Menopause usually kicks in when we are over 50, but sometimes women may experience it as early as in their 20's or 30's. It can affect us all in different ways. I want to give you some helpful information but also try to make it quite lighthearted. There's little point in feeling grotty, reading this and feeling more depressed!
So, let's lighten up. How will menopause affect us?
As our egg production slows down and our oestrogen levels change we will notice that we are getting more grey hair, need to wear glasses more, have lost the "glow" that our skin and hair used to have, and may have longer and more painful periods.
We may also be getting a bit forgetful. At work the over50's ladies have set up a "forgetful corner". When we struggle to remember something we pop into the corner, have a bit of a laugh and often what we have forgotten floods back to us. We've relaxed and shared our anxieties and moved it on. It was really reassuring the other week when one of our young (20+) colleagues popped into the corner because he had forgotten something - is it something they're putting in the water??
We will probably also be experiencing "hot flushes". These mean that you are the only one who can stand outside on a winters day with just a T shirt on while all around you are dressed like an Eskimo. Of course these often come over us in waves. So one minute you are asking for the heating to be turned down then after a while you are complaining that it is just too cold. You will know you are having an effect on others
depending on how many times you are asked to "Make your mind up!" You will think you had been quite reasonable; one minute it (or you) were boiling, and the next you were freezing. Of course the irony is that the room temperature hadn't changed, it was your body thermometer going out of sinc. Oops!
Night sweats will also make you unpopular in bed as in the depth of winter you may need to throw back the bedclothes and demand to know "Why is it so hot in here?" You'll find yourself covered in a moist, dewy sweat whilst the person next to you is starting to feel their teeth chatter!
Another change that will also take place will be in your perception of the world. This may be put down by other as you having "trouble with your hormones". What happens during menopause is that often you will see the world totally differently to others. You may lose your temper and become quite angry with someone who would not have normally fazed you. At the time your behaviour will seem quite rational to you and you will probably wonder what all the fuss was about. However, if you were to be shown a video of your reaction you would not recognize yourself and may even be forced to cringe! You will vow to never behave like that again, until ofcourse the next time it kicks in!
You may also find when you are in the midst of a hormone surge that some situations could easily be rectified by violence. As you become more heated and your opinion isn't respected, you may be very tempted to lash out and place a sharp smack on what
you consider to be a patronising cheek! Again rational thought and behaviour has left for day and you are at the mercy of the hormone surge. Take some deep breats and bring a calm image into your mind.
Enough of the symptoms what can we do?
Obviously you will have visited your doctor and hopefully received some good advice. If that is to take HRT then that is your choice. If you want some alternative and more natural solutions then I've listed a few below.
These have been used for centuries and in many european countries are regulated like other medicines. It is vital to take the purest source you can find, from an ethical and knowledgeable supplier, as cheaper products may be bulked out by substances such as talcum powder. As they are active products also be aware that they may have side effects and may also react against other medications you may be taking. If
new symptoms occur see your doctor immediately.
St John's Wort
This is used for depression, and clinical trials have shown it seems to have few side effects. It also doesn't effect your libido, which can only be good news.
This herb is popular and helps to manage the signs of premenstual syndrome(PMS) which also occur during menopause. These symptome include irritability, depression, tearfulness, breast tenderness, bloating, headaches and mood swings.
Makes you wonder how we survive at times, doesn't it??
This is a good supplement for your anxieties. It is known to help with depression and memory loss and clinical trials have seen it improve alertness.
This herb is from the buttercup family and is used to help with hot flushes, sweats and also lack of concentration, depression and irritability.
It is also crucial during menopause to eat well, exercise moderately every day, even if it only means using the stairs instead of the lift, and taking suppliments for bone density. Vitamin D and calcium are excellent for this.