Menopause and Bipolar Disorder
It suddenly occurred to me why my bipolar is out of control lately; could menopause and bipolar disorder be combined? It turns out it could be, but I will have to wait a few weeks to run this by my psychiatrist. So in the meantime, I decided to do some research and here is what I found out.
When women experience menopause, the reducing hormones can trigger mood swings; combine this with bipolar, then the recipe for flare-ups is made. Apparently, little is known about the combination of these two, and thus I set out, for my own benefit initially, to discover what, if any, research there is.
According to one study of women who experienced bipolar disorder and were going through menopause, there was increased mood swings; here is an excerpt from the study.
Many women in the sample noted increased mood changes during the menopausal transition that they positioned as resulting from bipolar disorder. This is consistent with previous research that has noted increased mood changes for some women with bipolar disorder during this time, and history of depression as a predictor of depression during menopauseNCBI
However, it isn’t easy to ascribe one particular set of mood swings to either category. Is it bipolar, or is it menopause? Of course, life events play a part, and my mood swings have come when the whole world is going through the pandemic, and it has, and I am in no doubt, affected me mentally.
So What are the Symptoms of Menopause and Bipolar Disorder?
|Hot Flushes||Depression with the following:|
|Night Sweats||Lacking Energy|
|Difficulty Sleeping||Difficulty Concentrating and Remembering Things|
|Reduced Sex Drive||Loss of Interest|
|Memory and Concentration problems||Feeling Empty and Worthless|
|Vaginal Dryness||Guilt and Despair|
|Mood Changes – Low Mood & Anxiety||Difficulty Sleeping|
|Joint Stiffness, aches and pains||Mania as Follows:|
|Reduced Muscle Mass||Elated, Overjoyed, New Ideas, Important Plans|
|Urinary Tract Infections||Talking and Acting Quickly|
|Full of Energy and Self Importance|
|Delusional and Illogical Thinking|
|There are more symptoms, and I have an article on these.|
There is an overlap of a few things, such as difficulty sleeping, mood swings and memory and concentrating. And I believe it is where these overlap that problems occur and why some medications are ineffective when treating bipolar disorder when the woman is also going through menopause.
I might be wrong as I’m not a medical anything, just someone who experiences bipolar, but it seems to me, both conditions need to be treated separately rather than just being lumped together as a bipolar disorder!
This is the problem when you have a mental health condition; other areas which may affect you, such as menopause, are overlooked because the sole focus is on the mental illness.
Another study researching menopause and bipolar disorder concluded that:
… results support the theory that times of increased reproductive hormonal changes, such as the late MT and early postmenopause, here compared to early MT, are associated with greater mood symptom severity in bipolar spectrum women.NCBI
What Is the Treatment for the Menopause?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the main go-to’s for the medical profession, and it is one which I will be looking into further for my own health. It is effective in treating the symptoms of menopause, which means should I be eligible to receive it, then. In theory, it might be easier to stabilise my bipolar disorder. I say eligible as there is the possibility HRT could trigger mania in bipolar disorder, so it has to be monitored by your medical professional once again.
There are alternative therapies, but according to the NHS (National Health Service in the UK), they are no conclusive proof they work. You only have to type into Google menopause treatments, and a whole wealth of complementary medicines appear. I prefer the treatment which has undergone thorough testing.
Let me know if you have found your bipolar symptoms have increased during menopause or if there has been no effect; I would be mightily interested; please leave your comments below.
Peace & Blessings