Did you know that hot flushes are not the only symptom of menopause? If you are of 'a certain age' you may well find yourself facing a whole host of symptoms. Today's blog talks about where to find some good information and advice.
Typical symptoms of the menopause are of course hot flushes and night sweats, but can also include difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, problems with memory and concentration, dry skin, eyes or mouth, fatigue, irritability , headaches, muscle and joint aches, hair loss and weight gain. As our hormones control so much of our body, the changes experienced in menopause can be extensive, and it's really helpful to know that there is a logical reason for the desire to throttle someone for something trivial! It also helps to know you are not alone, and there is help, and it won't last forever!
The NHS describes the Menopause as 'when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.' Technically, a women is regarded as being in the menopause a year after her last period, and the period leading up to this is known as the Peri-menopause, but the term 'menopause' is often used for both.
As with any medical information, it is vitally important to choose your information sources carefully, and to rely on good quality information from medical professionals and researchers. (See our previous blog) There is a lot of misinformation out there, and there are lots of claims for various herbal supplements, but many of these are not scientifically proven.
If you think you are menopausal, see your GP, who can run tests to ensure that the symptoms you're experiencing are not related to any other conditions.
It may take trial and error to find out what helps you, and the choices you make will depend on your symptoms. I've found wearing T-shirting and camisoles enables me to cool off when I need it. The links below have options that cover lifestyle, medication, diet and psychology to help deal with your experience.
if you are menopausal, then this list of curated resources you can explore:
- The truth about the menopause - documentary by BBC journalist Mariella Frostrup. Unfortunately only clips are currently available, but this programme really helped me understand what was going on. One of the most important points she raises is about talking about menopause - it is still very much a taboo subject, and it shouldn't be. Mariella Frostrop subsequently wrote a book 'Cracking the menopause: while keeping yourself together.'
- NHS - the first port of call for any medical information
- WebMD provides a range of good information, and also recommends some Lifestyle changes, as well as information on alternative therapies. This site is reviewed by Doctors.
- Eileen Durward is a Menopause advisor for A Vogel, a company which sells herbal supplements. I have found her series of videos very helpful, with lots of practical advice, and tips and tricks for coping with various different symptoms. This page is produced by a company marketing their products, so you will of course find lots of adverts, and links to buy their supplements. I find the Menopause Support supplement helpful, and it is well rated on this site. (Always look for independent evaluation of products before using them)
- The Menopause Exchange helps women through the menopause. The service is run by experts and medical professionals. They provide a helpline you can call, or you can sign up for a free newsletter with tips and advice.
- EverydayHealth has a great list of resources (mostly American) that you can explore. This site is also fact checked.
- There are a wealth of blogs and communities out there. Red Hot Mamas is a good one to explore, as they adhere to honour codes for healthcare advice, and include medical professionals in the panel of advisors.
Wherever you are in your menopause journey - you're not alone. There are thousands of fellow sufferers out there 'enjoying' those 'brief vacations in the tropics' and wondering why they are repressing homicidal urges, or cry for no reason, or can't remember what they were doing. It will pass, and you will survive it!
Hopefully some of the products below will give you a smile.