Although menopause is a fact of life – a normal and natural transition – it’s still stigmatised in popular culture, leaving many unprepared for what’s ahead. The fact is, too few of us are talking about menopause symptoms and how it affects our lives. So, we’re here to open up the conversation and reveal the signs you should be looking for.
Plus, below, we reveal how you can ease some of the major menopause symptoms, from poor sleep to hot flashes. Here’s everything you need to know…
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the point in time that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. It’s diagnosed 12 months after your last period, and happens as estrogen and progesterone levels go down. However, before you reach the 12-month mark, you may experience a host of menopause symptoms, as your body strives to adjust to the hormonal changes you’re experiencing.
When Does the Menopause Start?
This will be different for everyone. However, the NHS states that menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, as your oestrogen levels start to decline. In the UK, the average age to start is 51, but around one in 100 women experience menopause symptoms before they turn 40.
What are the Top 10 Signs of Menopause?
There are many signs of menopause that you may start to notice, but some are more common than others. (We’ve all heard about the hot flashes and brain fog, right?) Here are the top 10 to be aware of:
• Night sweats
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of concentration
• Vaginal dryness
• Mood swings
• Itchy skin
• Hot flashes
• Menstrual cycle changes
• Reduced sex drive
How to Manage Menopause Symptoms
1. Up your Vitamin D Intake
Because of the hormonal changes your body goes through during menopause, your bones may become weaker, which can sometimes lead to osteoporosis. However, according to the NHS, increasing your vitamin D intake can contribute to the maintenance of healthy bones. Sunshine will help, but when the weather forecast lets you down, you can also try certain foods and supplements.
You’ll find this essential vitamin in oily fish, red meat and egg yolks, as well as the easy-to-take Bright Days CBD Capsules. In fact, we’ve infused each serving (two capsules per day) with 500% of your recommended daily vitamin D3 intake, alongside other healthy heroes, such as zinc and vitamin C.
2. Take Zinc to Ease Brain Fog
Zinc (which is found in whole grains, meat and nuts, as well as our CBD Capsules may also help to support you through one of the key menopause symptoms. ‘Mental fog’ – meaning a decrease in concentration – is common as your body changes, but the power mineral is said to contribute to normal cognitive function. If you’re looking for extra ways to keep your mind sharp, you can also try taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill. The goal is to stimulate your mind with fresh and interesting ideas that keep the ‘fog’ at bay.
3. Track Your Trigger Foods
Keep track of your trigger foods; the things that tend to lead to hot flashes. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a food diary, complete with times you eat each meal or snack. Over time, you may start to see patterns with certain foods and menopause symptoms. Common triggers tend to be caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods, so don’t be surprised if these turn out to be your key culprits.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Fill up a bottle with cold water each day and keep it with you in case of hot flashes. It won’t fend them off completely, but it may help to cool you down and make you more comfortable. It can also help to stay hydrated if you find that sudden headaches are one of your menopause symptoms.
5. Prepare for Night Sweats
If you’re experiencing night sweats – even on the coldest nights – switch up your bedtime routine with lighter bedsheets and pyjamas. Opt for breathable fabrics, such as microfibre (which absorbs moisture) or percale (a type of cotton that feels cool to the touch). You should also avoid crowding the bed with too many cushions and throws. Plus, if it’s not too cold outside, it can help to keep a window open while you sleep.
6. Engage in Regular Exercise
While bone strength lessens as you go through menopause, Healthline reveals that strength training can help you build your body up and improve muscle condition. Invest in dumbbells for at-home workouts or head to the weight machines and free weights sections in the gym. Opt for weights that are heavy enough to work your muscles without being too taxing. What you don’t want to do is overwork yourself, so consider seeking advice from a personal trainer to find a routine that works for you. Bonus: that workout may help you sleep better, too.
7. Talk to Your GP
If you’re finding any of your menopause signs are particularly troublesome, you should talk to your GP. Whether it’s hot flashes, insomnia or bone weakness you’re struggling with, they may be able to help with easing your symptoms.
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