Understanding the Link Between Menopause and Self-Esteem
Menopause and the process of transitioning through menopause is a tremendous journey of biological change that is triggered by varying levels of hormones with estrogen being at the center. The changes are irregular, inconsistent, and unexpected by you and those around you. Even your doctor cannot predict when your next period will come, and if it will be your last.
All of these changes, uncertainties, and variables have a direct impact on your self-esteem. Your self-esteem is how you feel about yourself, how you think other people feel about you, and how you perceive your skills and abilities. The biological shifts associated with menopause create shifts in your self-esteem by affecting how you feel physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, the movement trends towards the negative.
When you are in perimenopause, the time leading up to the end of your menstrual cycle, your periods will be inconsistent, which is caused by the irregular amounts of estrogen your body produces and releases. These irregularities spark physical and emotional changes during this stage. When estrogen is high, you can have stretches of drastic mood changes, anxiety and irritability. When estrogen is low, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and diminished concentration will be common.
This shifting impacts your self-esteem because the uncertainty forces you to look at yourself differently. If your moods are different and your body is different, does that mean that you are different? These differences also impact the way you look at others and how they look at you.
In a postmenopause world, the time following your final period, estrogen and progesterone drop to low levels. This stage is met with mixed emotions of your menstruation ending. In some respects, you might be happy to finally end the process. In other ways, you may miss aspects of the process and what it meant to you.
Physically, the changes are noticeable. Postmenopause is related to a tendency to gain weight. This, paired with the increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, can make you look and feel differently. Again, these changes target your self-esteem as the seemingly work against you.
The process from perimenopause to menopause averages around seven years. This is too long to hope that your self-esteem improves on its own. Once postmenopause life begins, the changes to your self-esteem will be permanent unless you can actively take measures to improve your state. The good news is that your self-esteem can be improved at any time, no matter what the contributors are. With the biological changes being the instigator, you will have to work especially hard to undo what has been done.
Consider these steps as ways to improve your self-esteem before, during, and after menopause:
Whether you realized it or not, you have been doing an important step towards improving your self-esteem during the beginning of this article, you have been gaining education on the subject. Without the proper knowledge, the changes in your self-worth could go unexplained. When the reason is not clear, people jump to other conclusions as they spend time and resources inefficiently. People blame their job, their kids, their spouse, and other explanations for their changes. Knowing that menopause is the culprit allows you to move forward in a clear direction.