Menopause – Symptoms and Remedies

The Menopause

 Menopause – Symptoms and Remedies

Menopause occurs when your periods stop. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, although sometimes it happens to younger women. You can also have menopause if you have had your ovaries or uterus removed or if you are receiving treatment for cancer in the form of chemotherapy.

Before menopause, you may experience symptoms of the perimenopause which happens whilst you are still having periods. Symptoms include irregular periods and hot flushes.

The menopause can have a detrimental impact on your life, but there are treatments you can use to relieve the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of the menopause?

The first symptom you might notice is that your periods become irregular. You may begin to miss periods, or they start later or earlier than they used to. This symptom is a sign of perimenopause. Once you go into menopause your periods will stop altogether.

Other symptoms include hot flushes which give you feelings of heat or cold around your chest, face, and neck. You might also suffer from heart palpitations and headaches or migraines.

Menopause can also bring changes to your skin. You might find you have dry, itchy skin or that you have vaginal dryness which means sex is uncomfortable or painful and this may affect your sex drive.

The menopause may well affect your wellbeing. You might experience low mood, anxiety and have trouble concentrating.

Can lifestyle changes help?

Yes. Eating properly and developing a good sleep routine will help. Up your intake of calcium and try to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise is also a good idea. Walking, dancing, swimming, and cycling are all beneficial. Taking part in a pilates or a yoga class will help to keep your body supple and strong. Get out of the house for a walk if you can each day because this will increase your intake of Vitamin D which keeps bones healthy.

Learn about deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to reduce any stress or anxiety that you feel. Have a look at the Mindful website where they have a useful guide on how to meditate.

How do I deal with the hot flushes?

Wear light clothing and layer what you’re wearing so if you feel warm you can take something off. Use a fan at home or carry a small handheld fan in your bag in case you’re in the office or travelling and you get a hot flush. Make sure your bedroom is cool at night.

What about vaginal dryness?

Creams, gels and/or pessaries will help with vaginal dryness. Ask at the pharmacy and we’ll talk to you in private if you want to find out about the best product to use. Moisturising products will help to alleviate dryness and discomfort. Your doctor can also prescribe vaginal oestrogen which is a hormone replacement treatment only for vaginal dryness and it doesn’t have the same risks as other types of HRT.

Should I talk to my doctor about HRT?

Hormone Replacement Therapy can help with many of the symptoms of menopause because it replaces the depleting hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and your symptoms will subside. Not everyone can take HRT, for example, if you have liver disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Talk to your doctor who will go through the benefits and risks of taking HRT

 What other remedies are there?

Therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help with anxiety, and it can also teach you ways to manage the negative impact of hot flushes. Before you can access CBT on the NHS you need to be registered with a doctor, but you can find a service near you by looking online at the NHS.UK page. Otherwise you can pay and visit a private therapist.

If you want to discuss treatments for menopause here at the pharmacy, remember you can ask to talk to a member of staff in private and we will be happy to provide you with the help and advice you may need.

To read more about menopause browse the Menopause Charity website.

 

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