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Smooth riding the menopause

Supported by A. Vogel Menopause Extra

For a smoother ride through the menopausal years, it is clever to get clued up on what might happen and what you can do to support your body through the process.


The first signs of the run-up to the menopause (technically, the date of your last period) can be vague and easy to miss.

Variations in your menstrual cycle may not be obvious if you don’t have a regular pattern anyway. You may get a period way before it is due, or you may suddenly realise you are overdue by a week or so. Chances are it’s just a pre-menopausal hint, although you can still get pregnant during the menopause.

Mood swings. You may find yourself unduly irritated and angry, or inexplicably sad and low. Any premenstrual symptoms that you regularly experienced in the past may gradually become exaggerated.

Regular exercise helps low mood, however little you may fancy it before you start. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic – just a 10-minute walk around the block will do, so long as you do it regularly, preferably every day. Getting out into the daylight every day helps too, as does allowing enough time for good sleep.

Cosmetic changes. The condition of your hair may change, becoming coarser and possibly thinning a little, while you may start to get more hair on your face. Skin may become laxer, and nails may seem more brittle. To improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for the vitamin and mineral content, especially vitamin C, or take a vitamin C supplement
  • Eat foods containing healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts and seeds, as well as good-quality proteins
  • If you are tired and pale, ask your doctor for a blood test to see if you are anaemic as you may require an iron supplement

What’s normal, what’s not? One thing to be very wary of is putting down every health issue that comes along in your 40s and 50s to your hormones. Many other things happen to women of this age, and dismissing it all as ‘menopausal’ can mean missing a proper diagnosis or treatment. Always go to the doctor for a diagnosis if you notice any changes in your health.

During menopause

Your periods may stop altogether, either very suddenly or by gradually tailing off. Alternatively, they may increase in frequency for a while before dwindling. Common symptoms that accompany this stage are hot flushes (flashes), night sweats, excessive anxiety, low mood, vaginal dryness, low libido, arthritic-like joint pains, fatigue and memory lapses, as well as further cosmetic changes to skin, hair and nails.

Falling oestrogen levels are responsible for many of these symptoms as well as for the loss of periods. Some women only have one or two symptoms, others none at all, but most have a combination of symptoms. See our menopause section for more information.

After menopause

After your last period you may feel relieved and liberated, or exhausted and wrung out. There may be lingering symptoms or health issues that you hadn’t noticed before the menopause. It’s important to remember, though, that some health issues will be due to other factors, not the menopause, and you should consult your doctor about any health concerns.

If you’ve put on weight that doesn’t seem to want to come off:

  • Remove refined sugars from your diet
  • Eat plenty of dried and fresh fruit instead (gorgeous taste without the sugar swings and full of nutrients)
  • Chew your food well
  • Exercise every day, even if only for 10 minutes
  • Get enough sleep – research shows that poor sleep increases appetite

If your memory hasn’t returned to former standards, look at your sleep patterns. Lack of sleep will considerably reduce concentration, focus and recall. Stress also has an adverse effect on memory, so if you have been under a lot of pressure, don’t expect miracles from your mind; instead, look at ways of reducing the strain.

Written by: Eileen Durward
Edited by: Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Monday, February 4th 2013


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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 20/10/2014 at 11:44

Is there a website or blog where I can chat w other woman that is going thru menopause ?

Posted by Optional badbabu on 14/02/2013 at 04:51

Thanks for the food idea which is also advisible for all diseases


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