What is the menopause?
The menopause is the time in a woman´s life when menstruation ends completely. It happens to every woman who lives long enough to reach this change in her life. It is due to hormonal changes in the body which after which a woman will no longer be able to concieve a baby.
Ususally, the term ´menopause´ refers to the last menstrual period, but it is often used to refer instead to the years either side of the last menstrual period.
What is the Peri-Menopause
The period of time before the menopause, when hormone production begins to slow, is known as the peri-menopause and it often commences long before you may expect, sometimes from as early as 35 onwards.
What is the average age for Menopause?
The time menopause occurs is different for all women. The average age for the actual menopause (cessation of menstruation) is 51 (but can span from 35 to 58). The period after the menopause is known as post-menopause.
It is often thought menopause will start at the same age it did for your mother, but this is not necessarily the case. Menstrual patterns have changed over the last 30-40 years and it is common for women to have a later menopause than their mothers.
If you are unsure if you are going through the menopause, call into one of our stores to have a menopause test.
What are Symptoms of Menopause?
Menopause means ´end of menstrual period´. It does not have to mean the end of good health and vitality, nor does it have to mean the end of beauty, femininity, or a good sex life. It is a perfectly natural stage in a woman´s life – it is not a medical disorder.
The actual symptoms of menopause vary from country to country. This may well offer clues to how diet, lifestyle and even conditioning affect our bodies. For instance, in some parts of the world women do not have a word for hot flush and the Western concept of ´the menopause´ with all its associated problems just doesn´t exist.
Common symtons include:
- Hot flushes,heart palpitations
- Mood swings, anxiety, irritability
- Weight gain,memory lapses
- Muscle tension, sore joints
- Bloating,bladder problems
- Vagina dryness
- Loss of libido, painful intercourse
- Irregular periods, breast tenderness
- Fatigue, trouble sleeping, can’t concentrate
How To Treat the Symptoms of Menopause
Fortunately, many of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause are temporary. Take these steps to help reduce or prevent their effects:
- Cool hot flashes. Get regular exercise, dress in layers and try to pinpoint what triggers your hot flashes. For many women, triggers may include hot beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, hot weather and even a warm room.
- Decrease vaginal discomfort. Use over-the-counter water-based vaginal lubricants (KY Jelly) or moisturisers (Femfresh, Vagisil). Staying sexually active also helps.
- Optimize your sleep. Avoid caffeine and plan to exercise during the day, although not right before bedtime. If hot flashes disturb your sleep, you may need to find a way to manage them before you can get adequate rest or use a cooling pillow.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, can be helpful in relieving menopausal symptoms. You can find a number of books and tapes on different relaxation exercises.
- Strengthen your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscle exercises, called Kegel exercises, can improve some forms of urinary incontinence.
- Eat well. Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and that limits saturated fats, oils and sugars. Ask your doctor about calcium and soya supplements to help you meet daily requirements, if necessary.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer and a range of other health problems. It may also increase hot flashes and bring on earlier menopause.
- Exercise regularly. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days to protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other conditions associated with aging.
- Some women find relief in Menopause Relief Magnets.
- If your symptoms are very severe, talk to one of our pharmacists or your doctor for advice.