Within the past year, I’ve experienced the most debilitating panic attacks due to perimenopause. Please come and join me on this search for calm, journey.
What is perimenopause?
Menopause is a natural event that usually sets in during the ages between 35 to 55. Women experience hormonal changes prior to menopause, which is called perimenopause. A woman has entered menopause when an entire year has passed since her last menstrual period. A woman’s hormones need to find a new balance, and the ovaries start to produce less estrogen hormones. This in itself can cause so much confusion in our bodies.
During the time before menopause you may have physical and psychological issues such as:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Hot flashes
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle aches
- Heart palpitations
- Sore breasts
- Sensitive skin
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinner skin
It’s so unfair! Isn’t it? Don’t you worry though, because you and I will get through this.
Due to drops in female hormone levels our skin becomes thinner. Women also start to experience the beginning stages of aging, but gracefully, mind you.
Prolapses may also happen due to low estrogen levels which usually causes painful sexual intercourse, loss of libido, vaginal discharge, itching, urinary tract infection and urinary incontinence.
Our hormones are going haywire! Drops in hormone levels are the culprit.
We also experience:
- Mood swings
- Risk of osteoporosis
All of these symptoms are due to a decrease in estrogen. We experience all the above because our bodies are no longer producing hormones. I will say this several times throughout this article. There is hope for us.
What are the signs and symptoms of panic attacks during perimenopause?
Having a panic attack is one of the scariest things that I’ve ever experienced, I don’t wish this on my worst enemy!
Anxiety is used interchangeably with the term “panic attack”. There surely is a connection between anxiety and panic attacks. Panic attacks fall within the list of some types of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety consists of uncontrolled fear, nervousness, and worry about trivial or non-existent things. There’s also fear of unlikely future events. A certain level of anxiety is considered normal.
Physical manifestations can happen such as:
- Sudden onset of extreme
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Sweating or chills
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty focusing
When it comes to having these anxiety episodes, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a so-called “trigger”, per se.
Soon after a panic attack, a person usually turns to their normal level of function.
Doctors have to rule out other possible diagnoses before they can call it anxiety. Possible underlying issues that may get ruled out are:
- Street drugs and prescribed medications
- Endocrine ( Hyperthyroidism)
- Other psychiatric disorders
- Cardiac issues
- Respiratory issues
You are not alone. Some women age 35 to 55 suffer from perimenopausal panic attacks.
I’ll never forget my first episode. It came out of nowhere! My first thought was that I could be having a heart attack! Palpitations were extreme, and I could feel my heart beating very hard. What was I thinking? I’m 52 years old and I should have expected these changes. No one has ever warned me of this, either. Talk about feeling alone in this pure hell! So full From extreme hot flashes to dizziness, nausea, muscle twitches, shakiness, and sometimes feelings of weakness, you name it, I had all the above.
There’s hope for us women. We can feel like ourselves again and live a normal life.
Let’s lift each other up and encourage one another during this challenging time in our lives.
I’ve taken a daily multivitamin, have eaten foods high in protein, and temporarily have taken doctor prescribed medications to help alleviate my symptoms. (let’s not forget about exercise!)
First, I would like to say that diet does play a major role when it comes to our overall health. Eating a well-balanced diet will most definitely help ease your symptoms, tremendously. We are indeed what we eat.
I make sure that I eat protein from meat sources because it provides B 12. Our nervous system loves B 12. Protein is very critical for menopausal women because it provides nutrients for bone density.
Increasing my intake of these foods has helped ease my symptoms. I would say that within 3 solid months of getting a sufficient amount of protein, my symptoms have improved to about 70%. Taking a daily multivitamin along with my diet changes has increased it to about 90%.
Not at all shying away from vegans or vegetarians, but that particular diet didn’t work for me. I was a vegan for 5 years and a vegetarian for 10 years. I’m 52 now so, I started this journey in my 30s.
A daily multivitamin has worked wonders for me as well (any daily multivitamin for women 35 and up is fine). I feel stronger, happier, and have tons of energy! Hooray!
Everyone is different, indeed and we have to pay close attention to our bodies to understand what it’s trying to tell us. What works for me doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you. I just want to share what has worked for me and pray that it works for you.
Essential Oils for panic attack relief.
Essential oils I highly recommend. They have helped keep my sanity at bay. As a menopausal woman, I can’t live without them.
Lavender is at the top of the list for calming and relaxing my entire body, let alone mentally. Affected body systems are:
- Emotional Balance
- Nervous system
Peppermint is one of my favorites. It’s great for headaches, which can also be associated with panic attacks. Affected body systems are:
- Digestive system
- Nervous system
- respiratory system
Ylang Ylang is also wonderful for anxiety. Affected body systems are:
- Emotional Balance
- Cardiovascular system
- Hormonal systems
Essential oils can be used topically or in a diffuser.
Essential oils have worked wonderfully with everything else that I’ve done to help heal and ease my panic attacks.
Prescribed medication that I have taken for panic attacks.
First off, I want to encourage you to get a true diagnosis of your symptoms, to rule out any possible underlying issues.
Getting a true diagnosis from your doctor is always the smart thing to do. This is what I did because I wanted to know exactly what was going on with my body. We need to pay attention to our bodies and be our body’s best friend.
My doctor prescribed Metoprolol, ( a Beta-Blocker/antidepressant ). The Metoprolol gave me instant relief for about 3 months until I started noticing side effects from the medication. I started to feel dizzy and light-headed for the next few days and decided to wean myself off the Metoprolol. Mind you, I do NOT suggest that you wean yourself off of your medication, because depending on where you stand in your health, you may have to continue for a longer period.
During those 3 months of taking Metoprolol, I was on a journey to find natural alternatives to heal my body. From what I can tell, my body was actually healing during those 3 months. I changed my diet, I started taking a daily multivitamin for women, started using essential oils for my emotional health, and exercising.
Before I decided to go down this journey of alternative solutions, I needed to know exactly what my issue was. Knowing where I stood made it easier for me to start on my journey to healing my body, naturally.
You can do it! Take your life back!
Perimenopausal panic attacks can be managed with a proper diet, essential oils, supplements, exercise and doctor visits.
Take time out for yourself even if it’s 20 per day. Connect with women going through the same. You deserve to be happy. You deserve it!
Come back and visit anytime, because you are not alone.