MILLIONS of British women are struggling with increased anxiety and sleepless nights as they go through the menopause during the Covid pandemic, research has shown.
Experts have now warned that growing anxiety in menopausal women is a “mental health catastrophe waiting to happen”.
An estimated 13million women are currently peri – or menopausal in the UKCredit: Getty – Contributor
New research states that seven in 10 women over the age of 40 believe coronavirus lockdowns have increased anxiety in those going through menopause.
An estimated 13million women are currently peri – or menopausal in the UK – equivalent to one third of the female population.
Nearly a third of women over 40 reported getting only an average of six hours of sleep a night and one in 10 over 55-year-olds are waking up at least five times a night.
The NHS recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours sleep a night.
The survey of 2,000 people revealed that 73 per cent of 45-54 year old women said the menopause had had an impact on their sleep pattern.
Menopausal women are caught having to juggle lack of sleep and other menopause symptoms with working from home, home-schooling, the stress of having children
One expert described the findings, from research commissioned by wellness brand CBII, as “a mental health catastrophe waiting to happen”.
Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, who blogs at 50Sense.net and is the co-founder of the Pausitivity #KnowYourMenopause campaign said: “The lack of sleep some women are reporting is a particularly worrying aspect.
“Nobody functions well without sleep – I was like an extra from The Walking Dead when I struggled to get sleep in the early years of my menopause.
“But now menopausal women are caught having to juggle lack of sleep and other menopause symptoms with working from home, home-schooling, the stress of having children at university and not being able to see elderly parents and relatives, as well as all the general concern around coronavirus.
“It’s a mental health catastrophe waiting to happen.”
Your GP can help if you are suffering from symptoms of the menopause
Symptoms include chronic insomnia, night sweats, anxiety, racing thoughts, restless and disruptive sleep, due to the decline of oestrogen and progesterone.
Even post-menopausal women, in the 65+ age group, are still suffering, with 71 per cent saying their sleep is adversely affected.
But despite celebrities like Loose Women’s Andrea McLean and Meg Mathews being vocal about their menopause experience – and how CBD has helped them with sleep issues – the research also revealed that it is still a taboo subject in the UK.
What is the menopause and what age does it usually start?
Menopause is a natural part of ageing, which usually happens when a woman is between the age of 45 and 55.
In the UK, the average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51.
It occurs when oestrogen levels in the body start to decline.
During this time periods become less frequent or they can suddenly stop, and after menopause occurs women will be unable to become pregnant naturally.
Around one in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40, and this is known as premature ovarian insufficiency or premature menopause.
What are the symptoms?
Menopausal symptoms can start months or years before your periods stop, and can last until four years or longer after your last period.
- Hot flushes
- Changing or irregular periods
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Anxiety and loss of confidence
- Low mood, irritability and depression
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness or discomfort during sex
- Reduced libido (sex drive)
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Weight gain
- Bladder control
Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the UK workforce, according to the Local Government Association, but 95 per cent of over-40s have never spoken about their symptoms with their employer.
And 86 per cent have not even raised the issue with their GP, according to the OnePoll.com research.
It also emerged that six in 10 women over 40 said they would try CBD after hearing women in the public eye revealing how it alleviates symptoms.
And more than 70 per cent of those under 40 admitted the thought of the menopause makes them feel stressed.
Mary Biles, author of The CBD Book: The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’ said: “CBD has become a go-to natural support for many women weathering the choppy waters of the perimenopause.
“We know that CBD can help ease anxiety, lessen joint pain, and improve quality of sleep, all of which are common symptoms associated with the cessation of women’s periods.
“While no research has been carried specifically on CBD and the menopause, the fact that CBD supports our endocannabinoid system, which itself regulates all our biological functions including our hormones, may explain why increasingly more women are turning to CBD as a way to feel less physically and emotionally out of control during this challenging time in their lives.”
Phoebe White, from CBII, said: “These are tough times for all of us. But for menopausal women, it appears sleep issues have a follow-on impact to their mental health as well as their general health.
“Using CBD products can provide a safe, natural remedy to help support a restful night’s sleep.”