What is the menopause?

The menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops producing eggs from her ovaries (ovulation) and stops having periods (ceases menstruation). Menopause normally occurs when a woman reaches around 50 years of age and levels of the body’s sex hormone, oestrogen, decreases.

Symptoms of the menopause?

During the early stages of the menopause, women will often experience changes in their monthly periods and may also experience:

  • mood changes, such as anxiety or depression
  • headaches
  • reduced libido and vaginal dryness
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • hot flushes and night sweats

Menopause and sleep

Menopause can have a detrimental effect on sleep, causing insomnia and night sweats.

Night sweats occur as a result of hot flushes during the night. A hot flush makes you feel very hot, very suddenly, normally lasting no longer than a few minutes. When they occur at night, they can disrupt sleep, which can lead to irritability and a lack of concentration during the day.

Treatments for the menopause

If your menopause symptoms are extreme and affecting your day to day life you might want to visit your GP to discuss hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or anti-depressants.

There are also a number of natural remedies for menopause and night sweats as well as simple lifestyle changes you can make to ease the symptoms of menopause:

Lifestyle changes:

  • Regular exercise – as well as boosting mood, regular exercise will help you avoid putting on weight and has been shown to reduce menopause symptoms.
  • Healthy diet – during the menopause decreased oestrogen levels also causes a decrease in calcium, which can affect bone strength. A healthy balanced diet will keep bones and muscles strong.
  • Stop smoking – not only can smoking cause earlier onset of the menopause it can cause hot flushes to be more severe.
  • Keep cool – wear light clothing and opt for light bedding to keep you cool at night time.
  • Relax – stress can be a hot flush trigger and affect your sleep

For most women menopause symptoms are harmless and easily managed. If you’ve got questions about the menopause visit your GP. For more top tips about keeping cool at night and getting a great night’s sleep visit the SlumberSlumber sleep clinic.

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