It’s safe to say that many women dread menopause. Commonly referred to as the ‘change of life’, the hormonal changes that accompany the end of menstruation can be physically uncomfortable and psychologically unsettling.
Some common symptoms of menopause include:
- hot flushes, night sweats, and crawling or itching sensations under the skin
- restless sleep
- irritability and forgetfulness
- lack of self-esteem
- reduced sex drive
- discomfort during intercourse.
The good news is that your doctor can help you manage many of these symptoms. We’ve outlined some of the approaches in this article. It is totally normal to find this stage of your life difficult – but you’re not alone and help is available.
Diet and exercise
Your doctor can give you advice on eating and exercising to moderate your menopause symptoms. Generally speaking, they’ll recommend:
- a varied diet of fresh, healthy foods
- drinking plenty of fluids
- low-fat, high-calcium dairy
- drinking less caffeine and alcohol
- quitting smoking.
Mood changes are common during menopause. These relate to hormonal changes but can also be intensified by poor sleeping, stress and life changes that are happening simultaneously (such as physical signs of ageing, children leaving home, career changes, dips in libido, or financial worries).
If mood problems are persistent or overwhelming for you, talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing depression, and there are treatments available to help you recover.
Your doctor can help you navigate the range of natural therapies available and make sure that any herbal treatments or dietary supplements are appropriate, especially if you are taking other prescribed medication.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
If your menopausal symptoms are moderate to severe, your doctor may discuss the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with you.
Other health checks
Your doctor will also monitor you for other problems that can be associated with menopause, including:
- heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Once you’ve reached menopause, it’s also recommended that you have:
- a cervical screening test every five years
- a mammogram every two years – BreastScreen Australia provides free screenings for women over 40 in Australia.
Family Doctors Plus
At Family Doctors Plus, we recognise that menopause is a difficult time for some women. We can guide you through this change of life with care and compassion, and provide you with up-to-date information on nutrition, exercise, hormone therapy and other forms of treatment.