Menopause describes the point where a women’s menstrual cycles cease. Both the number of eggs produced by the ovaries, and female hormones oestrogen and progesterone reduce. Diagnoses comes after 12 months without a menstrual period. It occurs usually between the ages of 45 and 55, but can occur before 40 (early onset) or later in life.
Just because menopause is a natural process, it certainly doesn’t mean it is an easy one. It is not unusual for many women to feel alone during this process; this topic has been rendered by many as unmentionable, or embarrassing, and many women feel they shouldn’t complain about an experience that is inevitable for many to experience. Moreover, in households women are often the only one going through the process. Others will never go through it or will not understand until later in life.
Menopause can be a challenging time in any woman’s life. It can commonly cause symptoms that can have understandably profound impacts on physical and emotional health. These include but are not limited to:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Changes to skin, hair and breasts
- Hot flashes
- Sleep issues
- Mood swings
- Reduced interest in sex
Feel less alone and look after yourself
Make sure your partner and children are informed
- Talk to them about it.
- Concise and easy to read articles like this one from the Mayo Clinic can provide someone with the information to allow greater understanding and empathy.
- Talk to your partner and children about how they can support you. This conversation may be different for every relationship. The way a partner could support you is different from a child.
Take a step back and look after yourself
- Do the things that you love; whether it be reading, walking or getting a massage.
- Give yourself more time to complete tasks if need be.
Visit your doctor
- Though menopause is expected, talk to your doctor for both medical support and preventative health care (several health and well being screenings may be recommended at this point).
- NZ Family Planning can provide fantastic support during this process. Visit their website for more information.
Look at treatment options, these may include:
- Menopausal Hormone Therapy. This involves replacing hormones that were once produced by the ovaries. More information can be found here.
- Diet. Increase your intake to calcium and vitamin D to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Unexplained weight gain and a lower metabolism is a common experience during and after menopause. Decreasing food consumption could be important to prevent or tackle weight gain.
- Exercise. In particular weight bearing exercise, to support a healthy weight, general wellbeing and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. It can also reduce some symptoms like hot flashes.
Know you are not alone
There are so many great, free online tools to feel supported and informed.
https://healthtalk.org/menopause/support-networks-for-menopausal-women Women talk about their experiences and challenges going through menopause.
https://earlymenopause.org.nz NZ Early Menopause Support Group. For those who either yourself or someone you care about has been diagnosed with early menopause. This website provides general information, support but also includes the stories of other women who have gone through the same thing.
https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/best-blogs-of-the-year#1 The Best Menopause Blogs of 2019. This article provides a number of great blogs that provide both medical and emotional support; from telling the stories of women going through menopause, to addressing a decreased sex drive during menopause, to managing weight gain, to handling work whilst going through menopause. Have a read and find blogs that suit you.
Get your medicines delivered by ZOOM Pharmacy
If you think you may be going through menopause and are finding it challenging at times to deal with, talk to your doctor.
If you are taking prescription medicine of any type, ZOOM Pharmacy makes managing your meds really easy. Prescription meds are delivered direct to your door, repeats organised for you. You don’t need to head out and queue at the pharmacy – ZOOM Pharmacy comes to you!
Call 0508966622 Monday to Friday 7AM-6PM and find out more about our great FREE medicines sachet pack service for patients on four meds or more!