Why you can feel extra sensitive during menopause

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

12 February 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about getting extra sensitive in the menopause. And this is another one of the really common emotional situations that we can find ourselves in.

Why do I feel this way?

Now, again, it's just down to falling oestrogen affecting our emotions and affecting the way that we react to other people and what they say, and the way in which we interpret what they are saying.

And I know that a lot of women will tell me that just for some reason, it could be their partner, it could be their families, they start to get extra sensitive to everything that's being said. They feel that everything that's aimed at them is criticising them, is pulling them down, is making them feel very bad, making them feel very unhappy.

What can happen at home

They can get extremely reactive towards their husband, or partner, or friend which can then turn into arguments. And I know for some women that they are finding this a really tough one to deal with and because of their over-reactiveness, if you like, to whatever other people are saying, that their relationships are starting to suffer and their partners are basically just saying, "Right, I've had enough of this."

It can be even worse if you're living with teenagers because you can imagine, you know, teenagers who're very sensitive to everything, and you're reacting in exactly the same way. It can be a living hell, as somebody said to me not long ago.

What can happen at work

This can also happen at work as well, and this is a really difficult situation because if you feel that your boss is picking on you, that they are being extra critical of your work, or you feel that they're pulling you down in front of your workmates, it's very difficult to retaliate and in the menopause as well, when you're in this situation, your confidence tends to go as well, so maybe in times gone by, if somebody had spoken to you in a way which you thought was inappropriate, you would be able to stand up for yourself.

But very often what happens here is that the women will find themselves in tears and running out the room, and just not able to cope and again, especially for those of you that are maybe working in a sort of male-orientated workplace, this can be extremely difficult.

For some women as well, this situation can get out of hand and can lead to feelings of the fact that everybody and the world is out to get you, and that it can almost feel like you're in a state of paranoia. 

Go and see your doctor

If that's the case, if you feel that this is really taking over your life, then this is the point where you go and see the doctor purely because your hormonal shift can be so great. And this is not something that we can deal with with home remedies or over-the-counter herbal medicines. 

So, as I mentioned before, this is a really horrible one because it eats away your self-confidence. It just eats away of who you are, and who you feel you are, and how you present yourself to the world, to other people, and your relatives too.

What can you do about it?

So what can you do about this one? There's a couple of things that you can certainly try.

Herbal remedy

We have a lovely remedy called Stress Relief Daytime, and this is known to help with anxiety and stress during the day. It's non-addictive, it's non-sedating, so if you are finding yourself in this situation at work, then it's a nice one to try. 

Flower Essence

We've also got Female Essence, which is one of the Flower Essences. And these are lovely. They're very gentle and they work on the emotional side, so these can help to make you less sensitive, or maybe even just to sort of desensitise you a little bit to the criticisms that you may feel are coming your way.

Talk to those around you

The other really important thing here is talk to your family, talk to your partners and just say, "Look, this is my hormones talking. This is not me."

You know, most women are not normally that argumentative. So, if you can get the rest of your family to understand how you're feeling and it's your hormones talking, then they hopefully will be less reactive to you when you find yourself in one of these situations and that will then diffuse everything, and you're less likely to get into the state of confrontation and a full-blown argument. 

Don't beat yourself up

The other thing you can do, although it's very difficult because one of the things I realised when I was going through this phase was that you get caught up in it so quickly that your rational brain doesn't get a look in. Well after this situation you can be sitting there and you can think, "That was awful, why didn't I stop myself?"

But when you're in it, because of the hormonal flux and changes that are going on, you very often don't have any control. So the other really important thing here is, don't beat yourself up about it. Don't start to feel guilt because if you do, that's just going to compound the whole problem.

So it's really important here to realise that for yourself as well, this is a phase of the menopause and for most women, it tends to be quite a short-lived one for most women that you will get out of it. 

So, although I would sort of say, if you start to feel these things coming on, walk away. That's not very easy and I know myself, it was, when you're in that moment, your own rationale goes out the window as well. However, what you can do on a regular basis if you're in this whole scenario is to practice slow deep breathing on a regular basis. 

Part of the problem with this situation is that your nervous system is firing on all cylinders practically the whole time, and if you can do deep slow breathing during the day, you're going to take the edge off it. And you might find that you become less upset at any situation that you are in.

Keep a diary

The other thing to do as well is this is my little diary time. Get a diary and write down when these situations are occurring. Do you find that it happens at the same time every day? Is it always in the kitchen after you've cooked the dinner? Is it, you know, halfway through your working day?

Because sometimes if these situations happen at the same time every day, there is very often a real physical reason for this and that can be the fact that you are dehydrated. You've not remembered to drink your water. It could be that you're just tired. If it's happening at the end of the day every day, then very often, that's just fatigue kicking in that's making you more vulnerable to this situation. 

And the other thing is low blood sugars as well. If you haven't eaten for a while, or you've had something like caffeine, or you've had a sugar hit just beforehand, then these will affect your blood sugar levels and that will make you more cranky as well.

What's helped you?

So there's loads of things that you can do about this one. And I'd love to hear from any of you who've been in this situation and have tried something and it's helped you because I love it when you email or contact me and you're more than happy to share all your wonderful tips.

So, here's hoping that if you're in this situation that you can feel more in control when it actually happens.

So until next time, I will look forward to seeing you next week on another A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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