How to deal with it

Menopause is a phase in the life of each woman which she will have to go through in much the same way as she had to go through puberty, and although some women will have the luck to not suffer in any way from this period of their life, there are quite a few others who unfortunately will go through quite a tough time. 

This article is thus addressed to the women who are experiencing or are about to experience the unpleasant side effects from the menopause and explains tips and advice on how to cope and get through this difficult time. 

The first problem is that your gynecologist will not always explain everything that could happen to you. He will most probably only address the problem that you have come to visit him with, hoping that you wont go on to experience any other problems. But unfortunately there are numerous changes that happen to the body of a woman in menopause and it would help to calm their fears if they knew that was happening to them was normal or at least to be expected. 

So here below I will outline a few of the most probable changes or effects of the menopause: 

1. The first thing that will happen is that you will be more susceptible to weight gain and the sooner that you accept that this is happening the sooner you can begin to try and counteract it by adopting a more healthy form of life. This will involve changing your eating habits and beginning an exercise regime. Even walking one hour a day can go a long way into preventing the extra kilos. 

2. Your skin will become much drier and in some cases even flaky. To deal with this you should always use a moisturizing lotion after your bath or shower and drink at least 1 liter of water a day. 

3. In the same way as your outside skin becomes dry so will the interior walls of your vagina dry up. This, apart from causing discomfort during sexual intercourse, may lead to infections and irritations of this area which may show up in the forms of lumps and pimples which seem to be infected. When you were younger the vagina produced a lubricant which protected your vagina against bacteria etc but once in menopause your vagina is much more vulnerable. 

In order to protect your vagina you should use a lubricating gel. K-jelly is easily obtainable from the chemists without any prescription and by using this you not only improve sexual intercourse but avoid problems caused by dryness. 

4. Before you arrive at menopause your periods may become much heavier than usual. It is almost as if your reproduction system is shutting down shop and so tries to eliminate every last bit of the lining of the womb. During this phase you may have to use sanitary towels as well as tampons as the loss of blood may be quite considerable. You should also be aware that you could become anemic and so taking folic acid and eating foods with a high content of iron such as spinach, lentils and liver could be very beneficial. 

5. One day your periods will stop, although you wont realize that they have stopped until at least four months have gone by and you see that you still haven't had another period. After the periods disappear there may appear a phase, which could last for three or four months, during which you excrete a transparent liquid discharge from your vagina. This discharge is most likened to a watery discharge. It doesn't smell, it has no colour and creates no problem other than a nuisance. 

To deal with this phase, just continue using tampons and know that eventually this watery discharge will cease. 

6. Although body hair such as on the legs and underarms will begin to decline you will find that suddenly there are hairs sprouting around your chin area and around your nipples. 

Plucking with tweezers is the most likely way to dealing with these stray hairs but more effective is the use of a Braun Epilady which will keep these hairs at bay for at least three weeks. It is comforting to know that after a few years these hairs will also lose their strength and not appear so often. 

7. Lack of libido or what is more commonly known as lack of sex drive is also very common in women going through their menopause. There are some doctors that associate this with the fact that women were made to reproduce and so during their reproduction years their hormones made them feel sexy in order to be able to reproduce. Though once they arrive at the menopause and those hormones have diminished their sex drive disappears. 

This has its logic but can be helped by adopting certain measures. Keeping the vagina lubricated helps enormously. Keeping the weight down and trying to keep the appearance of the woman as attractive as is possible is also a good attack, because it always has to be remembered that if you don't love yourself you wont want anyone else to love you! 

Try also to think that this is a time of your life when you don't have to worry so much any more about your children, if you had them, as presumably they have grown up by now and left the home. Try and regain the relationship that you had with your partner and begin doing things together and basically try and fall in love again. Love between two people goes through many different phases from the passionate phase of falling in love to the phase of tenderness and caring but so long as there has always remained a respect and admiration the passion can, with a little effort, be reignited in later years!!! 

8. Introducing Soya into your diet, whether in the form of tablets or actual food, may help a lot as well. It is well documented that Asian women, who consume a lot of Soya, hardly have any problems with the menopause at all. It is also recommended that women begin consuming Soya many years before their menopause as it has an accumulative effect. 

9. And finally but not least you may end up having what are called hot flushes or flashes. These are waves of intense heat that suddenly, without any warning, begin to rise up from your chest right up to your face. You may begin to perspire with beads of sweat falling from your forehead and more beads of sweat collecting in between your breasts. 

This is probably the most uncomfortable part of menopause for most women and some, including this author, have been led to such despair that they have actually stuck their head into the ice making compartment of the fridge!!! 

The first thing that a woman suffering from these flushes should do is to always carry a fan with them. The type of fan that Spanish women have carried for so many years. The next thing is to dress in layers so that when a flush comes on they can take off an item of clothing. Avoid wearing materials such as nylon or wool but rather stick to cotton or linen which allow the skin to breathe more. 

There is of course something called HRT which stands for hormone replacement therapy which when taken would get rid of all of these symptoms but this article is not going to take this treatment into consideration as it only wants to try to address these problems with natural solutions. 

Carry cool wipes in your handbag as they can help enormously when you are having a hot flush in order to clean away any beads of sweat. It also helps to carry a clean top or blouse in case you really end up drenching what you are wearing. 

Flushes tend to be worst at night when in bed so if you have air conditioning by all means use it. If you don't have the luck to have air conditioning wear only cotton night wear or even better none at all. Place clean towels on your bed on which to lie down on and keep a clean set beside the bed in order to be able to replace the saturated ones after a night flush. 

If you have long hair it is advisable to tie it up into a pony tail at night in order to keep your neck free and open to the air. 

And as a last tip - try not to panic. The menopause doesn't last forever. You have it because you are still alive while maybe some of your friends may not have been so lucky as to have arrived at this phase of their lives. It will end one day and suddenly once it has gone you will appreciate life even more than before!!!