All women will reach menopause as they age. After menstruation stops, various conditions and problems can arise, which can often persist for years. Here we describe what happens to the body and how symptoms can be alleviated.

The years before and after menopause, the point at which a woman has her last period, are also known as the climacteric. With some women this period of hormonal change starts as early as age 40; others aren’t affected until their mid-50s. Most women experience it between the ages of 45 and 70. The ovaries gradually stop producing the hormone oestrogen, and a woman’s fertility declines.
Symptoms and how they’re treated
Every woman experiences these hormonal changes differently. Some experience only minimal symptoms, or none at all. But up to 80 per cent of women do suffer certain conditions.
The most common include hot flushes (hot flashes) and attacks of sweating. Some women also experience mood swings, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, irritability or depression, or weight gain.
Hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate the symptoms during menopause, but it’s only recommended for women suffering serious symptoms. Many prefer natural methods such as herbal medicines that gently support the body as it negotiates the change.
Tips if you’re suffering symptoms

  • Alternate hot and cold showers and footbaths, preferably several times a week, can help if you have hot flushes.
  • It’s a good idea to dress in layers so you can take off clothes if you start perspiring heavily.
  • Get regular exercise. Physical exercise strengthens the body and improves your general feeling of wellbeing. Cycling, yoga and walking are all good. If you exercise in the fresh air you’re also less susceptible to hot flushes.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy diet. Whole-grain products and oestrogen-rich vegetables such as soya, peas and beans are highly recommended. Remember to drink enough fluids.
  • Avoid tobacco, caffeinated drinks and alcohol, all of which exacerbate hot flushes and sleeplessness.
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 10:26