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Anxiety and Panic:
Early Signs of “Peri-Menopause?”

You pull up to the grocery store, locate a parking space, but just as you put your car in “Park” and shut off the ignition, you’re overcome with a wave of heat. You develop a lump in your throat, your heart begins to race and you can’t seem to open the door to exit your car. Your lungs feel crushed and you wonder if you’re going to die, right there in the grocery store parking lot. Are you having a heart attack? Should you go to the emergency room?

Well, maybe, but if you’re a woman in her mid thirties-to-late-forties, you’re more likely having anxiety.

Panic and anxiety of peri-menopause

Hormonal Transitions Can Span Four (or more) Years

The hormonal transition to menopause begins, on average, four years before you actually stop menstruating. One of the first signs of these hormone transitions can be anxiety and panic attacks. The average age a woman ceases menstruating is 52 but some women experience the worst of their symptoms as early as the mid-thirties or mid-forties.

Erratic Fluctuations in Hormone Levels During Transition

During the “pre-menopausal transition” your levels of estrogen and progesterone (the ovarian hormones) decline with each cycle. But they don’t decline in a nice, smooth, orderly fashion. Instead, it’s a herky-jerky ride down the hill. You can actually have dramatic hormone surges (very high levels of estrogen) while your ovaries are transitioning to menopause–think of these as “sun flares”. They are extremely high levels of hormones followed by “crashes”. It’s the crashes that can precipitate anxiety and panic attacks.

Hormones and Their Pre-Molecules Can Relieve Anxiety

Ovarian hormones and their precursors (estrogen, progesterone, and their building-block molecules) are natural “anxiolytics”. This means they naturally interact with the “anxiety-control” receptors in your brain (gaba-receptors) to keep your mood even, cope with stress, and prevent panic. Fluctuations of one molecule in particular, allopregnenalone, have been found to be crucial in triggering peri-menopausal mood swings, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome.

External Factors (“Life”) Can Exacerbate Symptoms of Hormone Change

Anxiety in the peri-menopausal transition is often confounded by job factors and family changes. You may find you’re having more conflicts with your boss or employees–perhaps you are older or a different gender than them and this creates tension. Children may be growing up and leaving (or not) home. Your relationship with your spouse may be changing as your sexual and other interests evolve.

Sometimes anxiety causes “dysphoria”, an emotional state like a “funk”–this can be mis-diagnosed as “depression.”

You Can Manage Anxiety

So what can you do about peri-menopausal anxiety? First, talk to your health care provider because sometimes anxiety is severe enough it needs to be treated. There are many good treatments for anxiety. Untreated anxiety can lead to heart disease, depression, and a host of other health problems. So anxiety needs to be identified and taken seriously by both you and your health care provider.

Medications and Nutrition Support

Although hormonal changes can precipitate anxiety, taking external hormones may or may not be the best thing to treat your anxiety, depending on the character and timing of your symptoms. There are cognitive (mental) techniques for managing anxiety as well as medications such as benzodiazepines (sedatives) and anti-depressants that work well for anxiety. Exercise, Vitamin D, and a B-Complex (plus a multi-vitamin) can support your body physically and mentally as you’re going “through the change”. Many women’s anxiety responds well to the cognitive techniques and paying attention to physical and mental health.

Peri-Menopause–More Than A Flash

So while hot flashes have received a lot of “press” as the harbingers of “menopause”, many women experience anxiety long before hot flashes set in. This anxiety can be the first sign of peri-menopausal hormone transitions.

If you liked this post you’ll love my book, “Get A Grip On Your Hormones!”

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{ 79 comments… add one }

  • SeaSpray March 25, 2009, 6:49 pm

    Hi..I enjoyed the post. I am 53 and actually STILL peri-menopausal. I am much later than my friends. The cotton pony may skip a few visits… and even though shorter..sometimes…she’s still riding into town. ;)

    Is that alright? (I do have my yearly gyn exams and did in October.. but didn’t think to ask about being this long in peri-menopause)I’m glad because I figure I am still getting benefits of hormones. I don’t get hot flashes..thank GOD! I did have 5 since I was 44 with 2 bad ones out of five… and last one…which was on vacation summer 05 -that memorable. :)

    Anxiety? ha..I can relate to that. :)

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD March 26, 2009, 7:26 am

      Hi SeaSpray,
      Thank you for your comment.
      53 is on the later side to still be in peri-menopause, but not all that unusual.
      The average age for cessation of menses is 52–this means about half of women are older than 52 when their menstrual cycle stops.
      Other symptoms, e.g. anxiety and insomnia, can begin long before and persist long after the cotton pony has ridden away.
      Dr. Binkley

  • SeaSpray March 26, 2009, 4:28 pm

    Thanks Shelly – I will be 54 in June.

    I do hope I sail through without the hideous hot flashes some of my friends have. As I stated … mine have been minimal. But I will say… I used to sleep so well and easily and now I am lucky if I get 5 hrs uninterrupted. And I sleep restlessly. Thinking of getting melatonin. :)

  • Michele July 28, 2009, 8:21 pm

    Hi, I’m 47 (will be 48 in Nov) and for the first time I’m experiencing anxiety (started 2 months ago). I had a period in Aug 08 and 1 in Dec 08 and then nothing. My GYN put me on HRT three and a half weeks ago, but I’m still experiencing the anxiety. I’d trade the anxiety for hot flashes any day. Frankly, the anxiety scares the crud out of me. I get 2 semi good days (where I almost feel normal), 2 days of anxiety, a day and a half of anger and the other day and half are a grab bag. I’ve had a lot of job stress, family medical issues, refinance house all at the same time. Any advice? Thanks, Michele

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD September 16, 2009, 9:29 am

      have you looked at the posts on anxiety on this site?

  • Jes September 30, 2009, 6:25 pm

    Hi, I’ve never written anything on a website before never really even surfed the web but my first panic attack in May of this year changed that. I’m 38, always been even-keelled but now I feel like I’m going crazy and always on edge that some weird symptom is going to flare up. My symptoms include tingling in my scalp which progresses to just feeling flushed and hot on my face, palpitations…like my heart skipped a beat, and psychological/emotional fluctuations…I find these extremely disturbing. I might be driving along just fine and then suddenly I’m in a deep, almost angry, depression and it might last 30 minutes or 4 hours. I’ve had my FSH and estradiol levels checked. FSH slightly elevated, estradiol normal. My doctor tells me this means I am in early perimenopause and that it may last up to 10 years! Are there any supportive therapies I can look into? Thank You, Jes

  • Ashley October 11, 2009, 6:48 am

    Hello,
    Im 56 years old and just starting peri menopausal I believe?
    My question to you is it normal to have severe anxiety and then left with pain in neck back arms and also sever heart palapitations and then diminishes into the next episode

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 11, 2009, 4:50 pm

      That could just be anxiety or it could be something more serious such as cardiac problems. I’d recommend seeing your doctor.

  • Osnat Lippa November 6, 2009, 7:36 am

    Hello
    I have turned 50 in Septmeber. I lost my Mum last April and in July started having very unpleasant what seems to be perimenopause symptoms. My first heart palpitations/panic attack episode ended in ER where at least I learned that I did not suffer a heart attack. Since then I have been living with extreme anxiety symptoms convinced I’m about to die. My doctor put me on anti Depressants but wth the three that I tried the side effects were too bad so I stopped taking them. Some days are better than others but mostly I’m struggling to make sense of all of these and wondering when am I going to get less anxious.

  • Lance Chambers February 13, 2010, 5:02 am

    Women should identify what is causing their personal life stressors and opt for a healthy lifestyle and exercise to increase blood circulation level and there are dietary or hormone supplements known for their safety and efficacy.
    Women should also stop worrying about perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms because the more they worry the worst it gets. Take is easy because it’s a natural process every woman should go through and understanding the symptoms will definitely help you cope and adapt to it.

  • Lance Chambers February 28, 2010, 11:55 pm

    I’d also recommend seeing a doctor about any symptoms associated with perimenopause such as anxiety and panic attack especially if they are severe just to make sure it is not associated with other medical problems.
    Regular exercise and eating healthy can help with many of the symptoms associated with menopause. Processed foods that are high in sodium or sugar should be eliminated completely from the diet. Replace these products with whole grain, low-fat, and low-sugar choices. Fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, oatmeal, and fish are healthy. Limit caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and sodas. Drink lots of water, and unsweetened fruit juices.

  • Judy June 9, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I am a 48 year old woamn who is certainly experiencing premenopausal anxiety. today specifically I have so much stiffness and tension in my neck that the back of my head starting going numb and then I could feel my heart racing and getting hot then cold. It scared me to the point I called my doctor and talked with them. My period comes once every 2 months and lasts only a day and a half. These episodes are so scary and I tend to get pretty worked up. I feel ike I am going crazy at times. But no depression.
    I just want to be reassured there is nothing in my head going wrong. I am trying to go all natural to control these symptoms but today I just couldn’t. Anyone else fell this way?

  • asomadhi July 16, 2010, 12:36 pm

    i get them both hot flashes and sudden mood-swings/anxiety attacks. i turned 40 in february & believed i was in the clear since my ma didn’t have these symptoms. i need help as these mentioned symptoms only add to the dreamy 8 or so day long cycles filled with heavy cramping, bleeding and clots. anyone had great results with addressing this women’s issue naturally? each month i’m getting closer & closer to selecting a surgical option but the fact that i don’t have children comes slamming down.

  • lynn jones January 22, 2011, 7:28 pm

    hi,

    i have just read some of your comments and am happy to see that it is fairly normal to still be having my period at almost 53years old! Most of my girl friends are well into the menopause. I agree with the advice to exercise…something I have been doing for many years…try to fit in at least 20-30 mins a day…either a brisk walk or i do a little routine at home…starting with a warm up on my cross trainer…best ever investment! easy and convenient at home! I can honestly say i am not experiencing any extreme symptoms and am happy to still be feeling reasonably on top of things…oh and I have a new hubby…remarried last year…they say life begins at 40! for me it was 50!! don’t give in ladies…or up! :-) x

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD April 4, 2011, 1:44 pm

      I’m so glad to hear you feel renewed in your fifties! I have something to look forward to.

  • Robi January 27, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I am 48 yrs. old. My husband and I are truck drivers and we drive from SC to CA weekly and are home 1 0r 2 days a week. Last winter, we went to Reno Nv. and when we stopped for the night at the place we would deliver the next mornig, I was on my coputer and told my husband I was having a dissy spell (I have them occasionally) he said I dropped my computer and stretched out my body and wouldn;t respond to him for 20 seconds. He said I had a tear come from my eye and this iswhen he called 911, I then came around and my legs were very week , I had a headache and was shaking uncontrolable…The next week, delivery was @ same place in reno, we parked and I became dizzy but didn;t black out, I went and layed down and I was ok. I mentioned this to Dr. and it was kind of thrown to the side of my visit. Last week, we were leaving Ca. and we were in Az. where we stopped to eat, I had just woke up, we ate got in truck and I began to drive. after 1 hr. of driving, I became sort of warm but not overwhelming, but then I had shotness of breathe, then my right side under breast began to feel as if someone were stabbing me with a sharp knife the pain was sharp, would go away for a second or 2 and come back. The pain got real intense ..My husband and I swopped out he took me to hospital when my hand and fingers began to tingle. When I got to the hospital, I was shaking…They said it was mountain sickness….Heart monitor was put on me for 5 hrs. When we got back to SC I went to my Dr. she sent me to have a ct on lungs and that turned out good as well. I have had these symptons again after being home and I am not in high elevation, sounds like anxiety to me but Dr. isn’t sure, what else can I have her check? I have recently lost 37 lbs since Aug.but I am not on a diet forsay, I am eating healthy foods and watching my salt. I have taken all sugar and flour out of my diet and eat whole grains vegetables, fruit ect. I exercise daily and I feel great when I exercise. Please if anyone has any suggestions, let me know them. Should I have a test on my thyroid? could this be the problem?

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD April 4, 2011, 1:40 pm

      You need to see a primary care physician.

  • Uzzy April 15, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Wow! This is so interesting and I wish I had found it earlier. I had horrible panic attacks and anxiety from my late 30s. Thankfully the panic attacks went before I hit 50 but I still have some anxiety. Since reaching 50 though I find it much easier to keep problems in perspective. Thanks for a really interesting read and best wishes to all.
    Kind regards
    Izzy

  • donna May 25, 2011, 6:20 am

    SO glad I found this. I will be 52 in June and still get my periods every month…they only last two or three days now but they arrive right on time. I have recently been diagnosed by an ENT with menieres disease…I woke April 5 feeling very unsteady on my feet and then had tinnitus since…I had an MRI…brain and head are fine but I did have an abnormal ENG test stating there is something going on with my balance. I see my regular medical doctor in a few weeks but for now I am on a water pill and am cutting down caffeine and salt, etc. I have a heavy head feeling a lot during the day…burning tongue…I really think this is partially menopause but we shall see. I care for my 92 year old mom so I do have a bit of stress. Im married almost 31 years to my best friend…he is a saint…and we have an almost 24 year old son who is a police officer….I have a good life and as a hobby I started a blogradio show…its just my therapy….I like to talk to all of us 50 something ladies about all types of life experiences. I would love it if you would like to give my last show a listen…this was when they were doing the tests and I was waiting for the results….its only my 6th show…Im really an amateur…just a nice past time…I loved reading all of your reassuring peri menopause stories….I will be checking in often…

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD May 30, 2011, 5:40 pm

      Thank you very much for reading and for sharing your information. I’ll check out your radio show. -SB.

  • Valarie June 20, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Help! I am 47 years old who is having insomnia for the first time in my life. I gave up smoking a year ago. I gave up having a glass of wine after work each night. I have had so much anxiety and panic for the past year. My mood swings are from one end of town to the other. I cannot seem to cope well with anything, job, fianances, husband, and kids sometimes. I cry all the time. I had to leave a career in Hospice do to exhaustion and the inability to work 10 hr days. Which I could 10 years ago. Tired as heck. I feel I am going crazy..I have not had a GYN appt since 6 months ago and she does not think it is hormonal. Trying to cope day to day with life in NH.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 16, 2013, 7:35 am

      Hi Valarie,
      I’m sorry to hear you had such a rough patch. Your experience of anxiety and exhaustion is common in this age group. It can be triggered or exacerbated by hormonal changes, but hormones are not the only answer.
      Thanks for sharing your experience and for following this blog.
      -Dr. B

  • Laurie August 31, 2011, 11:00 am

    Great to hear I’m not alone!

    My panic attacks started at 39 and continued off and on for a about 3 years. Things settled down quite a bit after that, while my periods got shorter and closer together. Then about 6 months ago I began having more trouble regulating my body temperature (both during heat and cold) and gained 15 pounds! So far no actual hot flashes.

    A generalized anxiety along with something new — depression — began a few months ago. Recently I started having indigestion.

    This has all been going on for almost TEN years now. I’m looking forward to being done with the hormone roller coaster.

    Come on, menopause!

  • Diana October 13, 2011, 12:34 am

    I’m 46 and I’m suffering from anxiety since few month. My Doc gave me beta blocker to reduce the fast heart beat, which helps me a lot. My period is quite regular, but I have the feeling that the peri-menopause just started. I’m visiting the therapist too. This article is very helpful for me, because I didn’t know that there are many women in my age with anxiety and that this symptom is quite common in peri menopause. I already thought I’m getting some mental illness. So thank you very much for this information!
    What can I do to free myself from anxiety? What did help you?

  • Kristee November 12, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Dr. Shelley,

    I would like to know if “most” women experience less anxiety post menopausal? I read above that some continue with anxiety post and am hoping that I could be one of the luckier ones with little to no anxiety after. The panic attacks and anxiety are horrific and am working closely with my drs. to manage in addition to all good relaxation techniques, massage, healthy eating, etc. I want to remain hopeful ;-)I plan on reading your book.

  • Nora Creamer December 26, 2011, 9:11 am

    Thank you all for sharing – I don’t feel so alone now. I am 51 years old this year and been going through hot flashes for the last 3 years. Usually only at night time, now the emotional part has snuck up on me and sometimes I feel like I am going crazy. Thank you again.

  • Gail March 1, 2012, 8:40 am

    I am almost 57 and have not yet reached menopause. Although it has been 4 months since my last period, (went 4 months before without then 6 months back having it) so maybe this is it this time? Have been seeing a psychiatrist due to intense anxiety and panic attacks. Still trying to manage symptoms with medication but haven’t found a combo yet that works well. I hate the fact that I need to take medication. Also dealing with a lot of life issues, caring for an elderly and depressed parent with severe OCD, I have health & pain issues with back and knee problems so the only exercise I can do is yoga (which helps a lot), my husband lost his job last oct. And has had to take one 2 hours away so he stays with his brother and comes home only on weekends when he can. My youngest son is due to move out soon and I am also plagued by empty nest syndrome. My job as an appraiser is in continuing jeopardy due to lack of work. Too much change all at one time! Scared to be all alone. But my saving grace are my wonderful girlfriends who are there for me. I am embarrased though to let them see my intense anxiety, so I try to hide it. They are all very strong women. Hope this all passes soon and am determined to stay positive, have faith, and reach out when I need it. Thanks for this site!

  • cure insomnia March 4, 2012, 6:39 am

    May I just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who really understands what they’re talking about on the internet. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you surely have the gift.

  • Kim March 21, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I’m thankful for the info on this site. i didn’t know what has been happening to me. Three weeks ago i went to gt my hair done & there was a promo for a free wax moisture hand treatment, so i did that & then she put the wrap around me to protect my clothes. Well I thought I was going to die…it’s like this clostrophbic, I can’t catch my breath, need air craziness that happened. I got the stylist to take the gloves & wax off my hands and then I was better. Two months prior had this happen on an airplane.. no way to get off & no window to open. I shut my eyes & tried to relax through breathing & visualization but it was so difficult. The lack of control is what is horrible. Yesterday was at the dentist, they tried putting the dam on which covered my mouth & nose agian freaked out. Luckily my dentist understood & we worked through it. Just wanted to pass on that it can be any situation, whereever & at no set times. Although I hate this..it’s kinda good to know it’s not just me!

  • Terri April 14, 2012, 2:56 pm

    I too am having alot of anxiety…I am 49. I have regular periods still yet they only last a couple of day and maybe come a little closer together than they used to. I get alot of heart palpiations. I was recently diagonosed with acid relux and take prilosec 40mg daily. The prilosec was helping my pvc’s/heart palpitations but not anymore. I also was diagnosed with endometriosis too..I have had some rectal discomfort and lower right pelvic pain. I had a transvaginal u/s done with a repeat to be done in 2 months. What will they do about that? I am not liking these changes. Thanks!

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 16, 2013, 7:14 am

      Hi Terri,

      These changes all can occur in your age range. It’s tough to deal with. Has anything new developed since you commented?

      Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experience.

      -Dr. B

  • Regina June 25, 2012, 11:48 am

    I am 47 and have experienced perimenapause since I was in my 30′s. some hotflashes, moodswings and lighter periods. I do feel better as the yrs come and go. I am a Minister and having God in my life makes all of the difference. Having a great hus band and family is a blessing. Not working a stressful job helps too. I do excercise, drink plenty water and eat well. I talk to friends about all of this girly stuff. Take a deep breath because we will get through this chapter of our lives.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 15, 2013, 6:37 am

      Hi Regina,

      The spiritual aspect of health cannot be ignored. The impact of our attitude toward life and health can be at least as or more powerful than medication or other allopathic medical treatments.

      Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experience.

      -Dr. B

  • doreen July 5, 2012, 8:21 am

    i had a full hysterectomy in my late 20′s, and have been taking synthedic hormones and never had a problem, not hot flashes, all good. I decided hrt might be healthier and figured it would be an easy transition, well, for three weeks now, I’ve had mor hot flashes then is the last 22 years, and the anxiety is awful, I can’t even drive at this point. Doctors don’t seem to know, so I appreciate all the info., next I am going to look at nutrients depletion in my body.

  • diane August 20, 2012, 2:23 pm

    I am 47 years old and losing my hair. I went to the Doctor to have all the obvious tests thyroid, heart monitor, fasting, iron, kidney ect. all came back normal but am still loosing my hair and am now starting to panic and have anxiety about the what if’s . I have done some research on the web and they say 50-100 hairs per day is normal and I am loosing way more than that. Do you have any suggestion. I have heard that low dose birth control pills may help?

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 3, 2013, 4:57 pm

      Hi Diane,

      Hair loss usually occurs when all the individual hairs become synchronized in the “telogen” phase (falling out phase) of hair growth. Normally, hairs are randomly distributed between the anagen (growth), catagen (rest), and telogen (falling out) phases.

      However, hormonal changes such as post-partum or perimenopause can cause the hairs to be synchronized in one of the phases. Most noticeable is when they become synchronized in the telogen phase. In this case the hair may fall out in clumps. It usually is self limited and will resolve within 3-6 months.

      I hope this helps. Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experience.

      -Dr. B

  • kathy October 4, 2012, 10:47 am

    Hi,
    I’m 46 and will be 47 in January. I started having anxiety attacks about 3-4 years ago. I would get all nervous, then my heart would start to race, then I would have to find the bathroom! Has anyone had problems with the anxiety attacks causing diarrhea? I will go for about a whole week with no problems, then all of a sudden it will hit me again. I get to the point where I don’t even want to go to town, for fear that I will have to find a bathroom or not make it to one. Last year I had experiences of dizziness-well, I don’t even know if I would call it that, the room would just start spinning. It lasted about 2 months on and off, and then went away. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me with these anxiety attacks, but am thinking now it is just peri-menopause the more I read about it. The only other time I had this experience was right after I had my first child, which would make sense, cause that would be a drop in hormones. I eat right, take a daily vitamin, barely any processed foods, no caffeine, hardly any sugar, take my dog for a walk every day, and am very active. Any advice?

  • Heidi October 14, 2012, 5:05 am

    Glad im not alone!! I have had panic attack on and off for years. These have always been easy to talk myself down….deep breathing and so on. Well this past week…the bomb dropped! Full on ( and i wont call them panic attacls) TERROR attacks!! Out of the blue…heart racing out of control, hot tingly kinda num sensation in arms feet and head. Not being able to sit down…hadto move…had to move! Ended up in er to make sure it wasnt a heart attack. All was well there. Felt a bit better the next day and then BAM…BACK AGAIN! Had taken .25 xanax…nothing…took anothr…nothing got up to 5(!) .25 mg of xanax and little to no relief!!(and let me make this clear i had NEVER TAKEN A PILL IN MY LIFE!!) Luckily follow up apt with primary was next day. I should mention im 43/44 in jan. primary surprised me by telling me it was most likely related to menopause!?!?!? (WHAT?? Im still a kid:). Long story short zoloft and klonopin untilthe zolof kicks in. Since on thie klonopin ( i guess it lasts longer than xanax) ive had two relatively decent nights sleep and yesterday i didnt get the ‘crawlies’ at all. They do however make me a bit spacy. Hope to be off as soon as the zoloft kicks in! So if your experienceing this my heart goes out to you! The “terror” attacks are truely horrifying and i cant wait to be on the other side of this ordeal!! Thanks for listening andbest of luck to all :)

  • Deborah November 30, 2012, 1:35 pm

    hearing others stories helps calm the fears and anxiety. I agree that I’d trade hot flashes for the prolonged anxiety. I hate not feeling normal and always having my body act in ways that are unfamiliar. I’m 50 and have had intermittent bouts with anxiety that are longer lasting that a panic attack. I only seldom have hot flashes and my periods are still monthly and with a heavy flow for 3 days. There are days I wish I were dead, then days I feel like I just might be ok. I am trying to find natural ways to help me transition through these rough waters. I don’t want to live in fear of what lies ahead, I want to be armed with knowledge of how to make it better. Thanks for all of the info and comments, I feel better knowing I’m not going crazy or dying.

  • Diana December 4, 2012, 6:45 am

    Hi,
    I’m so happy to find this site, because I don’t know what is happening with me really and reading here helps a lot. I’m 47, my FSH is still very normal, but my estrogen and progesterone are quite low. My gyno said I’m not in a perimenopause yet, because of the normal FSH levels. My cycles are quite irregular since 6 months and since one year I’m suffering of severe anxiety and sudden mood swings. I had some anxiety in my youth, but it was nothing compared with this now! I’m visiting a good therapist since almost a year, but it don’t help me really. Now I wonder if it’s possible that despite low FSH my hormonal change already began and my anxiety is due to the hormones? Many times I’m so scared because I think maybe I’m loosing my mind… Here in my country no doctor thinks that anxiety has something to do with perimenopause and hormonal fluctuations, it has to be mental! I also have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism,( 3 years ago and I’m taking thyroid hormones) which also can cause anxiety as far I know, but I didn’t have such anxiety before, it came over me just sudden and so overwhelming last year! I’m relaxing regularly, practicing yoga, drinking calming teas, but everything what I do is so little helpful… Could it be that my peri began, although the FSH level is still low?
    Thanks!

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 31, 2013, 5:49 pm

      Hi Diana,

      That’s a great question. During perimenopause, the FSH level can fluctuate. It can be low at times and high at others. Usually you need at least two elevated FSH levels (>40) drawn at least 3 months apart to be considered “menopausal”.

      Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experiences.

      -Dr. B

  • Virg December 18, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Wow I started getting anxiety and panic attackes after ovulution pain all over my body suspected FM. I have recently started progestrone tabs which has made a big diff. I am only 37 but with the hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety I am sure that’s what it is. Its gets worse every cycle and I have 10 days relief then we start again

  • tina kurtenbach January 18, 2013, 1:31 pm

    last month i came home after a party on had one glass of wine…well i went to go to bed and my heart was racing and had that funny feeling in my belly, like when you have a palpatation…This episode would not subside as i started to vomit and on the bowl. My heart rate was in the 100′s but it felt like 200′s I thought I was going to pass out..I had to have an ambulance come went to hospital…nothing found I dont have a thryroid but wel regulated this is new, my cycles are shorter with heavier bleeding and clots..only 42..this stinks…well now todat just had the same thing happen except i didnt panic i took a half of betablocker i used to be on and laid down and calmed myself down…dont think im going to like this for the next few years i know its hormone related…eat good less caffiene sleep exercise good luck ladies you r not going crazy

  • Sherry January 30, 2013, 3:16 pm

    It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! I’m 53 had a partial hysterectomy in my late 40′s. At 47 I started having horrible anxiety and panic attacks, I suddenly had a fear of driving, I couldn’t take the freeway, and I used to love to drive! I got my doctor to put me on something for anxiety and it helped, but it zonked me all day like a zombie. I saw a psychiatrist, I just didn’t know what was happening to me, but I was terrified and missed weeks of work. Finally after my 3rd psychiatrist the first thing she asked me was, do you think it could be menopause. And suddenly I felt relief, DUH menopause, of course!! But my doctor kept telling me I was too young and my estrogen etc. was all “normal”. Well I read and researched and started on calcium and magnesium supplements, it made a huge difference. Nothing else natural worked for me. I’ve since then gotten my doctor to put me on estrogen which helps with the emotional roller coaster, but so far nothings helped with the anxiety I still have off and on, and the lack of sleep, sometimes a sleep aid, but usually I’ll lay there and suffer knowing SOMEday menopause will end and I’ll sleep again (I hope). If anyone’s found anything that really helps with the anxiety and sleep issues, let me know! I agree with an earlier poster, give me the hot flashes and take away the anxiety and lack of sleep!

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 31, 2013, 5:47 pm

      Hi Sherry,

      Have you found anything yet that has worked for you for sleep?

      If so, please update us.

      Thank you,
      -Dr. B

  • Betsy March 1, 2013, 12:02 am

    Wow. I’ve been suffering for year’s with all of the symptom’s everyone has mentioned. I just turned 49, but the anxiety started when I was 35. I ignored it as best I could, until my trip to the Emergency room about 3 years ago. I was having heart palpitations, and thought I was definitly having a heart attack. All the tests came back fine. I now take some meds for BP, and general anxiety. Now I’m currently unemployed, and feeling very sluggish. I want to get out and find a job, but I have so many feeling’s of being rejected. I just feel stuck…

  • Jess March 30, 2013, 3:24 pm

    Hi,

    I’m 29 and have a history of a variety of “female” problems – endometriosis, adenomyosis and have been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries , I have just had a variety of hormone tests to see if they indicate PCOS also. Fun fun! I found this post due to having had for the last year or so severe panic attacks – which started out approx. monthly and have increased to being a constant level of pretty bad anxiety and in the first 2 weeks of my cycle having panic attacks. It’s horrible – my bleeding has actually decreased to (sorry for being very explicit) clotty and only lasts 1-2 days…I was researching hormonal imbalance and thinking that my symptoms – feeling depressed at times, hot flashes, pimples, difficulty losing weight, currently am about 12kg above my ideal weight – I eat healthily – high protein, low carb diet, plenty of vegies etc. – to try and maintain a steady sugar level in my bloodstream and assist in weight loss. I have been doing much less exercise lately due to the severe panic attacks I feel afterwards. It’s horrible. I have 2 young children and I am concerned that this is beginning to rule my life – I am off to see my gynae in a few days and sincerely hope that this can be resolved with hormonal management – does it sound like early peri-menopause?? Or a hormonal imbalance? Would I be best to see my gynae or an endocrinologist? My thyroid levels are also on the very low end of the normal range – I am hoping that perhaps all of these issues are assoc. with hormone levels and that they can be fixed asap!!!! Thanks for your advice and time x

  • Barb June 10, 2013, 6:47 am

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have been having a lot of anxiety lately as I head into the Big M. I appreciate the assurance that I’m not actually losing what’s left of my mind :)

  • Tiredoffeelinglikegarbage June 23, 2013, 8:20 pm

    46years old and have been experiencing feelings of anxiety and panic attacks for 2 years now. The episodes went from happening once every 3 months to daily. I experience these episodes of palpitations in my neck causing my heart rate to increase and feeling of major panic and anxiety. I also feel quite dizzy and fuzzy thinking quite often. I’ve had an EKG , holter monitor and echocardiogram done and results been fairly normal. I was put on a beta blocker to help with the racing heart rhythms and palpitations. The symptoms I’ve experienced have continued, am very tired of feeling this way. Increased feelings of depression, anxiety and very unhealthy and uneasy. Thyroid test came back fine, cholestrerol, iron levels and sugar has all turned out ok. Just don’t no what else to do.. Wondering If what i am experiencing is peri menopausal symptoms. Looking for some input.. Thank you

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 21, 2013, 6:31 am

      Hi Nancy,

      It sounds like you are indeed experiencing some perimenopausal symptoms. Check out the other posts on this site, as well as the comments, and you’ll find a wealth of information, including solutions for managing the symptoms.

      Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experience.

      -Dr. B

  • Judy June 29, 2013, 8:38 pm

    It gets really scarey at times, particularly when I am by myself and I think that I’m going to blackout. This doesn’t happen too often; just sometimes. Other than that, I think the Anxiety Attacks I get are so bad, sometimes I wondern if anybody has them as bad as I do. I know I’m not the only one in this boat; but I can’t take it sometimes, it gets so bad that the Anxiety lasts anywhere from 1to 3 hours. The Dr. Prescribed me something, but sometimes I think it hardly works at all. I hardly exercise at all, which I know helps but I’m overweight and it’s hard to get motivated. My diet is good, low to no salt, hardly any sugar at all, I use a non sweetener, I eat a lot of vegetables and I do drink a lot of water. My spouse, I’m almost sure, is having an affair but he won’t admit to it. My 21-year old daughter is hardly home, works 3 days a week and loves spending a lot of time with her friends. On her days off she sometimes stays home and has at least dinner with us. I can understand. She wants a life of her own; but sometimes she has an attitude to beat the band. Between my spouse, my daughter and healing from several sexual assaults by my ex-husband, the stressors are there, which I realize don’t help. Sometimes when I’m by myself; it’s all that I can do to not cry my eyes out. Even though It’s a little hard to deal with some days, I somehow manage with not a lot of backup, except Fromm doctors. I have 2 very good loving WatchDogs. Thank god for them and they’re constantly needing to be taken care of. They’re my support system plus friends that have gone through this before; And they say it’s like riding a Wave. But sometimes the surf is rough. In summary, I know I’ll make it through this, and I know it will take time but I think I’ve been in it since I was 46. Your stories help so I know that I am not alone in this. -J-.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 21, 2013, 6:27 am

      Hi Judy,

      Thank you so much for reading the blog and sharing your experience. In many ways our shared experience helps us tap into a power higher than ourselves, simply be realizing we are not alone in our afflictions.

      It sounds like you’re dealing with some PTSD and anxiety. Since it doesn’t sound like traditional medical options are helping, I would suggest some non-medical options such as meditation, yoga, regular walking or other exercise, and accessing your spirituality, in whatever way you find possible.

      Please feel free to share any updates you may have. Have a beautiful day…

      -Dr. B

  • Kirsten Currie August 16, 2013, 12:42 pm

    I’m 53 and still get my period occasionally. I am hypothyroidism and for the last year my thyroid will me stay within normal limits. Is this due to perimenopause? I also wake up extremely tired and shaky, after sleeping for 6 hours. Will HRT help?

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 21, 2013, 6:15 am

      Hi Kirsten,

      Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. The thyroid does interact with our reproductive hormones. HRT can affect how your thyroid medication is metabolized so you should check with your doctor on this one.

      Have a wonderful day!
      -Dr. B

  • Diane August 17, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Thank God for this site. I am 49 and last March I had to leave a family party because I was so anxious I could not stay. This has been going on now for 5 months. Worse about 4 weeks ago. I felt like I was going crazy and prayed to feel my old self again. I eat right ( take Boost twice a day when I don’t feel up to eating) walk every day and do my best to get a good night sleep. I also just started a low dose antidepressant. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Friends and family have been great. I have three older sister ones 50, ones 51 and ones 52 so we are feeling each others pain. God don’t woman go through enough? Just remember you are not alone out there. My periods come about every 10-15 days. Last one lasted 7 days but not heavy. The last 5 months I have had terrible dry mouth as well, head and neck pain and blurry vision. Check please! The good news is that we will all get through it even if you don’t feel like you will. Just ask mom and grandma.

  • Karen Thomas August 31, 2013, 4:48 pm

    Stumbled across this article and I am so glad I did. I have been experiencing panic attacks and anxiety for about 2 years now, I am 41 and actually feel like I am going mad sometimes. I used to be so confident but just lately the thought of something simple like shopping terrifies me, just the other day I was on my way to a job interview and I turned back cause the journey was 30 minutes and I could feel panic starting to rise in me. I moved 400 miles away last year with my husband and children leaving family and friends, a decent job and everything I knew so I am especially finding this hard to deal with. Also having hot flushes which always seem to come on when out in public I have even left nights out early cause the heat overtakes my face and my heart starts banging away and I just feel so uneasy. My husband is fantastic and so understanding though but I feel that the kids who are 13 and 5 are sometimes missing out on things cause I can’t handle busy or noisy environments at the moment infact I really panic and have to really control myself so I don’t look mad. Really want this to end.

  • Lisa September 11, 2013, 7:14 am

    I am so glad ive found women with similar problems! Thoght i was losing it!! Thought i had stroke/heart attack/ brain tumor/amd dementia with all i was feeling! Went to the doctor eho ran a gammit of tests, all negative! But i really thought i was dying!! Oh and body shaking/convulsing uncontrollably! Im 41 and shouldnt be in menopause yet, prob perimenopause :( so disheartened! This has scared me so mush, ive qiit smoking after 20 years of that disgusting habit!

  • carey16 September 13, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Hi everyone, I love reading all the comments on here…makes me feel like I am not loosing my mind. I have been going through a terrible anxiety bout or a sensation of high stress that remains with me like a constant all day long. I have the swets at night, hot during the day or I am freezing to the bone. I have never really had the crying jags but now I am a rollercoaster directly. The strangest symptom I am suffering from is I can completely irritated by my spouse, he is a dear, a saint and I can’t stand being near him….it is causing more anxiety for me than you can imagine and it is breaking my heart. Has anyone every felt like this…we work together live together…so difficult. I can handle the hormones changing but not wanting to be with my husband is killing me. Talk about a nutty symptom.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 20, 2013, 3:44 pm

      Hi Carey,

      Yes, irritability at the spouse is another manifestation of “The Dreads” (discussed in this thread in response to Silvy’s comment). The management options are similar to managing “The Dreads”; i.e. directly addressing the irritability or negative thoughts and / or addressing the hormonal fluctuations.

      I recommend you talk to your health care provider. Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. Your comments benefit everyone.

      Best wishes,
      -Dr. B

  • Bron October 4, 2013, 11:13 pm

    I had these same feeling at 21 with my first newborn child. Depression and anxiety. Thought I was ganna jump a bridge. It took a lot of help and education to beat that. I was cured for over 35 years! Not that I never struggled with the issues again, but it didn’t confine me or throw me in the pits anymore. NOW ….. here I am, just turned 49. It started two years ago this July. YES, I’m counting the days. I had a partial hysterectomy, but ovaries intact. Makes it impossible to track the real reason. I blamed stress, fibromyalgia, back issues with lots of chronic pain, empty nest, my seat was to far back in the car, I could NOT find a concrete answer, and I’m still gathering scenarios. Drives my anxiety and fear even worse! Then I considered Menopause. Has anyone else been worried about the time frame? Is it normal to have been two years now that this has been an emotional roller coaster? I can tell you that a traumatic event in anyway can trigger anxiety, as mine started the day after I had face surgery to repair scars. After that, I’ve been searching for a more solid reason. I just want to know …. what started all this! Does it sound like Menopause to you? In 35 years, I have suffered many traumatic events, cancer, death of loved ones, etc., but although horrid, they were also seen as challenging, almost adventurous. Never caused all this anxiety and depression for this long. I would appreciate any feedback …:) Yes, I have seen Doctors, and I am considered medically healthy, which isn’t good news for someone looking for answers….:)

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 20, 2013, 3:39 pm

      Hi Bron,

      Yes I call it “The Dreads”. Please see my response to Silvy in this same thread, as it deals with the same topic.

      Thank you so much for reading the blog and commenting. Sharing your thoughts benefits everyone.

      -Dr. B

  • Silvy October 20, 2013, 1:26 pm

    Hi,
    I turned 50 in July and all of a sudden started to have hot flashes – but they are not too bad. I just find I get hot easier and get slight hot flashes. My biggest challenge is with negative thoughts that seem to be consuming me to the point that I can’t sleep and feel anxious all the time. This past week I probably did not sleep more than 14 hours and am feeling really drained and tense. I am losing weight and can’t seem to eat and it seems to be crippling me. I have always been a very positive person and when negative stuff happens I think of the worst possible situation and realize really quickly how ridiculous the worse case scenario is. This time around I just can’t seem to get away from thinking negative stuff and questioning everything it seems to get worse at night and I get into real panic attacks. Interesting enough my last period was about 3 weeks late and I was feeling horrible but the day that my period arrived the anxiety seemed to subside substantially and I felt much more relaxed. So I thought that it may be hormonal and started to do research.
    I have a doctor’s apptmnt on Tuesday and am really hopeful that she will be able to help me because I am really concerned about how I am feeling and the impact it is having on my family and work.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    Silvy

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 20, 2013, 3:34 pm

      Hi Silvy,

      I call it “The Dreads”. In perimenopause, you can definitely experience negative thoughts and bad feelings, that are worsened by hormonal fluctuations. Estrogen is a “feel good” hormone and progesterone reduces anxiety. Both these hormones fluctuate wildly in peri-menopause when your ovulations become irregular. When your estrogen and progesterone levels spike and drop suddenly, as they often do in the peri-menopause, you can experience anxiety, anhedonia (feeling bad), and negative thinking.

      Some solutions to deal directly with the negative thinking are to 1. Be aware of it and pause; 2. Immediately recall a pleasant thought or a memory or make a mental gratitude list of at least 3 things and focus on how and why you are grateful for these three things.

      Some approaches to the hormonal fluctuations are to use hormone replacement or birth control pills during the peri-menopausal time frame; or even take certain anti-depressants if you are experiencing a baseline level of anxiety / depression that is exacerbated by the hormonal flucuations.

      I reommend following through with your doctor to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and management options.

      -Thank you for reading the blog and commenting.

      -Dr. Binkley

  • silvy October 20, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Thanks! I have been trying everything to relax but can’t seem to control it. I have tried natural supplements but does not seem to help. It has gotten so bad that last week I itried sleeping pills but only managed to get two hours of sleep before waking up all sweaty.

    Tonight I went on line and found some meditation videos that are helping. Can’t wait for my doctor’s apptmnt.

    Thanks for the reassurance that how I am feeling is somewhat normal as I go through this phase of life.

  • Michele October 20, 2013, 7:30 pm

    Hi. I posted for the first time back in July 2009. I was having anxiety and panic attacks. I thought I was dying ever day. I was out on medical leave for 3 months because I couldn’t drive 56 miles to my job and I thought I was going crazy. I only stayed on HRT for 1 month because my doctor didn’t want me on it long. I didn’t want to take any anti-depressants because I didn’t want them to change who I was nor did I want to be dependent on them. It really was a living hell. Fast forward to Oct 2013. I haven’t had any panic attacks in over a year. I get anxiety every once in a while, but it’s been really mild and manageable. I’ve always believed in God, but wasn’t an extremely religious person. I don’t go to church, but I have become very spiritual. I’ll tell you what, He is the only one who got me through this. It changed the way I look at everything now. I don’t really know how to explain it in words, but I thought I would put it out there in case you are not finding any relief for your anxiety or panic attacks.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 21, 2013, 5:50 am

      Hi Michele,

      Thank you so much for visiting the site again and posting your thoughtful update. I am impressed with the remarkable power of spirituality to heal seemingly hopeless afflictions, and elevate us from the darkest holes of despair. Perhaps part of it involves letting go and allowing God, as you know God, to work in your life. The process of admitting we’re powerless over anxiety, or whatever afflicts us, and giving it over to our spiritual power to manage, can be incredibly healing, in ways science and medicine cannot explain.

      In some ways anxiety resembles an addiction or compulsion for negative thoughts and self talk. The thinking brain (I like the reference “monkey brain”) ruminates over and over on the same thoughts, evoking the same feelings, creating a well-worn path for anxiety to seal its grip on us. I’m very interested in learning more about the specifics of your experience of God in your healing. Please feel free to share more here if you feel comfortable doing so.

      Blessings to you,
      -Dr. B

  • Michele October 21, 2013, 8:56 pm

    Hi,
    I hope this isn’t too long, but here is my 4 year journey with anxiety and panic attacks.

    I always thought I was a strong woman. I worked, took care of my family and handled everything situation very well… or so I thought. When my anxiety and panic attacks started in May 2009, I had no idea what they were. I thought for sure I was dying on a daily basis. I went to the doctor and had many tests including thyroid and heart (even the holter monitor for a month). I felt physically ill 24/7 and I too had weird negative thoughts all the time. I had multiple “major events” happening in my life at the time (new position at work, my sister going in for major surgery, my husband retiring (which made me the sole financial provider) and a house refinancing. I’m sure, now, that all of these things along with peri-menapause is what triggered it. As I said in my earlier post, I didn’t want to take meds that would change who I was or become dependent on them. The worse thing I did was taking the 3 months off on medical leave. I was afraid to go anywhere and I did nothing but feed the anxiety for 3 months. I knew something needed to change. I read up on everything I could find about anxiety and panic attacks. I went to the mental health clinic and talked to the doctor there. I needed to find a way to get through it because I knew I could not live like this. Everything I read told me that I was making the anxiety worse. I was feeding it with the negative thoughts. I tried hard to think of other things, but if I had quiet time, they would seep back in. I started to notice that when I was busy doing physical things like chores or projects around the house, the anxiety did not consume me because my mind was on other things. I started listening to Charles Linden. I listened and learned what he did to get through his panic attacks and anxiety. This confirmed to me that I was causing it. I listened to meditation tapes to try to relax. Needless to say, I still had anxiety, but I had a better understanding of it and I could discern that it was me causing it, so I would “try” to talk myself through it. Somedays it was so bad that I would cry uncontrollably. I was even making my husband cry sometimes because he had no idea how to help me. It was at this time that I cried out loud to God asking what I did that was so bad that I had to go through this. That was a turning point in my life. I started a one on one relationship with God that day even if it was just to ask why. A friend at work gave me a book titled “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. This book has an inspirational message for every day, 365 days a year. It also has references from the Bible that the messages are derived from. I’ve been reading it for 2 years now. When I started reading it, I’d felt “lighter”. I started having more positive thoughts. In addition to this, I started listening to K-Love which is a Christian Radio station. This station is in almost every city in the US. Now I was a hard rock and roll kind of gal, this music is still rock in essence, but on a more mellow side. The music and the people who called in to share their lives moved me They were people like me. Things started changing inside me. The more I read and the more I listened, the more my thought process started changing. I was becoming more positive. My family was the first to notice (even before I did). I started to give thanks everyday, even for my trials and tribulations, because they all had a purpose. I pray every night and I give thanks multiple times every day (even for the little things or the things we take for granted). I believe that God didn’t put me through this to punish me for anything I had done, he put me through this because it was part of my journey. He was putting me on a different path. He put me on a path that allow me to hand over my pain, my worries, my fears, even my anxiety. He’s already been to the end of my life. He knows everything have gone through and will go through. He has a plan even if I don’t know what it is. I don’t need to worry about what’s happening or going to happen in my life anymore. I trust in Him and He is with me always.

    I really hope I don’t turn anyone off thinking I’m pushing religion. I really not trying to. I know before all this happened, I probably would have thought the same thing. I just wanted to share that negative thoughts create more negative thoughts and positive thoughts create more positive thoughts. Do whatever it takes in your life to create those positive thoughts. You can get through this! I hope this helps someone. God Bless! Michele

  • Paige October 21, 2013, 9:10 pm

    I am so happy to have found this site! I just turned 38 and for the past 6mos have been susceptible to anxiety/panic attacks. Never an issue before. It’s so very frustrating. I do not feel like the same woman….I am moody, not very happy most of the time and dealing with this awful overwhelming feeling of something being terribly wrong with me. I have basically the same symptoms as everyone else… the tingling, heart palpitations, chilled then sweaty…and then the fear of heart attack, etc. I have always been a happy, optimistic person so this has been so difficult to deal with. My husband does his best to help and talk ne thru it but my brain wins most of the time. I am just so surprised that it us happening this early… and it could last up to 10 years!!! Oh my goodeness!! I have eliminated caffeine and rarely drink… trying to take a natural unmedicated approach, if possible. Anyone have any suggestions??? Thanks!!!!

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 22, 2013, 4:23 am

      Hi Paige,

      Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. Please see the comments on this post. You are experiencing “The Dreads”. They often accompany hormonal changes, be it post partum, adolescence, and peri-menopause.

      -Dr. B

  • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 22, 2013, 4:15 am

    Hi Michele,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Anxiety is a disease of the thinking triggered by stress. Anxiety can indeed be moderated or “cured” by spirituality.

    We inevitably experience stress in our lives and the brain goes into a “fight or flight” mode, manifested as toxic thinking (the brain is doing it’s job, preparing us for worst case scenarios). The problem is the brain can overdo it, getting us into a rut of toxic thinking, ruminating over and over on the same negative thoughts. The toxic thoughts cause our bodies to continuously release stress hormones, thereby feeding more negative thoughts — it’s a vicious cycle.

    Spirituality, however you access it, is a very effective, possibly essential, way out of this morass of toxic negative thoughts. There are many ways to access one’s spirituality, aside from organized religions – the Great Out Doors (GOD) … uplifting music puts our brains into an alpha state … spiritual readings … meditation … yoga … exercise … making a gratitude list everyday — this redirects our focus to all the positives in our lives, causing the negatives to fade more and more into the background … connecting with other people — we realize we are not alone.

    By accessing our spirituality we can modulate our physical and emotional response to stress and decrease our own anxiety — our breathing slows, our heart rate drops, our sense of well-being increases. We break the cycle of toxic negative thoughts and redirect our heart and mind and physical selves into a positive sphere.

    Anyway I’m so happy for you that you are feeling better. Your sharing your story here will help many others. Blessings to you.

    -Dr. B

  • Suzanne October 31, 2013, 8:09 am

    Hi,
    I have been going through hell since i hit 40. Been ok for a few years but since a month ago at age 44..BOOM! the anxiety, panic, hot flashes have hit with a vengeance. Came on so quick i ended up in the ER twice till finally i went to see a doctor who specializes in women’s health and she did some tests that my regular doc doesn’t do, DHEA, Ovary function, etc and she found that my progesterone is way low and i have some gene that prevents me from metabolizing folic acid. She put me on Deplin which has really helped but still having some issues with the progesterone pill i take at night…makes me sometimes shaky in the morning and nauseous..anyone else out there in my boat? i am trying to work and some days i feel like skipping around the office and others i just want to stay in bed till this passes…ugh

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD October 31, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Hi Suzanne,

      Progesterone can reduce anxiety so if your progesterone is low it does make sense to supplement as you have. Folic acid is important for the body to make many of the mood-regulating hormones so this is a good combination for you. Unfortunately mood swings like you describe having at work are a fact of perimenopause. The trick is developing a strategy for managing them, instead of them managing you. Good job! Keep up the good work.

      -Dr. B

  • Sherry November 1, 2013, 8:19 am

    Paige,

    I was taking an estrogen pill prescribed by my doctor and then moved to a patch which I liked better, except they don’t stick well. But I still wasn’t exactly right. It did help some of my symptoms but not all. I added Pro-gest by Emerita, having had a hysterectomy my doctor wouldn’t prescribe progesterone, even though I knew I needed it. The Pro-gest did help to calm me and I slept so much better! You can get Pro-gest or Phytoestrogen (if you want to try the estrogen cream) by Emerita at most health food stores, vitamin stores or online. It took almost a month before I started to feel better, and smearing globs of cream on my arms, thighs, or stomach was messy, but it did help. And taking magnesium and calcium, very calming.

    But because I still don’t feel 100% and haven’t in 8 years now…I saw a BHRT doctor for the first time last week. Hope her prescribed hormone creams work even better to balance the roller coaster journey my hormones are on.

    I did try everything my doctor prescribed, and they worked for some of the symptoms, and I tried everything natural I could, and they also worked for some of the symptoms, and I tried hormone pellets, those also worked for some of the symptoms…so let’s see if BHRT will work for ALL of the symptoms. It’s very expensive since insurance doesn’t cover it, but I’ve been saving and putting aside money and I’m worth it! I’m tired of feeling robbed and held hostage by my waining hormones.

    Sherry

  • Julia November 7, 2013, 3:45 am

    I am very happy to have found this site! I am 50 in 3 weeks time and have been suffering with anxiety on and off for the last 4 years! During this time, I lost both my Mum and my Mother-in –Law to cancer. I’m sure the anxiety was brought on by the peri-menopause but was exacerbated by the stress of losing my loved ones.
    At worst, I had to take several months off work, had agoraphobia, and took anti-depressant medication for a year. I also had counselling and started yoga. After trying 5 types of AD’s, I found the one that helped my anxiety. However, I gained 2 stones in weight so decided to come off them in April of this year. I have been taking various supplements, including Complex B vits, Magnesium and Calcium and a supplement to support my thyroid as I have a goiter and am borderline hypo-thyroid. I have also started using Natural Progesterone Cream. I also exercise regularly, which really helps. I still feel spaced out and dizzy at times, but much better than I did prior to taking the anti-depressants. These supplements were really working for me but I haven’t had a period for the last two and a half months and I am noticing that the anxiety is starting to build again. Would missing 2 periods cause the anxiety?
    I can cope with it better this time around, as I keep telling myself it’s my hormones and I am able to work through it with my breathing (learnt at yoga). Unfortunately, I don’t think doctors realise what women go through with hormonal changes. I’m hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel for me soon. It’s really nice to know I am not the only one feeling like this, and going out of my mind!

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD November 8, 2013, 5:18 am

      Hi Julia,

      You’re doing all the right things incorporating all the tools in the toolbox to deal with this difficult time. Keep up the good work!

      -Dr. B

  • Kari December 2, 2013, 10:44 am

    I am 39 years old and suddenly started suffering from acute anxiety and panic attacks this summer, with no explanation. My life was turned upside down and I thought I was having a nervous breakdown or becoming mentally ill. This blog helped me pinpoint very quickly that it was hormonal, so I got help quickly. My doc put me on natural progesterone (tablets). This is will be my 3rd month taking the progesterone and I have improved so much! I haven’t had a panic attack since starting the progesterone, and the anxiety has become manageable. I still have waves of “The Dreads” which unnerve me, but I am able to get past them fairly quickly. My question is: How long does it typically take before the progesterone is in full effect? Should I be totally better and back to normal by now, after 3 months, or should I expect to keep improving over the next few months?

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 3, 2013, 4:42 pm

      Hi Kari,

      Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your experience. The anxiety you’re having can wax and wane with changes in your hormone levels. The most dramatic improvement in symptoms will occur within the first three months, but you may notice ongoing improvement and mood stabilization over 6 months to a year’s time. The only way to know what’s going to happen is to keep taking the progesterone and see how you feel over time. Keep us posted on your experience.

      Thank you!
      -Dr. B

  • Cindy December 13, 2013, 9:02 am

    I am 42 and have been having some anxiety over driving and being very moody and quick to scream at ppl lol,I also have no libido at all. I do not have hot flashes at all,dr gave me xanax which i take .05 daily i cut them in 1/2 and try to only take one but end up at night taking the other to sleep and I am trying not to take them at all with no success. Went to OB had all my levels checked all good she wanted me to take celexa or effexor but i have heard horror stories of these meds and I am very scared to take them just like the xanax. Is there anyway to get over this without the drugs? Being in a car is when i need the xanax the most i take it before i leave i am a little better then I was a few months ago but not all the way.

    • Dr. Shelley Binkley, MD December 15, 2013, 6:23 am

      Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. Your symptoms are commonly experienced at the time of hormone changes such as the forties. Yes, there are ways of dealing with specific anxieties, such as your anxiety regarding the car, without medication. These can include techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and desensitization therapy. You should follow up with your health care provider to learn more about these or get a referral to someone in your area.

      Thank you again for reading and sharing your experience.

      -Dr. B

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