Did you know that the average age women go through the menopause is 51, which means they’ll spend around 1/3 of their lives being post-menopausal?
Don’t worry, this isn’t as depressing as it may sound.
Menopause is a time of many changes, both physically and emotionally. Some women experience this transition in a negative way, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Changes have happened and - yes, they can’t be reversed - but they’re much easier to deal with when you know what to expect.
During the perimenopausal stage, hormones fluctuate but are ultimately declining.
When periods have stopped for 12 consecutive months, you’ve completed the menopause and are post-menopausal.¹ Everyone experiences the menopause differently. If you’ve watched mothers or older sisters going through “the change”, you might form (negative or positive) beliefs from their experiences.
These beliefs might influence whether you want to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or not. However, it’s important to make your own informed decision: this is your menopause. Remember, HRT can’t work miracles. It won’t make your ovaries come back to life or delay the menopause, but it does replace the hormones your ovaries no longer produce.
For many women, this reduces symptoms and improves long-term health.²
During perimenopause, hormones are up and down, and your physical symptoms can be too.
Even once your ovaries have stopped producing hormones and your periods have ceased, your menopausal symptoms can continue for some years.
However, a good proportion of women say these symptoms do reduce - although it may take some time to notice the difference.
For many, the psychological aspects of menopause can be harder to cope with.³ Anxiety may remain a problem and it can impact on your working and family life.
You might find you have more time now to relax and have fun, but feeling anxious can really spoil this newfound freedom.
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So, what can you do? There's a few options.
So, what can you do? There's a few options.
Believe it or not, there are some benefits to being post-menopausal.
With the right professional medical support, your symptoms can be managed well.
For many people who have battled with contraception, heavy irregular periods, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), going through the menopause signifies the end of all of this, and it can be a huge relief!
It can be a time to celebrate, or on the other hand you may miss the period in your life that’s passed. Everyone experiences this transition differently and we must respect this. However, it’s a time of change and it’s important to look towards the future.
No one wants to think of getting older and ageing, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to reassess your life.
What do you want out of it? Where do you want to go and who do you want by your side? Menopause is a time of reflection that can steer you towards making changes to your life for the better.
Many women will consider taking early retirement, and for some professions this is a real possibility. Now’s the period you’ve thought of all this time, where you can have lots of holidays, take daytime walks, or start a new venture.
However, poor health or unstable finances may prevent us living this dream. The need to keep working until your mid 60s or later is a reality for many. To make life at work as easy as possible, do make sure that you have the right support.⁶
Your workplace should have menopause policies and Human Resources should offer advice and guidance. If you’re struggling, talk to your manager. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about: you’re going through a natural process and you deserve support.
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Whether they’re at home or work, relationships can be challenging and strained. The psychological symptoms women experience during menopause can mean they distance themselves from their partners.
Hormonal fluctuations can really impact wellbeing, and partners often feel confused and unsure how to react. What will help? Be honest and explain how you really feel. Talk about menopause, build bridges - you may well find that you grow much closer as a result.
Transitioning through menopause isn’t always easy, but understanding how you can be affected will make a huge difference. It’s just a different stage in your life, so go on and start enjoying it.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 8 September 2022