Savvy woman’s guide to menopause

While menopause is a natural part of ageing it’s not a ‘use by date’.

Savvy woman’s guide to menopause

Menopause is defined as the time when your period stops for good. It occurs when your ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone. The message given to women is that menopause is the beginning of their decline into old age. Menopause is a natural part of ageing, but it’s important to realise that it’s not a ‘use by date’.

While many women are familiar with the common symptoms of menopause, many still find themselves unprepared for the emotional repercussions that it can have. Adjusting to menopause on an emotional level is as important as managing the physical side effects. So, here is a savvy woman’s guide to menopause that may help you to adjust to this natural part of life.

Identify when it has started

Menopause typically begins 12 months after your last period has occurred, with most women experiencing it between 45 and 55 years of age (the average age is 51). However, about one per cent of Australian women experience early menopause – that is, before the age of 40. The menopause process can last four to six years.

Alleviate the symptoms

Relief from physical symptoms of menopause can be managed through medicines prescribed by your doctor, including hormonal replacement therapy. Herbal or complementary therapies are also available, although their safety and efficacy needs more research. However, for many women menopause symptoms may be managed by:

  • exercising regularly and keeping fit, particularly by doing weight-being exercise, which strengthens bones
  • eating a nutricious diet and maintaining a healthy body weight, as weight gain is common during menopause
  • listening to their body by relaxing and doing things that will help ease stress.

Talk about it

It can help to talk to a doctor when it comes to adjusting to this change, as they can guide you on how to manage your symptoms and moods. Sharing your feelings about your menopause with trusted family and friends is also beneficial, particularly if you know someone who is going through it as well. Sometimes it can just help to know that someone else is going through the same experience.

Remove the myth

You can play a role in removing preconceptions around menopause for younger women by sharing your experiences with your daughters and granddaughters. This can help them understand what to expect later in life. Women don’t tend to worry about menopause until it happens to them, but all women can be part of sharing the truth about their experience and what to expect. By being open about menopause, we remove the stigma around it. 

You are not your menopause

Menopause signifies the end of your ability to become pregnant, but it does not have to affect your identity as a woman or as a sexual being. In fact, many women report having improved sexual function and gratification, knowing that they no longer have to worry about becoming pregnant. Menopause has its benefits as well, since conditions like PMS, heavy bleeding, migraines, fibroids and endometriosis are no longer problems.

If you would like more information about managing your menopause, please visit Jeanhailes.org.





    COMMENTS

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    Fossil
    4th May 2015
    10:39am
    I started my menopause when I was 46 and now at 71 still have hot flushes (severe at times) even though I'm taking medication in the form of patches and yes they are the right strength. some women stop them after 5-7 years it seems some of us will have this until we die.
    nena
    4th May 2015
    4:12pm
    I´m 77 and still have h/f. Doctors took me off from hormone replacement years ago because, they stated, serious side effects. Some time it is so depressing and annoying that makes me think I should not exist any more. It is sad but true.
    Mad Granny
    4th May 2015
    12:18pm
    My first flushes were a bit torrid (five years ago) but they're less severe now, and as well, I've learned to recognise when they're about to happen and head them off a bit. Sneaking outside, or having a drink of cold water seems to knock them off-track a bit. It all involves cooling the body (be quick but try not to be obvious?). Shedding a jumper is probably necessary, but a cooling drink is very helpful . I now understand why, as a child, I noticed that older ladies always seemed to prefer cardigans!
    Precious 1
    5th May 2015
    10:18am
    I started menopause around 37 finishing the periods at that age too...I remember the first day I suddenly burst into tears and got no sympathy from Hubby and that was the start of the decline in my marriage........at the breakfast table one weekday morning.....it changed my life completely causing me to do outlandish things.......it can be no trouble at all as others used to tell me but I had a terrible time..I had an abhortion and only my children came to see me in Hospital...... hubby gradually became more distant and in the end the marriage collapsed...I felt terrible...I needed so much help and no one seemed to want to get involved.... My mother and motherinlaw said they had had no symptoms at all.......Get help as soon as you feel and see a change in yourself it may save your LIFE.........
    Precious 1
    5th May 2015
    10:20am
    The Pill wasn't allowed after only a month as its side effects were dangerous as I had already had a dose of Breast Cancer scare and operation......
    buby
    5th May 2015
    4:22pm
    i'm sorry to hear that precious, yes i think we all have something different. I didn't get any changes until forty, and i didn't get rid of the husband quick enough.
    Amazing how cold and indifferent some of them can be.
    I hope your feeling better of late. gl
    Romea
    5th May 2015
    11:15pm
    I started menopause when I was approximately 47. At about 53 I started to get migraines, sometimes 2 a day sometimes 3 a week. It played havoc with my work and private life. In my early 40's I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's a thyroid disease. It was believed that combined with menopause this was the cause for changes in migraine frequency. I am now 59 and the migraines are here to stay but I use deep needling to make them less frequent, along with daily does of preventatives such as Inderal, Endep, Vitamin B complex, Magnesium and Omega 3. I hope this may help others who may end up having these side affects due to hormone changes.
    Precious 1
    5th May 2015
    11:50pm
    Thanks for your interest Buby etc I also still get the hot flushes but my mental statement quite normal now.........hopefully....anyhow I have a full life many friends and Family love and I adore them...I never remarried but I did have a long term partner o26 years who sadly died last September 2014 we travelled the world and places we all dream of seeing...I was well re imbursed for my losses and in a very happy place now.......
    DeborahStar
    13th May 2015
    6:49am
    "You are not your menopause" - this will be my new mantra! I think a must have for all women who are dealing with menopause is the book "Why is Mid-Life Mooching your Mojo?" by author Dr. Joni Labbe (http://mojogirlfriends.com). She is a certified clinical nutritionist and has answers for women suffering with weight loss, fatigue, hot flashes, insomnia, and more. She gives tons of tips and resources and writes in a way that is easy to follow and understand. If you have tried everything with no luck (blood tests, supplements, medications) then this book is a must read! Menopause doesn't have to be a horrible experience. You can survive it and move on with little collateral damage I promise :) As Dr. Labbe says in the book "Don't believe the myth that you are too young, too old, or too late to feel good!"


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