10 Common Menopause Symptoms & Tips to Help
Not sure if your symptoms are menopausal or not? Here’s the list of what most women experience at this time of life.
You may get some, all or if you’re really lucky none of these, but it’s worth knowing what many women experience at Menopause, so you can be prepared.
1. Hot flushes
Keep a diary to track what sets them off: is it caffeine, alcohol, a hot room or stress because all are common causes.
When a flush starts, take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out of your mouth as staying calm is your first line of defence. If using bioidentical cream progesterone put a dab on your inner wrist as that can help too.
2. Night sweats
At night flushes can go on for 3 minutes or more, leaving you drenched in sweat and unable to sleep. But there are ways to keep your cool.
Keep clothing light and in a natural fabric, wrap a bag of frozen peas in a plastic bag and put under your pillow so you can flip the pillow during the night and put your face on the cool side. Choose layers of light blankets over one thick quilt and use a bedside fan to keep air moving.
3. Sleep issues
Unfortunately, hot flushes and night sweats have a very big impact on sleep and this can be very stressful, which in turn will affect your hormones.
Yoga, tai chi, and meditation research has shown can help you get better sleep and any exercise can make a difference — just stop 3 hours before bedtime.
Skip a nightcap, since alcohol will wake you up later. Sipping warm milk may help as it has a substance in it that can help you relax and herbs can be helpful too and been used for many years to help promote sleep.
Still not sleeping then if it continues over some time then talk to your doctor about short-term sleep aids.
4. Hormone changes and sex
Hormone changes leave the vagina thinner and dryer, which can make sex painful. Initially it may be sufficient to try water-based vaginal lubricants or vaginal moisturisers.
You may need to help yourself more by using a hormone cream with bioidentical oestrogen, either in combination with progesterone, or on its own. That will certainly help and your doctor could prescribe vaginal gel, rings, or tablets.
The more sex you’re able to have, the better for blood flow, so making sure you are comfortable and pain free is certainly important.
5. Lower libido
There are so many factors that can be involved in a reduced sex drive: your own physical well-being, vaginal dryness, stress and anxiety, relationship issues will all play a part.
Hormone changes are a main cause so address that but don’t underestimate the effect menopausal symptoms such as poor sleep, bladder trouble, hot flushes and night sweats as well as mood changes can all have.
6. Mood swings
You might have thought, once you’re out of the PMS stage of life, this would be over but for many women, it feels exactly the same. The symptoms will be very recognisable with crying one minute and happy the next, and general bad tempered responses to seemingly small or unimportant things.
Unfortunately if you had bad PMS when younger then the hormonal changes that happen during this time may cause even bigger mood swings.
Yoga and tai chi and relaxation techniques can help here, too as can staying connected to friends and family.
Conventional treatment includes a low-dose birth control pill or antidepressants but a combination of bioidentical progesterone and oestrogen has been found effective in helping balance these mood changes.
Migraines can get worse at or around the time of menopause, or show up for the first time and there are a variety of ways to try and get them under control.
Keep a diary to see what seems to trigger them, particularly if they show up along with hot flushes, so you can take steps to lessen them.
Eating small meals through the day can help if hunger is a headache trigger and a change in your sleep schedule may also be a trigger, so try to keep to the same schedule every night.
If they persist speak to your doctor to see whether treatment can prevent migraines or make them less frequent or severe.
8. Hair changes
Hair can thin or shed faster around the time of menopause, but the same time, it may show up where you don’t want it — on your chin and cheeks.
If you have low progesterone levels that can contribute to thinning hair so supplementing can help, but it is not an overnight treatment as hair growth can take up to 3 months.
Help yourself by choosing hair products that are kind to your hair – particularly if you colour it then avoid those with harsh chemicals – and avoid direct sun on it as it is drying.
9. Acne & spots
You expect to have acne in your teens but not in your 50s, but sadly it is common around menopause, too.
Make sure your moisturiser, sunscreen, cleanser, and other face products are gentle. Look for the words “oil free,” or “won’t clog pores,” in other words anything that won’t block the pores is what you are looking for.
10. Brain fog
Use it or lose it is very true not just for physical health but your brain too. If you are starting to los focus and concentration then challenge your brain in new ways.
Learn something new, like a hobby or language and definitely work on lowering your stress level. Women with more hot flushes — which can be linked to stress — say they have more memory troubles.
As well as keeping an eye on your hormones, your diet is crucial for not only feeling good but looking good. If you’d like some new ideas this article can help.