Changes in menopausal women - What is normal?
As much as we’d like to stop the clock at menopause, it is a natural part of aging. This is the stage in a woman’s life when her monthly menstruation stops and she is no longer fertile. Some of you may be elated at the thought of no more periods, while others may find the transition of coping with a new set of uncomfortable symptoms increasingly difficult.
Each woman’s menopause journey is different. Women who experience natural menopause hardly experience any physical changes during perimenopause (early menopause) except for irregular menstrual periods which stop when menopause is reached. However, women who experience early or induced menopause, often encounter unpleasant symptoms and complications. Research shows that menopause is much easier when women embrace the normal changes they are experiencing and view this time of their lives in a positive light. In fact, many women experience their mature, post-children years as a time of strength, growth and new found freedom to do and experience many new things!
What is normal?
1. Menstrual cycle changes
One of the first signs that menopause is near is a definite change in your period! Menopausal women often speak about the unpredictability of their irregular periods – “it comes whenever it wants to”, “they may be two weeks apart or appear very few months”. Some menstrual periods are long and heavy or short and light, there may be spotting, or even a difference in colour and consistency. These changes occur as a result of declining levels of oestrogen and progesterone.
How to treat it
When your period is this erratic in nature, it can be embarrassing at times but also affect your quality of life. Women often opt for HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) to control heavy bleeding and regulate irregular periods. HRT often comes with side effects such as weight gain which is one more thing a woman going through menopause does not need! Research also shows a link between HRT and cancer. Natural remedies have a much gentler and balancing effect on the body, without the risks and more menopausal women are choosing this option. In the Feelgood Health range, MellowPause and Dong Quai are a natural menopause treatment pack – MellowPause treats menopausal symptoms while Dong Quai helps to balance your hormone levels.
2. Hot Flashes
Many women consider hot flashes or hot flushes as a major symptom of menopause – women usually experience hot flushes for a year or two after their final menstrual period as well as during the perimenopause. Imagine your face and neck turning red, feeling flushed and sweaty? A sudden feeling of heat enters the upper part of your body or all over, and lasts between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Welcome to menopause! This is a hot flush! It may occur on its own but is often accompanied by night sweats and excessive sweating during the day.
How to treat it
There are certain factors which can influence hot flushes. Women find that their symptoms are heightened during summer while stress, anxiety, and even spicy food are triggers. If you are experiencing hot flashes, there are steps you can take to ease the discomfort of a hot flush episode. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and ease hot flashes. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid spicy foods. Deal with anxiety and stress levels by taking time out for yourself, relaxing or going for a brisk walk. Keep a bottle of PureCalm in your bag, especially for those days when stress and tension get the better of you. Add your daily dose of MellowPause to alleviate hot flashes and you’ll be breezing through “the change”.
3. Weight Gain
About 90% of women experience extra weight gain during menopause. Expect belly fat, a spare tyre waist or muffin top (call it what you will) which tends to accumulate in the abdomen area. Unfortunately, this is what happens during menopause – your hormones run wild because they are play an important function in weight control. Menopausal women often struggle with this new found weight gain which as you can imagine affects their self esteem and self-image. Extra weight gain also puts at risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure. However, remember that some weight gain during menopause is almost inevitable and in fact is nature’s way of balancing oestrogen levels. Trying to keep your body weight down to teenage levels is not good for you, so embrace the extra curves – many men love them! Of course, excessive weight gain, especially around the abdomen, can carry health risk – so a healthy life style and regular exercise are key to maintaining that balance. Now is an important time to care for YOU!
How to treat it
Lifestyle changes have to be made if you want to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy, balanced diet and cutting out sweet things will definitely make a huge difference. Exercise and being active by going to gym, swimming, going for walks or hikes will help to keep the pounds off and keep your spirits lifted. For added support to help get rid of those stubborn kilos, use EcoSlim and Detox Drops weightloss natural remedies – this popular combination will help you to achieve your goal weight quickly!
4. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is quite common during and after menopause, but can also occur at any age. The decrease in production of oestrogen and progesterone affects the thin layer of moisture which coats the vaginal walls. You may experience itching, burning or stinging around the vaginal opening, pain or light bleeding during intercourse as well as frequent urination and recurring urinary tract infections.
How to treat it
If you are experiencing vaginal irritation, the best thing to do is to stop using soap on the inner parts of your vagina – it’s perfectly fine to clean that area with water. Avoid using scented products such as detergents and fabric softeners to wash your underwear, toilet paper and perfumed douches and lotions on the vaginal area.
5. Low libido
Declining estrogen levels during the menopause transition can lead to changes in a woman’s body and sex drive. Many menopausal and post-menopausal experience loss of sex drive - they are not as sensitive to touch or aroused as easily as before. However, a low libido does not affect all women going through menopause and many report that their sex lives have improved.
How to treat it
Many women may find it difficult to discuss their sexual problems, and if it’s causing conflict in a relationship, it may be even harder. Be open with your partner and explain what you are going through. Consider going for sexual counselling which can offer support for both you and your partner. Just as men often need an extra boost to increase their sex drive as they age, so do women too! Try Thanda Passion Booster for Women, a herbal remedy to increase sex drive and pleasure – taken regularly you will be able to continue to have a satisfying sex life during and after menopause.
6. Skin and hair changes
Menopause can zap moisture from usually healthy skin and hair. Blame it on falling estrogen levels, loss of fatty tissue and collagen that will leave menopausal skin dry and thin, and hair, brittle and lacklustre! Some women’s skin becomes flaky and wrinkled, and also extremely itchy – leaving them scratching their bodies for hours on end.
How to treat it
Nourishing your skin and hair from the inside and on the outside is very important! Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water and you will soon notice the difference in the way your skin and hair looks. Boost your intake of vitamins by taking Solgar’s Skin, Nails and Hair supplements available from the Feelgood Health shop or call 021 797 0193 to order. Moisturise your skin with natural body butters or use Crede’s Coconut Oil (also available from Feelgood Health) to alleviate dry skin. Be kind to hair by avoiding frequent use of chemicals, hair dyes and styling appliances – use gentle haircare products and boost dry hair by having regular deep conditioning treatments.
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In summary, approach menopause with a positive attitude and enjoy the journey! It can be exciting! Now is the time for YOU!
If you have any questions, please contact our team or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!