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It used to be that the menopause was rarely mentioned, and many women were just left to get on with it. Which might have been manageable if you weren’t suffering too much from the symptoms, but could be horrendous if not – confusing, upsetting, painful and exhausting all at once.
Luckily, as more and more women are opening up about their experience of the menopause, it can help us prepare for and deal with it. There are plenty of online resources and support groups, and with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow and Gillian Anderson to Meg Matthews and Lorraine Kelly opening up about their own experiences, women can be much better prepared for what to expect from the menopause.
Whether you’re experiencing your first menopausal symptoms, right in the middle of it or it’s a long way off, read our tips to deal with it. And if you’re really struggling with the symptoms too, pay a visit to your doctor. There’s medication to help with everything from hot flushes to mental health struggles, so don’t be afraid seek the help you need.
1. Prioritise your sleep
The menopause can disturb sleep patterns – from insomnia to waking up in a hot-flush-induced pool of sweat.
To help with getting off to sleep, introduce a bedtime routine – a bath, a cup of warm milk and reading a few chapters of your book, for example. This will help tell your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. For more great tips, try our 11 steps to the best night’s sleep ever.
To make hot flushes in the night more bearable, ensure the bedroom is cool and well ventilated via an open window or fan. Wear light cotton pyjamas and layer your bed with a thin sheet so you can kick off your duvet when you’re hot but still stay cosy.
2. Switch your skincare
Some women notice that their skin changes through the menopause, becoming more sensitive and prone to dryness. Adjust your beauty routine accordingly, looking for rich but oil-free lotions and a higher SPF protection as your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun.
It’s also worth swapping your regular detergent for Fairy Non-Bio, which is voted as the number one laundry brand for sensitive skin, leaving you free of irritation. Well, from your clothes, anyway…
3. Talk to family
For many women, the menopause is a right rollercoaster ride of moods and emotions. Although you’re the one having to deal with all these fluctuating emotions, your nearest and dearest will probably notice it too.
So let them know that you’re feeling more sensitive than usual because of the menopause. Talk about how it’s impacting you, whether that’s because you’re finding yourself snapping at the slightest thing, or bursting into tears because the milk’s run out.
Hopefully together you’ll find ways to make sure you’re happy and comfortable while you go through this tricky time.
4. Diarise your symptoms
When people think of menopause, the symptom most of us think of is hot flushes. If you’re experiencing these, it could be that there are certain things that might trigger one for you. Caffeine, spicy food, smoking and alcohol, for example, are common ones.
Every time you suffer with a hot flush, think about what you’ve eaten, or what activity you’ve just done, and make a note of it in a diary. Start looking for patterns and, if you find that something appears to be triggering your hot flushes, it’s best to avoid it.
You might also find you suffer with more headaches than usual, or even migraines. Again, when this happens, make a note in your diary of what might have caused it and seek to avoid it in future.
5. Always be prepared
A hot flush can happen anywhere at any time, so you need to be prepared. Wear layers so you can quickly remove items of clothing when you’re having a flush. Also, focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths from your abdomen until it passes.
Another symptom of the menopause is a more sensitive bladder, so also remember to wear Always Discreet to help eliminate wetness and odours from any impromptu leaks.
6. Talk to friends
You are not alone when going through the menopause, though it can often feel like it. Don’t be afraid to open up to your friends about how you’re feeling – you’ll probably discover they’re going through the same thing and you can even laugh (or cry) about it together.
You could also try an online forum, where the support you receive and stories shared will make you realise you are not the only one struggling through this time of life.
7. Try new hobbies
You can be more forgetful and get brain fog more often when you’re going through the menopause. Keep your mind active and brain ticking by reading, doing crosswords and Sudoku or even learning a new skill, perhaps by attending a dance class or language course.
Is there something you have always wanted to try but haven’t yet had the time? Check out our tips to make time for hobbies.
8. Take regular exercise
Exercise is also great for making you feel good and releasing those all-important endorphins. Brisk walks are a good way to get your heart going, and the fresh air is good for your overall mental health and wellbeing.
Yoga, too, is another great choice. While you’re doing all that bending and stretching, you need to focus on your breath, which helps quiet the mind and lower your stress levels. Try our yoga pauses for menopause symptoms.
9. Eat healthy food
Do double check you’re getting all the right nutrients in a diet that’s rich in fruit and veg. Stuck for ideas? Start your day with one of our five healthy breakfast ideas, keep going through the day with our quick and healthy snacks and for dinner try one of our seven tasty (and healthy!) comfort foods the whole family will love.
Are you going through the menopause? Let us know how you’re coping and do share any tips you think may help others in the comments section below.