Often called the ‘change of life’, menopause basically means the end of menstruation for a woman, and happens when her body stops releasing an egg every four weeks. The menopause can affect women of different ages – the average age to go through the menopause is 52, but some experience what’s called a ‘premature menopause’ in their 30s or 40s.
So, what is actually happening when a woman is going through the menopause? The whole thing is related to the levels of oestrogen in a woman’s body. During the menopause, a woman’s oestrogen levels decrease. And without this oestrogen, her ovaries will no longer release an egg each month – so she’ll no longer experience the joys of a monthly period. This can sometimes happen suddenly, with a woman’s periods stopping abruptly – but is more likely to happen gradually over a period of time.
How will going through the menopause affect me?
With hormone levels going through some massive changes, it’s no surprise that going through the menopause can have some side effects. Certainly, if you’ve ever suffered with PMT, you’ll understand the influence that hormones can have both physically and emotionally!
Some common symptoms include:
— Periods becoming more (or less!) frequent
— Periods becoming lighter (or heavier!) than usual
— Hot flushes
— Vaginal discomfort
— Mood changes
— Insomnia or other sleeping problems
— Night sweats
— Weight gain
So, that’s the bad news – it doesn’t sound like tremendous fun, does it? The good news is that the menopause doesn’t last forever, and symptoms are usually only a problem for between two and five years. The best news of all, thought, is that there are things you can do to help alleviate symptoms and make the transition smoother.
Minimising the effects of the menopause
A lot of women find that making changes to their lifestyle and diet help them to cope with the effects of the menopause. Simple things like exercising and de-stressing can make a massive difference, so making time to focus on your favourite exercise and methods for relaxation will really pay off!
Sometimes, though, the menopause hits suddenly and symptoms come on faster than you can say ‘yoga mat.’ What’s a girl to do, then? Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is available on prescription, but many women find that it doesn’t work well for them, or simply do not want to go down an overly pharmaceutical/medical route for coping what is essentially a natural part of the ageing process. For those women, some great natural HRT alternatives are available – Perfect Harmony tablets are one example, and aim to provide relief from the major symptoms of menopause. Perfect Harmony works by combining 6 key natural ingredients, including:
Soy Isoflavones – a natural plant oestrogen that protects against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Natural Vitamin E - powerful anti-oxidant that can provide relief from hot flushes and vaginal problems associated with the menopause.
Feverfew – been used for centuries for a range of conditions including those associated with menstruation. Recently Feverfew has been used for migraine headaches.