Although the menopause is a normal transition for every woman, it is experienced uniquely for each person. Apparently there are thirty four signs and symptoms of the menopause which include: overwhelming fatigue, libido loss, memory lapses, bloating, hair changes, bladder incontinence, anxiety and stress, difficulty concentrating, mood swings and most commonly and debilitating; depression. Women going through the menopause are four times more likely to suffer from depression than women who are younger than forty five. Depression can be accompanied by suicidal thoughts, continual feelings of worthlessness and changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Aside from hormonal changes, in particular, the rapid drop in oestrogen may not be the only thing that can affect a menopausal woman’s mood. The development of anxiety or depression during menopause can also be influenced by low self-esteem; increased stress either from work or personal relationships; negative feelings toward menopause or the idea of ageing; lack of exercise or physical activity; smoking; children leaving home; family loss and ensuing grief, as well as medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction.

Since the early nineteen hundreds, healthcare professionals have sought to identify a link between menopause and depression. Originally, women were labelled as suffering from a “climacteric melancholia” or “nervous irritability” or “fully developed insanity” during this transition. Years on, research continues to pinpoint the correlation between depression and the menopause.

Today we know that women who experienced premenstrual syndrome in their teens and twenties have a higher risk of developing more severe mood swings during the perimenopause stage. We also know that ‘women with a history of depression are up to 5 times more likely to have a major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnosis during this time period[1]’. Depression can have a devastating impact on perimenopausal women. This adverse impact is also felt by their families and society as a whole[2].

Writing for Thrive Global on her experience with the menopause, Nik Davis expresses feeling ‘utter worthlessness and despair[3]’ during this stage of her life. In her article entitled, The Desperate Reality Of The Menopause, she explains that ‘a severe menopause, left untreated, can have catastrophic effects for the individual and their families.[4]’ Only after visiting a private consultant was Davis able to understand the reasons behind her horrific experience with the menopause. In her article she explains how medical professionals conducted in depth blood tests to reveal that she was insulin resistant (insulin is one of the bodies largest hormones, and plays a significant role it plays in the menopause and weight gain). Results also concluded that her testosterone and oestrogen levels were practically depleted and her folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, far too low.

At Behavioural Wealth we offer Functional health assessments which can determine women’s specific needs through the use of diagnostic tests performed during menopause. The tools we use to pinpoint both physical and psychological symptoms are being used successfully to treat menopausal women across the UK and Europe.

As previously discussed, perimenopausal depression can be identified by a very broad range of signs and symptoms, a percentage of which can be identified in a diagnosis of clinical depression experienced by men and younger women. However, there are other symptoms which are unusual. Perimenopausal depression symptoms also have a tendency to fluctuate regularly in severity, which lends great difficulty in diagnosis. The most common symptoms in perimenopausal depression include; paranoid thinking, decreased self-esteem, problems with memory and concentration, sleep disturbance, somatic symptoms, decreased libido, low energy, isolation, anxiety, hostility, irritability and weight gain.

We believe that it is vital to investigate the physical health of a woman presenting with these symptoms in order to rule out other causes such as thyroid disorders and autoimmune disorders. Our extensive functional health assessments include hormone and thyroid function profiling, vitamin and mineral investigation and insulin resistance testing. This establishes an essential physical baseline for women as they commence to experience the significant changes the menopause brings and possibly future hormone treatments. Having ruled out other causes of the symptoms, the treatment of perimenopausal depression needs to then take a holistic biopsychosocial approach.

Nik Davis explains that the difficulty about the menopause is that it is different for everyone. Her diagnosis and treatment will be unique to her. ‘A one size fits all solution – such as HRT is not enough on it’s own. Each woman needs a much more sophisticated analysis of her symptoms and blood results, to truly understand the story her body is trying to tell… The menopause is about so much more than hot flushes and weight gain. It’s not a matter of simply getting on with it. A severe menopause, left untreated, can have catastrophic effects for the individual and their families. I am not exaggerating, when I say that my menopause consultant, literally saved my life.[5]

Fortunately our unique holistic healthcare approach focuses on treating the individual as a whole, as opposed to the label given to a particular condition. We completely understand that not one size fits all. Just as each woman’s experience of menopause is different, so too will the results of her functional health assessment determining the correct treatments for her physical and mental health needs. We realise that it is imperative to see the whole picture in order to offer fully informed and comprehensive care.

Following our functional health assessment, we then offer a unique Restorative Programme which is  specifically tailored to each individual woman to enhance metabolic function, reinforce the immune system and regularise inflammatory response. Allow us to ease you through this difficult transitional period and avoid many of the unfortunate issues that Nik Davis and doubtless millions of other women are having to experience whilst they face the menopause.


The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) (2019)

[1] Clayton, Anita H, and Philip T Ninan. “Depression or menopause? Presentation and management of major depressive disorder in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 12,1 (2010): PCC.08r00747. doi:10.4088/PCC.08r00747blu

[2] ibid

[3] accessed 4/11/2019

[4] ibid

[5] ibid.