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understanding the menopause
helpful tips

when does the menopause occur?
The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 years. Some women do start before that. If you haven't had children, for example, you might well start earlier.

A good indicator of when you're likely to start is to find out when your mother did.

what happens at the menopause?
When girls are born we all start out with a supply of approximately 2 million eggs. At the menopause the release of eggs from your ovaries becomes more erratic and your monthly periods become less frequent and eventually stop.

hormonal inbalance
Normally our hormones balance out. However when we have menopausal symptoms, we are suffering from hormonal imbalance. At the menopause, oestrogen and progesterone levels fall in varying amounts from person to person.

As the oestrogen levels fall and/or there are sudden changes in hormone levels, many women experience symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, emotional mood swings and a lowered sexual drive.

I have written an e book called The Menopause - What Every Woman Needs to Know. This goes into detail on many aspects, including, for example, the importance of female friendships at this time. You can purchase it for £3.99 by clicking on:
www.menopausesupport.co.uk

what are the symptoms?
Hot flushes and night sweats
Mood changes, anxiety and depression
Vaginal dryness and other skin changes
Bloating and water retention
Raised blood pressure, palpitations and other cardiovascular changes
Poor memory and concentration
Lowered sex drive
Painful intercourse due to the vaginal wall becoming drier and thinner
Joint/muscle aches and pains
Changes in hair quality
Weight gain
Dizziness
Headaches
Low energy
Sleep problems due to hot flushes and/or hormonal changes
Anxiety and/or depression
Oversensitivity
Painful and enlarged breasts caused by cysts

everyone is different
The thing to remember is that menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman, though you are unlikely to get all of the symptoms mentioned. It can be hard if mood changes are making you feel like you're going crazy. This can be compounded by unsympathetic reactions to your distress.

diet and exercise help
Eating the right foods, exercising, and making other positive lifestyle changes can help a woman feel great and live a long, healthy life after menopause.

One of the main changes to your diet that is beneficial would be to increase foods that contain natural phyto-oestrogens. Soya products are rich in phyto-oestrogens which might explain why Japanese women, who have a high soya diet, report fewer hot flushes than Western women.

By taking Vitamin E and avoiding hot spicy food you may reduce hot flushes and by drinking fewer caffeine-rich drinks you can reduce anxiety and palpitations.

Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or jogging, is great for maintaining the health of your bones and swimming and yoga will maintain joint mobility.

Article written by Daphne Nancholas

I have been helping women through the menopause for the past ten years.

My article 'Getting through the Menopause the Natural Way' goes into more detail about the alternatives that help. One article is called 'Menopause - Your Attitude Matters'. I have a website called www.menopausesupport.co.uk that offers online and telephone support during this time.