For an official diagnosis of menopause, experts determine you would have experienced 12 period-free months. A natural progression in life, you may need to take supplements to manage the transition.
On average, the menopause can begin in your 40s or 50s. There’ll be some tell-tale signs you’re going through the change, outlined below.
During the months (or years) leading up to the menopause – medically known as the perimenopause – you could experience an array of symptoms.
Symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes and weight gain.
In addition, you may realise your metabolism has slowed down, your hair is thinning and the skin has become dry.
There may also be a loss of breast fullness. Every woman will experience different symptoms.
However, the main indicator is changes in menstruation. One month (or a few) could be free from the lady in red, but she’ll be back, unexpectedly.
These changes occur as the ovaries begin to make less hormones – oestrogen and progesterone.
Over time, the ovaries will stop producing eggs and you’ll have no more periods.
Boots recognised a certain sunshine vitamin that menopausal women would benefit from – vitamin D.
The pharmacy chain noted that it’s “difficult for the body to get enough vitamin D from diet alone”.
Although the body naturally makes vitamin D from sunlight (which can definitely be achieved during the summer months), it’s helpful to take a vitamin D supplement “during the autumn and winter months”.
After menopause the risk of osteoporosis (brittle and weak bones) increases.
The Mayo Clinic commented that after the first few years of menopause, women “may lose bone density at a rapid rate”.
This puts a person at risk of bone fractures, especially in the spine, hips and wrists.
In order to combat this development, it’d be helpful to take calcium supplements.
The Boots pharmacy recognised that “all bones require plenty of calcium and vitamin D in order to stay healthy”.
Calcium can be found in green, leafy vegetables, soy products, cheese, yoghurt and milk.
Boots add that the recommended daily dose of calcium is 700mg for women, and that it’s advisable to speak with your GP before taking calcium supplements.
This is because too much intake of calcium can result in stomach pain or diarrhoea.
If you’re going through the change, or have gone through it, consider taking supplements to boost your health.
Make sure, as oestrogen levels decrease, you’re getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.
After the menopause, you’re more at risk for developing heart disease, so it’s important to keep blood pressure in the ideal range and reduce cholesterol levels.
If you’d like advice on how to achieve these things, do speak with your doctor.
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