It's estimated that by 2025, one billion women around the world (that's 12% of the global population) will be experiencing Menopause (1). With approximately 13 million women in the UK (2) alone currently menopausal or perimenopausal (around menopause), here's a short guide to menopause, including the most common symptoms and treatments.
What is menopause?
The NHS describes menopause as when 'a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally' (3). This totally natural part of ageing, which can last for months or years, usually happens when a woman's oestrogen levels drop between the ages of 45 and 55.
Here in the UK?, the average age is 51, but about one in 100 women experience what is known as 'premature menopause' before the age of 40. If you have menopausal symptoms before the age of 45 you should contact your doctor, as it may lead to an increased risk of heart disease or osteoporosis (4).
What causes the menopause?
As we get older women's sex hormones change. This leads to the ovaries producing less of the hormone oestrogen and no longer releasing an egg each month. Early (or premature) menopause can occur due to underlying conditions (including Addison's disease or Down's syndrome), surgery (e.g. an oophorectomy to remove the ovaries) or because of some chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or breast cancer treatments.
What are common symptoms of menopause?
Menopausal symptoms can start months or years before your periods end, and can last for between four and eight years. Although they affect about eight out of 10 women (5), one study found that 45% of women failed to recognise that they could be experiencing symptoms related to the menopause (6).
So, here are some of the most common symptoms:
• Hot flushes
• Irregular periods
• Night sweats and problems sleeping
• Mood swings and anxiety
• Vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse
• Reduced libido
• Joint and muscle ache
• Memory problems
It's important to note that if you're experiencing symptoms that are negatively impacting your quality of life, you should speak to a doctor for further advice.
Treatments for menopausal symptoms
For those suffering from severe menopausal symptoms, the following treatments can be prescribed:
• Hormone replacement therapy: HRT gels, tablets, implants or skin patches to replace oestrogen levels
• Vaginal oestrogen moisturises, creams, or lubricants to help with vaginal dryness
• Cognitive behavioural therapy: this talking therapy aims to improve mental health
Did you know that changes to your lifestyle, diet, and simple behavioural changes can help you prepare for - and improve some symptoms of - menopause (7)?
For example, exercise helps stabilise your thermoregulatory system, which can help reduce symptoms such as hot flushes (8).
That's why the British Menopause Society proposed that every woman should be offered a health and lifestyle consultation at around the age of 50 (9).
If you'd like to focus on your mindset, fitness, nutrition and health - at any age or point in your life, including menopause - the Feel Look Be formula is here to help.
Many of my clients have experienced huge benefits and changes through and during their menopause journey adopting our lifestyle programme options and in some cases their symptoms are eradicated all together!
Designed for women looking to transform their lives, find out more here.
I talk more about menopause on my YouTube channel, check it out!