Saying ‘blame it on the menopause’ dismisses the significant impact the many symptoms can have on a woman’s midlife. Understanding the symptoms and how to moderate them can make for an easier transition and improve well-being and health later in life.
These can start at any age and are experienced by around 85% of women. This is predominantly due to the ending of estrogen production by the ovaries. Hot flushes can vary in frequency and severity and be noticeable at varying times during menopause. Try to wear natural fibre clothing and discover ways of cooling down, e.g. a fan, improved ventilation or a cool cloth.
Restlessness and night sweats are a common problem, keep your bedroom temperature fairly cool and leave a window open if possible. Try to avoid eating late in the evening and avoid consumption of alcohol or caffeine before bed.
Moving to put the kettle in the fridge? Forgetting why you went upstairs? This is all part of the menopause. It is important to keep your mind active, simple things like crosswords or puzzles will help by improving mental acuity. But avoid using a mobile phone, or other electronic devices, less than 30 minutes before bed as the light will reduce your night’s sleep.
Sadly, this is a common side effect of the menopause, especially around the midriff area. This is where a balanced diet of fruit, veg, fish and lean meat alongside a moderate amount of exercise will help control the amount of weight you gain.
This is due to falling levels of estrogen. Dullness, dryness, split ends and poor growth can also be experienced. Look for foods that contain the following: Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C with bioflavonoids and Vitamin E. Beta-carotene is also important for hair growth, plus magnesium, sulfur, silica and zinc. Brushing your hair is equally important as it helps to evenly distribute the natural oils created by your scalp. Brushing these nutrient-rich oils through will nourish the roots and keeps the scalp moisturised, promoting healthy hair growth. When we brush our hair the bristles also gently massage the scalp, which in turn increases blood flow. More blood to the scalp means more nutrients and oxygen to stimulate hair follicles, making them healthier and improving their ability to grow healthy hair.
This can be low, due to your awareness of the changes that occur in your body during menopause. Try to keep positive in mind and body. Remember that the menopause is not the beginning of the end, it is the beginning of the rest of your life and that can be many decades.
General fatigue during the menopause can be profound. This is due to bodily changes and reduced hormone levels. Keeping hydrated, consuming a healthy diet and enjoying regular and varied exercise will help greatly; Housework and gardening can also be counted as part of your exercise regime.
Feelings of tension, depression, anxiety, irritability and unaccountable mood swings can occur at any stage of life, but sadly this happens more frequently during the menopause. This is often due to changing hormone levels in perimenopause and falling levels of estrogen in mid menopause. A healthy varied diet and calming forms of exercise, such as yoga and meditation, will improve your feeling of well-being. During this time, do not forget to share your feelings with those who are close to you, as it helps them understand why you feel the way you do.
Leading up to the menopause, it is common to notice changes in the flow or frequency of your periods. You might find that they are much lighter or much heavier or both; Notably heavy periods may happen every now and then, it is all part of the process. Also, you could experience fewer periods than you are used to, they can sometimes diminish over time or stop completely to return later. It is the time when your menstrual cycle becomes unpredictable.
Many women find that they experience a drop in libido (sex drive) during menopause, some may simply take longer to become sexually aroused. This is often due to disturbed sleep, loss of body confidence and feeling generally anxious and emotional. The most important thing to do is to communicate how your menopause is affecting you, with your partner. Simple physical contact, such as holding hands and sharing experiences are important. Try to relax and keep in good health, massage and relaxing exercise can be helpful.
As your estrogen level falls, changes in your vaginal wall occur, the vagina becomes shorter and its natural lubrication becomes watery. Due to this you may experience dryness, soreness and irritation. This is often the cause of discomfort experienced during intercourse. There are a range of products available to help keep the vagina suitably lubricated. Also, regular pelvic floor exercises will help keep everything in functional order.
During menopause, as estrogen levels change, urogenital atrophy, which is a reduced condition of the urinary tract and vagina, may become an issue. Symptoms of this can be an inability to control urination, the need to urinate more frequently and also urine infections, such as cystitis. Any infections should be treated as soon as possible and regular pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the whole genital area.
Changes in hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can trigger headaches or even migraines. Regulate blood sugar levels and try not to skip meals. Avoid caffeine, cheese and chocolate (migraine inducing foods) and take time to rest and relax.
Soreness and tenderness of the breast are due to fluctuating hormone levels in the body. You can also feel tightness, aches and swelling. It may help to reduce your intake of caffeine and salt. Also changing to a comfortably fitting bra, whilst feeling any discomfort, will help.
Feeling aches and pain during menopause is quite common, especially in the lower back, knees, feet, ankles, wrists and shoulders. The discomfort can be due to tension or posture but this is often exacerbated by fluctuation in hormone levels. Help can be achieved by de-stressing your body via relaxation techniques and gentle stretching exercises. Unsuitable footwear can often be the cause of the joint discomfort.
In addition, some people experience a burning sensation in the mouth, digestive problems, itchy skin, dizzy spells, tinnitus, brittle nails, body odour changes and heart palpitations.
If you have any questions regarding FX menopause, please do not hesitate to contact us via our Contact us page. Alternatively call our U.K. support lines on 01270 747 963 or 07446 721 145; our main office hours are from 8:00 - 16.30 hrs Monday to Friday, but you will often find your call is answered in the evenings and weekends until 22.00 hrs. Out of hours, do leave a message with your name and telephone number, including dialling code and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.