Motivation and emotion/Book/2019/Menopause and emotion

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Menopause and Emotion:
How can theories of emotion be applied to help understand and better manage unpleasant emotions during menopause?
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Overview[edit | edit source]

  1. What is menopause ?
  2. What are some common emotions experienced during menopause and why do they occur?
  3. How can theories of emotion help to understand the effects of menopause?
  4. What are some helpful ways for women to cope with unhelpful emotions during menopause

Menopause[edit | edit source]

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms definition of Menopause:

"The time of life when a woman’s ovaries stop producing hormones and menstrual periods stop. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row" (National Cancer Institute, 2019).

Symptoms:[edit | edit source]

Physical:[edit | edit source]

Vasomotor: hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness

Somatic: tiredness, muscle and joint pain, parts of body feel numb/tingling, headaches, feeling dizzy or faint, breathing difficulties, backaches, loss of feeling in hands/feet

Psychological:[edit | edit source]

Anxiety: feeling tense, attack of panic, palpitations, sleep disturbed, excitable, difficulty falling asleep, poor memory, difficulty in concentration

Depression: feeling unhappy, loss of interest in things, irritability, crying spells

(Greene, 1990)

Study on women's attitude towards menopause:

170 women interviewed. Aged approx. between 50 – 65 years. Almost 80% women had prior knowledge of menopause while, only 46% were aware about its effect on health. Following menopause 74% were bothered by its symptoms and only 36% were happy. Only 29% had consulted a physician for relief of their symptoms (Shazia, 2013).

- examining women’s attitudes on menopause; a large percentage of women reported having a negative attitude towards their symptoms, with a small percentage reporting to be happy during menopause. It assumes that the low reports on women’s understanding of menopause and it’s effect on their health, correlates with the even smaller percentage of women seeking clinical relief ← stresses the importance of menopausal health on emotional health.

The experience of emotions during menopause[edit | edit source]

Emotional experiences from women during menopause

- anxiety and depression symptoms more common emotional changes during menopause (Greene, 1990)

- Various psychological symptoms were reported in the interviews can be summarized as irritability, aggression, fatigue, feelings of helplessness, and uselessness. (Samouei & Valiani, 2017)

- women with more negative attitudes towards menopause report more symptoms during transition (Ayers, Forshaw & Hunter, 2010)

Why do these emotions occur during menopause?

Theories of emotion applied to research in menopause[edit | edit source]

Biological[edit | edit source]

Cannon-Bard Theory[edit | edit source]


Hormones effect on emotion during menopause[edit | edit source]

- fluctuating hormone levels; increased estrogen expected during menopause; disregulated estrogen can impact cognitive functions. results suggest that an interaction between metabolic and hormonal factors may influence emotion regulation, leading to increased risk for depression during menopause. (Berent-Spillson et al., 2017)

Emotional changes in menopause due to estrogen and serotonin; experiment[edit | edit source]

- estrogen may produce its effects on cognition and mood through modulation of serotonergic function.

we used the tryptophan depletion (TD) paradigm to lower central serotonin levels and pharmacologically manipulated estrogen levels in healthy menopausal women. We examined the individual and combined effects of estradiol and serotonin on working memory, emotion processing and task-related brain activation.

During emotion identification, TD heightened activation in the orbital frontal cortex and bilateral amygdala, and this effect was decreased by estradiol treatment. These results provide preliminary evidence that serotonergic effects directly mediate the impact of estrogen on brain activation during working memory and affective processing. (Epperson, Amin, Ruparel, Gur & Loughead, 2012)

- serotonin directly impacts estrogen levels; when identifying emotions, lowering serotonin (TD) activated the orbital frontal cortex and bilateral amygdala, which was then reduced by estrogen treatment.

Cognitive[edit | edit source]

Theory of constructed emotion[edit | edit source]

- The brain continually constructs concepts and creates categories to identify what the sensory inputs are, infers a causal explanation for what caused them, and drives action plans for what to do about them. When the internal model creates an emotion concept, the eventual categorization results in an instance of emotion (Barrett, 2016)

- Women who have negative views of menopause tend to experience more symptoms, typically negative, than those who have a neutral or positive view which may increase throughout the duration of menopause (Avis & McKinlay, 1991).

Alleviating the negative effects of menopause[edit | edit source]

- women who had more positive views of the effects of menopause on health and attractiveness reported fewer symptoms of menopause (Strauss, 2011)

- women adjustment to menopause can be closely related to their unique experience of the changes to their bodies and body images as well as reactions to common menopausal symptoms (Strauss, 2011)

- education to better inform younger, perimenopausal women about the emerging stage of menopause to alleviate fears often seen in younger women in regard to menopause. (Strauss, 2011)

- optimism and SOC affect menopausal health directly, as evidenced by fewer symptoms reported by women scoring highly on these dispositions (Caltabiano & Holzheimer, 1999)

- dispositional factors are important to the experience of the menopause and how women adapt to their midlife transition. (Caltabiano & Holzheimer, 1999)

Figures[edit | edit source]

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Tables[edit | edit source]

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Quiz questions[edit | edit source]

Important points about using quizzes:

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Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

1 Approximately how many neurons are in the human brain?

1,000,000 (1 million)
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1 to 4
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3rd main heading[edit | edit source]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. For more information, see Lorem ipsum (Wikipedia).

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Important points about this section:

  1. This is arguably the most important section.
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See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Avis, N. E., & McKinlay, S. M. (1991). A longitudinal analysis of women's attitudes to menopause: Results from the Massachusetts Women's Health Study. Maturitas,13, 65-79.

Ayers, B., Forshaw, M., & Hunter, M. (2010). The impact of attitudes towards the menopause on women's symptom experience: A systematic review. Maturitas, 65, 28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.10.016

Barrett, L. (2016). The theory of constructed emotion: an active inference account of interoception and categorization. Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience, 12, 1-23. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsw154

Berent-Spillson, A., Marsh, C., Persad, C., Randolph, J., Zubieta, J., & Smith, Y. (2017). Metabolic and hormone influences on emotion processing during menopause. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 76, 218-225. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.08.026

Caltabiano, M., & Holzheimer, M. (1999). Dispositional factors, coping and adaptation during menopause. Climacteric, 2, 21-28. doi: 10.3109/13697139909025559

Epperson, C., Amin, Z., Ruparel, K., Gur, R., & Loughead, J. (2012). Interactive effects of estrogen and serotonin on brain activation during working memory and affective processing in menopausal women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(3), 372-382. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.07.007

Greene, J. (1990). Psychological Influences and Life Events at the Time of the Menopause. In R. Formanek, The Meanings of Menopause: Historical, Medical, and Cultural Perspectives (1st ed., p. 80). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press., Inc.

National Cancer Institute. (2019). menopause. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Retrieved from

Samouei, R., & Valiani, M. (2017). Psychological experiences of women regarding menopause. International Journal Of Educational And Psychological Researches, 3, 1-5. doi: 10.4103/2395-2296.179065

Shazia, K. (2013). Knowledge, Attitude and Experience of Menopause. Pakistan Journal Of Medical Research, 52, 42-44.

Strauss, J. (2011). Contextual Influences on Women's Health Concerns and Attitudes toward Menopause. Health & Social Work, 36, 121.

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