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Natural Solutions for Depression and Irritability in Menopause

written by: BStone • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 4/25/2011

Some women may experience depression or irritability in menopause. Learn how to cope with these symptoms naturally.

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    Your Mood During Menopause

    Red Clover Many women are familiar with the common physical symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and dryness. Changes in mood are typical as well for perimenopausal and menopausal women. Many women deal with mood swings and irritability in menopause and some may face anxiety and depression. This is all part of the transformation that takes place as hormone levels change and a women enters the post-childbearing years.

    While these symptoms are relatively common, they do not have to be an inherent part of the menopause experience. There are treatment options for symptoms such as mood swings and even depression in menopause. Some women may choose hormone replacement therapy or prescription medications, but it is also possible to improve well-being and reduce these mood-related symptoms with natural solutions.

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    Diet

    Diet plays a very important role in helping to stabilize hormones and create balance while going through menopausal changes. Make a healthy diet a priority during this period, not just to reduce symptoms, but also to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition.

    Eat plenty of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and eat a serving of salmon and of a white fish once a week. Add soy to your diet as well as other good sources of phytoestrogens — apples, celery, fennel, nuts and whole grains. Try to minimize animal products, except for yogurt, and stay away from alcohol, caffeine and sugar, which will only aggravate mood swings.

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    Herbs

    Herbs can also help relieve irritability, tension and depression that may occur during menopause. Drinking relaxing herbal teas regularly can help to calm the nerves and encourage restful sleep. The following are excellent for menopausal women:

    Siberian ginseng is not a calming herb, but it can help with depression relief, fatigue and estrogen production. Avoid Siberian ginseng if you have high blood pressure, heart problems or hypoglycemia.

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    Exercise

    Exercise will make you feel better. Regular physical activity will help to reduce stress and tension, but it will also increase your energy levels and strengthen the body. Try walking for thirty minutes, four days a week. Join a yoga class or try water aerobics. Make sure you are staying active to help relieve mood changes during menopause.

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    Alternative Medicine

    Aside from diet, herbs and exercise, there are other solutions for depression and irritability in menopause. A clinical trial published in Holistic Nursing Practice, which studied two groups of women, both receiving acupuncture, either using specific body points or a general treatment to benefit Chi, found that mood changes are significantly improved by this form of alternative medicine. Other therapies such as massage therapy are also known to reduce stress and tension and improve overall well-being.

    Using natural solutions for irritability and depression that some women experience during menopause is a way to find relief while avoiding the negative side effects of hormone replacement therapy or prescription drugs. If you do choose to use herbs, be sure to talk to your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications or if you have a health condition.

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    References

    Cohen, Susan M. DSN, C-FNP, Rousseau, Mary Ellen MS, CNM and Carey, Bonnie L. OMD, LAc, RN. "Can Acupuncture Ease the Symptoms of Menopause?" Holistic Nursing Practice) http://journals.lww.com/hnpjournal/Abstract/2003/11000/Can_Acupuncture_Ease_the_Symptoms_of_Menopause_.4.aspx

    Balch, Phyllis A. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).

    Page, Linda "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone" 11th Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).

    photo by Johan Hansson/flickr

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.