The focus of this year’s World Menopause Day is cognition and mood. In this episode, Dr Louise Newson talks to Dr Clair Crockett, a GP and menopause specialist with an interest in mood, mental health and hormones. Clair’s interest in the topic stems from her own experience of escalating anxiety, low mood and intrusive thoughts in the premenstrual phase of her cycle during her mid-to-late 30s. Through her own research, she looked for ways to help her symptoms including through lifestyle changes, supplements and antidepressants. While these all helped some aspects of her mental health, it wasn’t until she began taking HRT that the premenstrual mental health symptoms eased.
The experts discuss the importance of considering hormones when helping women experiencing mental health problems and outline some of the ways they are working to improve education about menopause and mental health amongst healthcare professionals.
Clair’s tips to women with mental health symptoms in perimenopause and menopause:
- Track your symptoms and periods, the balance app is a good way to do this. This will make it easier to relay to your healthcare professional when you see them. Ask who has an interest in women’s health in your GP practice so you can see the most appropriate person.
- Tackling mental health in perimenopause and menopause is multi-faceted, it can take a while to get it right through a combination of taking HRT, your food choices, exercise, and doing work that inspires you.
- Make peace with your body image and don’t let it stop your progress.
If you’d like to read more about Clair’s personal experience of mental health and hormones, you can read her story here.