Often when symptoms of perimenopause are discussed, the physical symptoms seem to take priority. They are things you can see and feel in your body, like hot flushes, night sweats, muscle and joint pain, irregular or absent periods, vaginal dryness and low libido. 

What is often not spoken about or acknowledged are the emotional and psychological effects of menopause and the perimenopause. It is extremely rare in my clinical experience as a GP for over 10 years to come across a woman going through the menopausal transition saying it’s all smooth sailing and they’re coping as well as they ever did. 

More often than not, women experience an array of emotional and psychological symptoms that can seriously impact on their well being and their relationships. Common symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • low mood
  • irritability and anger
  • insomnia 
  • difficulty making decisions
  • loss of confidence
  • mood swings


Many of the women I have treated over the years describe a feeling of emotional hijacking and feeling out of control. They often say they just don’t feel themselves. There might be situations in which they had previously felt confident and decisive and they find themselves doubting themselves and their abilities. 

Many of these symptoms can be contributed to by fluctuating hormone levels. But from what I have observed, it can be far more complex and nuanced. The menopausal transition is different for every woman. It can bring up a lot of stuff; grief about your fertile years coming to an end, trouble accepting ageing, difficulty accepting the way your body changes and wrestling with trying to halt the ageing process, a lack of libido and vaginal dryness affecting your intimacy and so on.

The message that women often receive from the media is that you need to remain young, look youthful, look a certain way to “be attractive” and that as you age you become increasingly invisible. This is a real tragedy and such a disservice to ourselves as women. It is also frankly terrifying! 

It’s such an important time to celebrate your female-ness and give yourself credit. For most women, you’ve been menstruating since you were in your early teens (or sometimes even earlier), you’ve battled the period pain, the PMS, maybe you’ve experienced a pregnancy, perhaps you’ve got lived experience of the pain of a miscarriage? We women have to deal with a LOT and it is time to change the dialogue about menopause. We owe it to ourselves to offer self compassion. 

I’m here to listen and help.