Menopause is something that all women will go through in their lives and yet the advice out there is conflicting and often confusing. We regularly hear stories of women who have been wrongly prescribed anti-depressants by their doctors, when in fact they were going through menopausal or perimenopausal depression because of their hormones causing their low moods. And, all too often women are told that they’re too young to be menopausal, when in fact it’s your symptoms that indicate you’re in menopause, not how old you are biologically.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Symptoms include; exhaustion, low sex drive, depression, mood swings going from anger to sadness at the flick of a switch, changes in your periods (lighter, or heavier, or sporadic, or closer together), sleepless nights, hot flushes, memory loss, problems with concentration, changes in your skin and hair (hair may thin and skin may lose its glow), anxiety and a feeling of hopelessness.
Why menopause can be a positive time
Women often go into denial that they might be menopausal, unfortunately it’s something which seems to carry a taboo in a world where pretty much everything else is openly talked about. Instead of welcoming it in as a time of positive change where you can embrace healthy new habits and get rid of any that may no longer be serving you, there seems to be a feeling amongst some women that we’re no longer sexual beings, or a lingering sadness that the time to have children may be over, when in fact with the right medical professional advising you, the menopause can be the best time of your life. Many women try out new exercise regimes and change their diets for healthier ones so they feel and look great, and with the correct medication and guidance at their disposal they discover a whole new level of sexual liberation that they were lacking in their younger years.
At Lumity we are very keen to break the taboo and ensure that women sail through this time of their lives feeling happy and healthy. For example, we often hear stories of women who started having therapy because of low menopausal moods and then went on to free themselves of unresolved issues that had been weighing them down emotionally for years. Also, embracing the fact that getting older is a privilege that is only afforded to a few can serve as a chance to sit down and ensure that your time is well spent and that you full enjoy life to the full, rather than putting up with things that weren’t making you happy the way you may have done when you were younger.
But one of the biggest misconceptions about menopause revolves around HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Many women believe that it’s not a natural option, however, if you find the right doctor who is willing to listen to you and will talk through the different options that are available, for many women HRT has been life-changing. One thing to consider if you’re looking for an alternative to HRT is if proper clinical studies have been conducted, you wouldn’t buy your birth control from an online auction website from an unknown vendor overseas, so research and time with a medical professional is key. Things that can help alleviate symptoms include meditation, acupuncture, shiatsu and regular exercise.
The key thing to remember is that medicine and research into health and wellness around the menopause changes, improves and gets better every day. For example; if you’re worried about HRT and breast cancer, there’s plenty of studies which you can check to reassure yourself that the risks are low. Another worry is that HRT causes weight gain, but with proper diet and exercise there’s absolutely no need for you to gain unwanted weight, but again a good doctor can help you.
Don’t suffer in silence, talk to trusted friends and loved ones and, whether you’re 35 or 50, and having periods or not, if you’re noticing menopausal symptoms then seek out a doctor, get recommendations for who to see if you can, and if they don’t work out for you, then find a different doctor. You owe it to yourself to be as happy and healthy as possible – at every age.
For further information Dr. Louise Newson, who is a British doctor who is passionate about educating women on menopause, has a brilliant website which is packed with articles on every aspect of menopause imaginable. She is also active on Instagram and happy to help women and answer questions. Another of our favourites is Jane Dowling, who is a top British fitness instructor who has a blog called MenoandMe where she talks frankly about her journey through menopause and she also has an active Facebook group which offers help, support and advice that anyone can join which you can find here.
If you’re interested in reading more, we discuss HRT with an expert here, and one woman tells us how she got through menopause with a simple, fuss-free game plan and if you’d like to know more about perimenopause we have an in depth look at it here.