Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about why you can't stop crying in the menopause.
This topic proved to be very popular with my last menopause live chat. It was amazing the number of women who were commenting on the fact that they just couldn't control their crying, so I decided to dedicate a whole article to this particular symptom.
Is crying a symptom of menopause?
The answer is definitely yes. Just from all the responses that have come in, it's clear a lot of women do suffer from this. It seems to be one of those phases, so it shouldn't be something that you'll experience right the way through the menopause. You might find this is something that only lasts a few months, or a little bit longer.
But there's different types of crying.
Some women find that they have crying spells where they will literally just cry at anything and everything. It may well be that it's just certain things that tend to trigger the crying.
There's also uncontrollable crying, and this is quite a surprising one. I know it's one of the symptoms that I will never forget from the menopause. I found myself, in a moment, just crying my heart out. It was almost like a feeling that the world was going to end. It was such a feeling of sadness and desolation and, after about five minutes, it went. And I was just astounded because it was as if it hadn't happened.
So, the uncontrollable crying can hit you any time, any place, anywhere. It can really take you by surprise and, obviously, if it happens at work or when you're with company, it can be really disconcerting and quite embarrassing, too.
You might find that you just get weepy and more emotional. I know a lot of women tell me that they start crying at films that never used to bother them. They'll cry at articles in the news or articles in newspapers and magazines.
And some women have said that they've had to stop watching the news, they've had to stop reading newspapers, because it just upsets them so much every time they look at the program or read one of the articles.
Feeling more vulnerable and sensitive
You can also feel more vulnerable. So, you can just feel really down, generally a lot more weepy and you may find that you're affected by things that never used to bother you before. When somebody makes a comment, you might take things slightly the wrong way.
You can become much more sensitive to what other people are saying, and you can end up crying because you might feel a little bit hurt or uncomfortable by the things that they've said, which they didn't mean. As I say, sometimes we can end up taking things the wrong way and that can contribute to this whole teariness and makes us feel really low and down.
What causes you to cry more during menopause?
So, why on earth does this happen?
It's nearly always due to low oestrogen. Oestrogen is our happy hormone. It makes us feel good as it acts as an antidepressant. So, unfortunately, as our oestrogen starts to fall as we go through the peri-menopause and the menopause, that can affect our mood and that's what can bring on the teariness.
And, very often, this is why it's just a phase because you might find that the times when your oestrogen has a sudden drop or a sudden decrease are the times when you feel most vulnerable, weepy, and emotional.
Lack of sleep
It can also be caused by lack of sleep. You know, if you think about it, if you're getting night sweats, if falling oestrogen is affecting the quality of your sleep, then you're going to be much more emotionally raw anyway, just because you haven't had enough good sleep.
It can also be due to stress. We can feel stressed a lot more in the menopause. So, if we're in any stressful situations, then our emotional control will decrease and things will upset us a lot more easily.
Natural remedies for your emotions during menopause
What can you do to tackle this? There are a number of natural remedies that can certainly help.
Hypericum is a lovely one. It's also known as St. John's wort. This is very good for low moods and anxiety. The only thing with this one, it takes about three to four weeks to kick in, so it's not something that's going to help you straight away. And there are a lot of contraindications with prescribed medications so, if you're taking things like HRT or hormonal contraceptives, then you can't actually take it.
But, if you're not on anything like this, and you feel your mood's a little bit low and you're that little bit teary, it can be a really lovely remedy.
We've also got ginseng. Ginseng can be a nice one, too, for lifting the mood, for making us a little bit more emotionally robust. This tends to be a short-term one, which fits in really nicely with this kind of phase in the menopause.
This one tends to work that little bit quicker, so you'll get quicker results compared to the hypericum.
You can look at our Menopause Support if it's appropriate. Fermented soya is known to very gently raise and balance oestrogen levels so it will help in that way.
You can also look at our flower essences. These are lovely for any kind of emotional situations. You could look at the Emotional Essence, which is a really nice one, or if it's more low mood that's troubling you, then you can look at our Mood Essence.
These are ones that you can keep in your bag. You can carry them around with you and, if you're feeling particularly vulnerable at any given moment, you can just put a few drops straight onto the tongue and, very often, that will help to bring you out of that particular situation.
Magnesium & B vitamins
Remember the magnesium. This is vital. You know, oestrogen is your happy hormone and magnesium is your happy mineral and this will help to keep your mood a lot more stable. And, if you want to add in some B vitamins as well, that's also a great idea. And it's fine to take those together.
What else can help?
Other things you can do include taking more physical action, if you like.
Exercise is really important. Exercise gives us that really good feeling. It can raise our serotonin levels, which will have a real beneficial effect on our mood. And I know if you're really down, you don't often feel like exercising. But even a 10-minute brisk walk in your lunch hour if you're at work or at some point during the day can be enough just to lift your mood that little bit more.
Talk to family and friends. If you're doing a lot of crying in a family situation, how do they know how you're feeling? All they see is their mum or partner crying all the time. So, it's really important to let them know what's going on, even if you can't really explain how you feel.
It's important just to say that you're feeling a little bit more emotionally vulnerable, you're probably going to do a little bit more crying. And maybe when that happens, if you could just have a hug or if someone could make you a cup of tea, very often that's enough just to bring you out of that situation.
Work colleagues can help, too. I mean, it's a difficult situation here because you don't want to tell the whole world what's going on. But, maybe, if you have one or two close colleagues at work, you could mention that to them and just say, "Look. This is what's happening at the moment. Nothing's wrong. It's just that I'm a little bit more emotionally fragile at this point." And, very often, knowing you've got extra support will be of great help, too.
Look at your diet
As always, make sure you're eating enough of the right things. A lot of caffeine, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, high salt and sugary foods will affect your emotions much more, so just be aware of how often you're having those in your diet.
And, remember the water because dehydration will affect our mood really, really quickly. Just making sure you're getting enough water during the day can make a huge amount of difference at work as well.
Is there any point here when you may need to speak to your doctor?
Yes. If it's getting to the point where your mood is really sinking, if you find you can't get out of a low mood or a crying mood, if you start to feel depressed or despondent, then it's really important here that you go and see your doctor.
We hear from women who have been suffering with this for months and months, and who don't realise that there are things that can help you out there. So, if you're in this situation, please don't put up with it. Please don't be stoic and just think you can get through it. If it's really getting bad and it's affecting your daily life and the quality of your life, then this is the point where you need to seek medical advice.
If any of you out there have experienced this and have found ways in how to deal with it, then please let us know. We would love to hear your story.