Women's Wellbeing

Whilst women and men are both affected by mental health problems, there are some issues which are specific to women. Each stage in a woman’s life can pose specific challenges to her mental health including hormonal changes, the reproductive cycle, pregnancy and fertility. Our dedicated Women’s Wellbeing Service aims to assist women to cope with the psychological challenges they face in the different stages of their life.

Within The Insight Network, we have a team of clinicians who are dedicated to providing a mental health service for female specific issues including a female consultant psychiatrist, psychologists and psychotherapists.

Conditions we treat within our Women’s Wellbeing service

1. Pre-menstrual syndromes

Many women experience premenstrual mood symptoms which can have a negative impact on their lives. At least 67% of women with regular menstrual cycles report unpleasant physical or psychological symptoms premenstrually. For the majority of women these symptoms are mild and tolerable, but for others they may be more severe and cause disruption to their lives. Symptoms of PMS include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressiveness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in libido
  • Poor coordination

2. Infertility

Facing problems when planning a pregnancy and starting a family can be a challenging and stressful time in the life of a woman, both as an individual and as part of a couple. Sometimes help may be needed to cope with associated stresses and anxiety. In the UK at least a quarter of couples experience a period of infertility (inability to conceive) lasting over one year. Some of these couples continue to be unable to conceive, leading to at least 1 in 6 couples seeing an infertility specialist at a hospital.

  • Psychological consequences of infertility include:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem
  • Distress associated with undergoing infertility treatment
  • Relationship issues

3. Pregnancy

Fluctuations in levels of hormones during pregnancy can sometimes cause changes that result in conditions called pre and post natal depression. One in 10 mothers may have mild to severe symptoms of post natal depression during 4 to 6 months after delivery. A consultation and treatment plan at The Insight Network may include advice on the use of medication whilst trying to conceive, during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. It is also important that there is effective planning to ensure a healthy pregnancy for women with pre-existing mental health problems or who are taking medication for anxiety, depression or stress.

  • Symptoms of Pre/Post natal depression:
  • Feeling very low, or despondent and that there is no hope
  • Feeling tired and very lethargic
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Feeling guilty about not coping, or about not loving the baby enough
  • Wanting to cry
  • Losing your appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Being hostile or indifferent to your husband/partner or your baby
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Having panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Physical symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches and blurred vision
  • Obsessive fears about the baby’s health or wellbeing, or about yourself and other members of the family
  • Thoughts about death

4. Menopause

When women enter the menopause they may experience changes to their emotional and psychological health and this can sometimes have an impact on their lives and the lives of friends and family around them. About 80% of women in the UK will experience menopausal symptoms in their lifetime, and 45% of them find the symptoms distressing.

Symptoms of Menopause

  • The menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms:
  • The first symptom is usually a change in the pattern of your monthly periods
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Loss of libido (sexual desire)
  • Vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex
  • Palpitations (changes in heart rate)
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes, such as depression, anxiety or tiredness
  • Sleeping problems, such as insomnia
  • Urinary tract infections

5. Additional women’s services

Some women also may benefit from psychological and psychiatric support in dealing with:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Cancer
  • Body Image
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Eating disorders
  • Medically unexplained symptoms

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