None of us are looking forward to it, but assuming you’re privileged enough to live so long, it’s almost as inevitable as death and taxes. Yes, we’re talking about the menopause. And men, you should read this too.
Discussing it has been taboo for way too long. We grew up with people talking in hushed tones about ‘the change’ as if it was something to be ashamed of. Well that’s not the Silver way. Right from the get-go we’ve made it very clear we’re here to talk about the things that matter to you, and this is one of them. So we’ve put together a (slightly tongue in cheek) guide to coping with THE CHANGE!
WHY MUST WE HAVE THIS HELL?
Most of the symptoms of menopause can be attributed to a drop in oestrogen. Who would have thought one little hormone could cause so much trouble!? It’s at the heart of most of the stuff that goes wrong, but there’s a lot of positives to be had as a result of menopause too, we are reliably informed. Anyway, here’s our A-Z guide to the menopause, including the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
A is for adult acne
One of the less than glamorous side effects of the menopause, adult acne can send you hurtling back to your teenage years faster than you can say Clearasil Ultra. To combat these pesky pimples, try and ensure your diet is packed with fresh fruit and vegetables and as little sugar as possible.
B is for bye-bye boobies
Well maybe not completely, but the menopause can cause your breasts to become less dense and more prone to sagging. What can you do about this? Hit the gym, invest in a good quality push up bra or even investigate plastic surgery (we don’t judge here). Or just love the skin you’re in, as they say.
C is for chills
Hey guess what – not only are there hot flashes to look forward to, but chills too. Fun! Technically the chills really come as a result of having a hot flash and sweating more, then cooling down and becoming chilly. But fluctuating body temperature, for most women, will be a given.
D is for daily vitamins
There are four main vitamins that can help minimize the symptoms caused by a drop in oestrogen; vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin and vitamin E.
E is for the end of hormonal headaches
Many women suffer from headaches or migraines around that ‘time of the month’. But as you wave goodbye to your monthlies, you can also say sayonara to hormonal headaches.
F is for feeling empowered
You have a choice. You can either let the menopause bring you down or you can choose to take control of your life and embrace these changes. Just think, you can wear white trousers everyday of the month now if you want to!
G is for good oral hygiene
After the menopause your teeth are more susceptible to periodontal disease, loose teeth and tooth loss. Make sure you take good care of your dental health and visit your dentist regularly.
H is for HRT
A controversial topic, women across the world are divided over whether hormone replacement therapy is a good thing or not. It is currently the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms on the market and works by replacing the hormones in your body that are lost due to the menopause. It does however have reported side effects, the most serious being an increased risk of cancer over long term usage.
I is for itching
Another common complaint; itching skin during menopause (otherwise known as pruritus) is caused by your fluctuating hormones. Keep your skin well-moisturised, try anti-histamines, and if the symptoms become unbearable you can be prescribed a mild steroid cream by your GP.
J is for jack in the job
Fact; most new business start-ups are by post-menopausal women. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. The menopause can be a massive wake up call for many women; am I really doing what I want with my life? Would I be more satisfied working on my own? The menopause can also be a great confidence booster and a new lease of life for many. Go get ‘em tiger.
K is for kinship with other women
As with most major life events, having women friends who are going through the same experiences as us always makes difficult time easier. Share your thoughts and worries over a glass or two of Pinot. We guarantee you’ll feel better for it.
L is for libido
Yeah, you know medically the menopause can lower your libido, but don’t throw away the sexy knickers just yet. As the dialogue opens up about the menopause experience, increasing numbers of women are coming forward and identifying that their later life libido knocks spots off the earlier days.
M is for moodswings
As a woman we reckon you’re allowed a few mood swings. You have to deal with periods, bearing children and the menopause, to name but a few of the questionable cards life deals you. If you’re finding it unbearable though, get some help. See the quack, or investigate a session with a nutritionist. You can make it easier on yourself.
N is for NO MORE periods or PMT
Hooray!! The curse has been lifted!
O is for osteoporosis
This condition which causes your bones to become brittle and weak, is more common after menopause due to a loss of bone density. Counteract this disease by taking regular but moderate exercise, eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and by getting sufficient sunlight.
P is for perimenopause
Technically the menopause is a very brief official moment when you have not had a period for 12 months. That is the menopause. And perimenopause is all the stuff that happens before that 12 month milestone. Symptoms usually start in your 40s.
Q is for quenching your thirst
Oestrogen is partly responsible for keeping your mouth moist, and as your hormone levels drop, your mouth can become dry. So be sure to drink lots of water, and avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as humanly possible. And yeah, we know you need a stiff G&T some days. Never say never.
R is for retinoids
Menopausal skin can be prone to wrinkles and thinning of the skin. Look for moisturisers and serums that contain the active ingredient retinol which is scientifically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, as all the ads say.
S is for sex
If you feel a bit ‘meh’ about sex, that’s normal. But so is having mad sexual urges during perimenopause, increased libido after menopause, and a whole range of changes to your body. Everyone is different, so don’t just roll over and assume it’s all doom and gloom! It might be a renaissance.
T is for time to take stock
For many women the menopause is a time to re-evaluate their lives. They have survived the menopause and come out the other end feeling physically and psychologically stronger. You may feel like re-evaluating all aspects of your life from your career to your health to your relationships. Make time for yourself. Whether it be with exercise, meditation or simply reading a book; now is the ideal time to take daily timeouts just for you. Be selfish, you deserve it.
U is for uterus
Oh lord, there is so much that can go on in your uterus we don’t know where to start! Enlarging, irregular periods, fibroids – there’s a lot that can happen in there. Keep up those smears and keep an eye on your uterus. It’s probably going to need some love.
V is for vaginal dryness
Also known as vaginal atrophy (yuk!), decreased levels of oestrogen can lead to a lack of moisture in the vagina. In fact, 85% of menopausal women are affected by this. On a more positive note, the best thing to do to combat this is to have sex as often as possible, keep it revved up. And there’s always lube.
W is for weight gain
The menopause can cause your metabolism to slow down which can lead to weight gain. Many women report that their hips seem to widen as if by magic overnight. Is there any good news? Well, you can see it as the perfect opportunity to overhaul your lifestyle and adapt a healthier diet! Yeah okay, we’re doing our best. Sorry.
X is for X-rated
You may be dealing with a decreasing libido and a whole host of problems down below, but statistically women over 50 are having more orgasms than their younger counterparts. We are now at the age where we know what we like, and we are not afraid to ask, no demand it. Embrace the confidence when comes with age, and go wild in the bedroom – did we hear someone say, ‘Cougar alert’?!
Y is for yoyo
We’re not going to sugar coat this – you’re going to be up and down for a while. Some women sail through, some don’t. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day. As Elizabeth Taylor famously said, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Nothing lasts forever.
Z is for zero food cravings
Remember those hormonal days when you could eat an entire king-size bar of Galaxy chocolate without blinking? Now that you’re no longer ovulating you ought to find that ‘will kill for carbs’ is a thing of the past. Or at least a lesser thing. Now you can take control of your nutritional needs; perhaps only a standard bar is necessary. Ahem.
So there’s just a few suggestions from us. We know there’s TONS more – feel free to add your own below! If we get enough we’ll do a second collection! Happy days!