Complete Symptom Guide to Menopause and Anxiety | Stella

Menopause and anxiety


Feeling tense, jittery, on edge, irritable, or finding you’re worrying all the time? Maybe you’ve started to avoid social situations. Sound familiar? If it does, you may be dealing with menopause and anxiety. It can be difficult to manage and yet it’s a common menopausal symptom with many treatment options available.


Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion except when it impacts your day-to-day life, which can often happen when you experience it during menopause. Mild anxiety can feel vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety could seriously affect your ability to function throughout the day. It can change how you process emotions and how you behave while causing additional physical symptoms.

Anxiety can appear as feelings of tension, fear, or worried thoughts. Physical symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, chills, heart palpitations, chronic sweating, nausea and vomiting, muscle tension, trembling, increased blood pressure, or a rapid heartbeat. Panic attacks are scary and a severe symptom that can be triggered by anxiety.

People with anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or panic disorders, tend to have more intense recurring thoughts or concerns, and intense physical symptoms. They may avoid certain situations out of worry.

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  • 1 in 4 experience menopause anxiety symptoms
  • Anxiety or feelings of anxiousness can co-occur with depressive symptoms too. Read more about menopause and depression
  • If you had postnatal depression or a history of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it’s more likely that you’ll experience anxiety-type symptoms during menopause
  • Those who had high anxiety before perimenopause may still be anxious during menopause but are not at increased risk of even higher anxiety
  • Even those who do not experience anxiety when premenopausal, may notice more anxiety symptoms during and after menopause

Read more about the stages of menopause.

What are the signs of anxiety?

Panic attacks, uncontrollable feelings of worry, a feeling of impending doom, restlessness and feeling on edge

Physical symptoms, from nausea to heart palpitations

Increased irritability

Sleep problems and difficulty concentrating

Read more about panic attacks and sleep issues.


1. Talking therapy. Talk to your healthcare provider about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you manage low mood and anxiety

2. Increase exercise. Ensure that you are getting enough exercise – studies show that moderate to vigorous physical activity can help reduce anxiety and improve your mood

3. Manage stress. Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation may help

4. Good sleep hygiene. Keep a regular bedtime and wake time to get good quality sleep

5. Wind down before bed. Avoid using any screens before bed (including phones, computers and televisions)


Yes. HT is known to improve sleep, mood, and hot flashes, all of which may disrupt your sleep and lead to tiredness. However, HT comes with risks and is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your healthcare provider about your personal treatment options.

Read more about HT risks and benefits.

Anxiety and menopause FAQs

It’s straight back to your fluctuating hormone levels, specifically estrogen, and progesterone, that can cause changes in mood, but it’s not the only factor that can cause menopause anxiety. 

Menopause is a big life change that can rattle your self-image. For some, worrying about their sex life and no longer being able to have children can trigger feelings of anxiety and loss – especially if you have experienced infertility or pregnancy loss previously.

Hot flashes and anxiety symptoms have a “chicken-and-egg” type of relationship. If you have more physical symptoms of anxiety then you’re more likely to experience hot flashes as highly disruptive and vice versa

Menopause anxiety can trigger your flight-or-fight response and release a flood of hormones and chemicals, like adrenaline, into your system.

This can contribute to an increased pulse and breathing rate. Also, if you have IBS, anxiety may trigger symptoms like abdominal cramping or an urgent need for a bowel movement. You may also experience shortness of breath. You can also feel very angry or sad, or a range of other emotions.

Getting anxious repeatedly can increase your risks of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep issues
  • Long-term depression
  • Social isolation

Recent research has revealed a link between hot flashes and heart health – adjusting lifestyle factors can minimize your risk. 

Recent research (although indirect) has revealed a link between a lack of sleep and dementia. With more than two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients being women. 

It might be a good time to talk to your healthcare provider or someone you trust about menopause and anxiety if you feel that you might be anxious or have severe symptoms that make day-to-day living feel tough.

Stella has helped me gain control of my thoughts.”



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Dealing with hyperventilating, sobbing and early menopause. Read more

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How to boost confidence at work during menopause. Read more

How mindfulness can ease anxiety. Read more

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