House Call: Emotional Changes and Menopause
Menopause not only affects women physiologically, it can also have a significant emotional impact.
Not only are women dealing with common symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances and weight fluctuations, they may also be coping with other life changes that often occur during middle-age, such as grown children moving in and/or out of the house, caring for aging parents and long-term financial preparations.
More: Menopause Statistics
Sometimes, it can be difficult for women to distinguish if it is the external or internal factors that are causing them emotional distress, and often it can be both. Therefore, the most important step in dealing with the major changes that occur in women during their mid-life is to establish an open and trustful connection with someone such as their spouse, friend, sibling, pastor or professional counselor. Although this person may not fully understand all the changes occurring, they can be someone who can listen, acknowledge, and provide support.
It is also important for women to find ways to reduce their stress levels while they are going through menopause. Activities such as regular exercise, eating healthy and reading a book can help lower stress. Keeping a journal can also serve as a way to cope, identify and reflect on the life changes that are occurring during this time period.
Fortunately, The Women’s Health Network at Cone Health MedCenter High Point has a Certified Menopause Practitioner dedicated to educating women about menopause, and providing exceptional treatment, as well as referrals to counseling services, for women experiencing the physiological and emotional changes often associated with menopause.
Cate Wineburg is a licensed counselor and psychotherapist at her practice in Greensboro, and works with Cone Health. Cate earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Pittsburgh and holds a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has held adjunct faculty positions for many years in the Department of Social Work at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Guilford College, and North Carolina A&T State University. As a licensed psychotherapist, she has published articles and essays on relationships and dialogical communication.