“For lots of women ‘the change’ can be tough physically and emotionally – hot flushes, painful sex, night sweats and fluctuating moods are all common symptoms that can make us feel like our life is put on hold. My A to Z of advice and tips will help you take the ‘pause’ out of menopause and get back to enjoying your life to the fullest.”
Anxiety: Having too much on our plate can leave us feeling drained and anxious so it’s important to create a balance. Give yourself time to relax and think about the things in your daily routine that are important to you and consider the things your grateful for.
Bone health: Women can lose around 20% of their bone density after the menopause. This puts post-menopausal women at high risk of osteoporosis (weak bones) and fractures. Calcium and vitamin D will help maintain healthy bones and good sources include dried fruit, fish with the bones in and dairy products.
Changes in menstrual cycle: The first stage of menopause is known as peri-menopause and this occurs when periods become irregular. It can be common to experience symptoms of the menopause during this time and if the symptoms are interfering with the quality of your life then you should talk to your doctor.
Digestion: Looking after your digestive health is key during menopause when hormonal changes can cause bloating and excess gas. Chewing your food fully to support better digestion and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine found in coffee and tea will help to promote healthy digestive function.
Exercises such as aqua aerobics or swimming are great for boosting our physical health as well as our mental health, with research showing that women who exercise regularly tend to live longer and have better moods than those who don’t.
Fatigue: One of the main causes of fatigue during menopause is changing hormone levels that regulate energy levels in the body. Getting a good night’s sleep is therefore key. Practising relaxation techniques before bed such as gentle breathing exercises can aid a restful night.
Get outside: A recent study from the University of Essex found that those who went for a 15-20 walk in nature at lunchtime could also relax more easily at night, which improved the quality of their sleep.
Hot flushes: Whilst triggers can vary from woman to woman, avoiding spicy food, alcohol, smoking and stress can help.
Itching: Keeping your skin moisturised is one of the most effective ways of relieving this common problem during menopause. When taking a bath or shower, use warm water instead of steaming hot as this can strip your skin of essential oils.
Joint and muscular pain: Gentle stretches to boost flexibility can help ease painful joints, as well as ensuring you get plenty of calcium and magnesium in your diet. Alternative treatments such as massage or acupuncture help many women with their joint pain symptoms too.
Keep laughing: Research shows that interacting with others boosts feelings of wellness and lowers our risk of depression, so make time for catching up with old friends and engineering a few belly laughs.
Loss of libido: Changing hormone levels can often reduce libido. If you lose intimacy with your partner, your sexual desire will naturally reduce. It is important that you can communicate well with your partner to increase your emotional bond.
Mood changes are one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of the menopause, and a good diet plays an important role. Make sure you’re getting a good balance of protein, fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates such as beans, brown rice, nuts and seeds to keep your body balanced.
Night sweats can cause sporadic sleep so it’s important to adapt your sleep routine.
Practising relaxation techniques before bed such as meditation and gentle breathing exercises can help your body feel ready for sleep.
Oestrogen levels reduce in a woman’s body when going through the menopause. The latest guidance states that for most women under the age of 60, the benefits of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) outweigh the risks – helping you tackle hot flushes and mood changes completely.
Painful sex as a result of vaginal dryness can be one of the most distressing symptoms of menopause. Treatments such as oestrogen creams can help, and now more long-term solutions are available; safe and pain-free CO2 laser treatments specifically for treating intimate issues linked to menopause. For more information, visit www.TakeOutThePause.co.uk
Quench your thirst: Sipping cold water throughout the day and keeping a cooling gel or spray on hand can provide quick relief from hot flushes.
Relax: Take 10 minutes to reflect on the things you find stressful in life, and think about ways to limit them or get rid of them altogether!
Sugar: Snacking on good fats such as nuts and seeds will help to ensure a steady sugar level as well giving our body a nutritious boost.
Thinning hair: Using a gentle shampoo and avoiding brushing hair whilst it’s wet as that’s when hair is the most delicate.
Urinary tract infections are more common in menopause as the lining of the urethra (the tube that drains your bladder) becomes more sensitive. Drinking plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria from your urinary tract will help, as well as drinking cranberry or lemon juices as these have mild antibiotic properties and may help to ease infection.
Vaginal changes during menopause are common and should not be ignored. If you’ve noticed the appearance change, or pain or itching it could be signs of vaginal dryness. MonaLisa Touch, a painless and effective hormone-free treatment can help, eliminating troublesome itching, irritation, and pain.
Weight gain: Hormonal and physical changes during the menopause make many women more likely to gain weight. According to the British Heart Foundation, our portion sizes have increased by more than 50% in the last 20 years, so try using your hand to measure your portion sizes: A portion the size of the palm of your hand should be your protein, two fist-size portions for your vegetables/salad, one fist or less is your carbohydrates (potato, rice, pasta etc.).
X: Kisses! Many women are less intimate with their partners during the menopause. It is important to find time for each other and share how you are feeling.
Yoga is a beneficial exercise for both mind and body. It’s also great for our core strength and improving our pelvic floor muscles, which can weaken as we age.
Zinc: There is much more to a healthy immune system than just Vitamin C. Zinc, along with iron, copper and vitamins C, E and B-complex can all help to maintain a healthy immune system. Good sources of zinc include shellfish, liver, oxtail and corned beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, nuts, wholegrains and cheese.