Tips for Managing Menopause

November 1, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

For many people, going through menopause can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. Whilst there is usually no avoiding menopause, there are some things that you can do to manage your symptoms.

It’s said that with age comes wisdom, but unfortunately, age also brings menopause. For Australian women, the average age to reach menopause is 51-52 years and on average menopause will last 4-6 years.

The changes that occur to the body during menopause can lead to a variety of symptoms, which will vary. 20 percent of women will have no symptoms, 60 percent will experience mild to moderate symptoms and 20 percent will have severe symptoms that interfere with their daily life.

Symptoms of menopause can be both physical and emotional. Many women experience physical symptoms like bloating, tiredness, weight gain, urinary problems and vaginal changes. Emotional symptoms can range from difficulty concentrating and sleeping, to mood changes like feeling anxious, depressed or having a lower libido.

During menopause, up to 80 percent of women will also experience hot flushes or night sweats. Hot flushes are described as having a burning, overheating sensation that causes the skin to redden and different degrees of sweating.

Dr Kent Kuswanto, a Consultant Gynaecologist from Epworth HealthCare says that family history and genetics will usually play a part in the severity of menopause symptoms, but for symptoms like hot flushes there are a number of things women can do to manage their discomfort.

There many ways to deal with hot flushes. Reduce intake of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food. Drink plenty of water to cool down, wear layers of clothing so you can easily remove an outer layer when hot. Maintaining healthy weight also helps with this. There are also prescription hormonal (HRT) and non-hormonal medications available that help with hot flushes.
— Dr Kent Kuswanto, Consultant Gynaecologist, Epworth HealthCare

After menopause, women are also a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease and lung cancer. With these factors in mind, maintaining a healthy weight and eating well are more important than ever. Women going through menopause are also advised to quit smoking and those who continue to smoke are at a higher risk of experiencing hot flushes and an increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and lung cancer.

For people experiencing menopause, 30 minutes of physical activity per day on most days is important to improve general well-being and quality of life. Additionally, relaxation, meditation and mindfulness can be helpful for women experiencing some of the more severe emotional symptoms of menopause.

Additionally, some women find that herbal remedies like black cohosh and red clover can reduce symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal changes. Other herbs may help with mood changes, fatigue, low energy or sleep disturbance.

For more information on women’s health issues, support is available at Epworth Geelong Women’s Health Clinic and Jean Hailes at Epworth Freemasons.



Isabel Stewart

Contributor

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