Menopause: What’s normal and what can you do?
Menopause So, you think you are menopausal? Not sure, but looking that way? What is normal and what can you do to stay well and ensure good health at menopause and beyond?
What happens at menopause?
Menopause, when periods finally stop, usually occurs between 48-54 years. You may get physical symptoms like tiredness, hot flushes or waking at night in a sweat. Some may notice psychological symptoms such as mood swings, irritability or poor concentration. You may just notice a change in your periods and feel generally untroubled, wondering what all the fuss is about. This is all normal.
Do I need a blood test?
Most women do not need a blood test, unless you are under 40 years. Diagnosis is made based on how you are feeling, along with signs such as missed periods and symptoms.
What are my choices?
If you are facing menopause at the natural time, it is your choice how to cope with it. Your choice to make healthy lifestyle changes that will improve health, your choice how to manage symptoms naturally and your choice whether to use HRT.
Keep healthy - take regular exercise, make healthy food choices, do not smoke, limit alcohol and maintain a healthy weight.
Coping with bothersome symptoms
1. Watch for ‘triggers’ that might worsen symptoms, these include:
- Spicy foods
- Sudden changes in temperature
- Feeling stressed or pressured for time
2. Supplements - Some aim to supplement dietary deficiency, eg calcium, vitamin D. Others may help mild flushes and sweats and include isoflavones, e.g. Red Clover and Black Cohosh. If you choose supplements, remember to buy from a reputable source, as quality and content of supplements will vary.
3. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - If your symptoms are bothersome and affect your daily life, you may want to consider HRT. HRT is the most effective treatment for symptoms and is suitable for many women. Doses and types should be individualised to your needs.
Where to get help
For medical help, your GP will usually be the first point of contact . Do your homework beforehand, look at recommended websites and prepare the questions you have to get the best from the consultation.
Kathy can be contacted through the charity Women’s Health Concern https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice