10 Symptoms Of Menopause and How To Help Them
Are you wondering what to expect at menopause? Well maybe some, but hopefully not all, of these!
There are many different symptoms of menopause, and happily most women get only one or two of them, but it helps to know what can occur and what to do about it.
1. Hot flushes
Keep a diary to track what sets off your hot flushes as prevention is the better strategy to stop them before they start.
There can be a few common triggers such as caffeine, alcohol, a hot environment and stress. When a flush starts, take slow, deep breaths, in your nose and out of your mouth to calm you and look at your other symptoms to see if you have a hormone imbalance.
2. Night sweats
At night, hot 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.
Minimise the heat by having only cotton lightweight nightwear, try a fan in the room to keep the air moving and put a bag of frozen peas under your pillow. Turn it through the night and put your face on the cool side.
Choose layers of light blankets over one thick quilt and if your partner is cold you have jus the sheet and thin blanket and put a single duvet on their side.
3. Poor sleep
This is one of the most commonly complained about as between night sweats and more frequent visits to the loo you can end up with very patchy periods of sleep and that really affects your health.
Yoga, tai chi, and meditation can help you sleep, research shows so choose the one most suitable for you. Actually any exercise can make a difference, just stop 3 hours before bedtime to give your body time to recover.
A nightcap is best avoided if you usually have some alcohol as that will definitely wake you up later. Some find that warm milk helps as it has a substance in it that can help you relax and so does magnesium, especially if you take it an hour before bed.
4. Signs of dryness
Hormone changes mean lower levels of oestrogen, the hormone associated with skin dryness and it can leave the vagina thinner and dryer.
A good moisturiser will help with the skin dryness, but for the vagina you could try a combination hormone cream with progesterone and oestrogen to help make lubrication better and sex less painful.
If you feel very sore vaginally, or. have unusual bleeding please see your doctor as you may need more help – particularly if you have vaginal atrophy.
5. Low libido
Again this is very common with a combination of increased emotional anxiety and stress at menopause and the physical discomfort of hot flushes, increased weight and less lubrication.
However sexual activity increases blood flow to the vagina, and that is helpful so investigate whether your low libido is linked to low progesterone levels, as that is the hormone behind sex drive in women.
Helpful article: 10-ways-to-boost-libido
6. Mood swings
You may have though you had got rid of this when you were younger, as It’s like PMS, only more so. You can experience sudden bouts of crying, more extreme feelings of happiness and often just feeling bad-tempered and out of sorts.
Unfortunately if you had bad PMS, the hormonal changes that happen during this time may cause even bigger mood swings.
Yoga and tai chi can help here, and check your hormone levels too as again low progesterone can be associated with this and is used by many younger women for PMS symptoms.
Supplements such as vitamin C, the B complex vitamins and others can also be helpful so check for ‘Mood’ supplements.
7. Headaches and migraines
Migraines can get worse at or around the time of menopause, or show up for the first time. Keep a diary to see what seems to trigger them and if they show up along with hot flshes. That way you can take steps to lessen them.
Eating small meals through the day can help if hunger is a headache trigger. Lack of sleep is another one, so nap if your nights are low on good sleep.
Some migraines are associated with oestrogen, but again others are helped by it so get expert advice.
8. Hair loss
Hair can thin or shed faster around the time of menopause, you know when you brush your hair and more seems to be coming out each time.
Be kind to your hair, don’t use tight bands or grips that restrict blood flow to the scalp, and avoid the sun as it will dry it. Use gentle products and limit chemical treatments such as perms and colourants to keep hair healthy.
At the same time, hair may show up where you don’t want it and often a tougher texture or colour on your chin and cheeks. Sometimes this is associated with high testosterone and low progesterone levels and may need hormone rebalance and professional treatment to remove it permanently.
9. Acne and spots
You expect to have acne in your teens but not in your 50, but surprisingly it is common around menopause, too.
Make sure your moisturizer, sunscreen, cleanser, and other face products are gentle. Look for the words “oil free,” “won’t clog pores,” “noncomedogenic,” and “non-acnegenic.”
10. Brain fog
“Use it or lose it.” That simple phrase can help you fight fuzzy thinking and stay focused during menopause.
As we grow older it is common to Lowe focus so challenge your brain in new ways by learning something new, like a hobby or language.
Lower your stress levels too as that really messes up your thinking. Women with more hot flushes do say they have more memory troubles. Investigate ways to reduce the stress and stay more focused.