Today (18 October 2020) is World Menopause Day. Going through the menopause can be one of the most difficult parts of life for many women.
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that typically happens to a woman when she is between 45 and 55 years of age, with the average age in the UK being 51.
It’s important to remember that whilst many symptoms are the same in every woman that goes through this transition, the experience and severity vary from woman to woman.
During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of oestrogen and progesterone, the two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures.
During this period, too, the body begins to change how it uses its energy, fat cells change and women may gain weight easier than they normally would.
As hormone levels drop, a succession of not only physical changes, but also emotional changes then follow.
There are several common symptoms that may help women understand if they are going through the menopause, including;
- Night sweats
- Hot flushes
- Vaginal dryness
- Joint pain
- Low mood
Although there is no ‘cure’ or medication to prevent this happening, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to make going through this transition as bearable as possible:
- Staying clear of foods that cause hot flushes – coffee, tea, alcohol and spicy foods
- Participating in regular exercise to relieve stress which can trigger the release of endorphins and aid in the balancing of hormones
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – medication that contains hormones that a woman’s body stops producing after menopause
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a type of talking therapy that can help with anxiety and low moods
It’s recommended that you talk to your GP if you are presenting with the symptoms listed and they’re causing you discomfort. Or if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you’re below 45 years of age.
Your GP can then usually confirm whether you are going through the menopause based on your symptoms, or through a blood test.
Phil Day, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmacy2U said:
“The menopause is a natural process, however for some women it can cause a lot of discomfort and disruption to their everyday life. A greater awareness of this, and of the many ways the symptoms can be identified and managed, can only be a good thing; and World Menopause Day aims to start that conversation.
“Lifestyle changes, and approaches such as HRT, can go a long way to restoring normality in many cases. HRT replaces the hormones oestrogen and progestogen, or just oestrogen for most women without a uterus, and it can be given in many different ways including tablets, patches, or vaginal creams or pessaries. Your pharmacist and GP are on hand to give advice.”