With many things in life, by simply altering your perspective, it might not only change your opinion but it can also change the outcome, too. This is especially true when it comes to the menopause.
If you look at it as the end of youth, a sign of getting old, a burden to have to get through, then you may well have some tough years ahead. However, looking at it as a whole new beginning of the next exciting phase of your life, you might actually start to look forward to it.
Of course, some people experience some unpleasant symptoms, but there are positive ways to address this too, so even that could carry good vibrations through the rest of your life if you let it.
The truth is, growing older is a fact of life, the menopause an inevitable step on that journey, so take a look at how to put a positive spin on it instead of facing it with fear, resentment and even anger.
What to expect: It’s true no two women go through the menopause in quite the same way, so while some will experience a perimenopause of just a few months, others will show signs for as many as 10 years. Those are two ends of the scale though and most women can expect it last for around four years during their late 40s.
If you are approaching that age bracket, early menopause symptoms to look out for include irregular bleeding during periods or missed periods altogether. Hot flashes are one of the most-talked-about symptoms but you may also experience trouble getting a good night’s sleep, difficulty urinating, memory problems and changes to satisfaction from sex along with vaginal dryness.
Relief from symptoms: It’s important to remember that many women don’t struggle with symptoms but for those who do, there is help available.
If your periods become unpredictable or you experience spotting, period panties feel just like regular underwear but can help with unexpected leaks. It might also help to keep a period journal either in a diary or through an app to keep track of what actually is happening with your period month to month.
Hot flashes are usually connected to certain triggers which, again, vary from person to person. To reduce their frequency, try to work out what your triggers are and in the meantime, avoid common triggers such as getting stressed, wearing tight clothing, consuming spicy food, caffeine or alcohol, being in a hot room or bending down.
Wearing your clothing in layers and sticking to natural fibers for clothes and nightwear may also help.
Treatments for the worst cases include Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as well as non-hormonal medications.
The positive spin: Think about this as a time of transition. You can show gratitude for the first phases of your life, perhaps you have children to be thankful for or you have enjoyed a fulfilling youth. Then look towards your future, no more periods to worry about, no more fears of unplanned pregnancy but many years ahead of you of more freedom than you have recently experienced bringing up a young family or paying off the mortgage, for example.
Eating more healthily, getting exercise, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol can all help with controlling perimenopause symptoms, so why not use this time of life to make some positive lifestyle choices.
What to expect: Following on from perimenopause, the menopause is officially when you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months. It means a women has stopped ovulating and can no longer become pregnant naturally.
Hormone fluctuations, disturbed sleep, fear of the aging process and other medical conditions that become more prevalent with age can all affect a person’s mental wellbeing and some women will suffer with depression, anxiety and panic attacks during the menopause.
Relief from symptoms: It might help to make a note of any mood changes that may reveal patterns in the occurrence of these types of symptoms. It may be that they coincide with poor sleep or nutrition or particular stressful situations.
It can be helpful to talk to others about feelings such as depression so reach out to friends and family who will be understanding.
As with other symptoms, a healthy lifestyle can also improve mental health so eating well, getting exercise and proper rest are all beneficial.
For more severe cases where symptoms start to affect day to day life, it’s important to speak to a professional who may prescribe medication or talking therapies.
The positive spin: Understanding as you reach the menopause, that these symptoms are temporary and as time passes they will improve is actually a positive thought. Now is the time to celebrate reaching that special milestone in a women’s life and make plans for fulfilling years to come.
What to expect: Once your periods have stopped for a year or more you are classed as postmenopausal.
Expect any symptoms of the menopause to start to gradually disappear.
It does signal an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, however, so it is worth keeping up regular check-ups with your doctor and keeping an eye out for any associated symptoms.
The positive spin: One huge positive about being post-menopausal is many people see energy levels start to increase, which opens the door to getting more active and getting involved in activities you previously may have felt too tired to take part in.
Again, keeping up those healthy lifestyle changes will help ward off any of the health conditions you may be at increased risk from which will have a positive effect across the board.