctuating oestrogen plays a part in influencing the part of the brain that affects sleep, moods and memory, it’s more likely that this strips women of their ability to concentrate, digest and recall information – which can be incredibly frustrating and alarming. When women should talk about menopause, they often refer to it as the ‘fog’ that creeps up during menopause.
You’ll Gain Weight
There are other factors involved that impact weight gain as we age, including a family history of obesity, diabetes, use of medication and a poor diet.
People tend to forget that men often put on weight as they age too. Physical activity also plays a big part in whether we maintain our weight and often pounds can be gained simply from decreasing levels of exercise. However, loss of oestrogen can contribute to an increase in abdominal fat, which is often the part of the body that most women tend to notice their weight piles on.
It’s more of an age thing, rather than a menopause issue and it simply means that you need to try and keep active where possible, not only for your physical health but for your mental health too.
You’ll No Longer Be Interested In Sex
It’s proven that the menopause does lead to a decrease in oestrogen, which can lead to a thinning of the vaginal wall and a lack of lubrication, that can cause pain during sex.
It isn’t, however, the loss of oestrogen that is to blame for a lack of sexual interest. Women also experience declining levels of testosterone, which can really cause your libido to take a nosedive.
Every woman is different though and some report an increased interest in sex, so it’s very individual from case to case. So, while the menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive cycle, it most certainly does not signal the end of her sexuality.