Perimenopause and menopause are natural stages in every woman’s life that occur in her forties and fifties. Perimenopause refers to the period of time prior to menopause which is marked by a gradual decline of a woman’s fertility; this is when her menstrual cycles become more irregular and women may first begin to experience hot flashes, among other changes. During menopause, women no longer have menstrual cycles. Menopause is diagnosed once a woman’s period has been absent for a year.
While the menopausal transition is a normal part of aging, some women find that it is a distressing time accompanied by mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and sexual difficulties such as painful intercourse. The hormonal fluctuations leading up to menopause put women at a heightened risk of depression. Combined with the fact that in their forties women often experience other significant life stressors and events, such as having aging parents, adolescent children, and career-related issues, the perimenopausal chapter in any woman’s life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster.
Psychotherapy can be very helpful in navigating these changes. We will collaborate closely with your doctor to address the mental health challenges you are experiencing. If needed, we can provide you with referrals to a psychiatrist. For severe symptoms, psychotherapy combined with hormonal treatments and/or psychotropic medication may be the most effective treatment strategy. For milder symptoms, psychotherapy alone may be enough to help you manage the menopausal transition. Our therapists at Wildflower understand the biological, psychological, sexual, social and other ramifications of this period and are here to help.