It’s about time someone looked at the perimenopause and the menopause from a different angle that, instead of oozing connotations of negativity, hones in on positivity instead, a medicine in itself when it comes to dealing with the common symptoms.
8 in 10 women have peri-menopausal symptoms for over 3 months in the run up to the menopause actually taking place, many of which are hormone related and consequently have an impact on things like mood or confidence. Because these symptoms can happen for an extended period of time, it’s important to work out how to prevent them from having a negative impact on your wellbeing.
Mechanisms for working with your symptoms
Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll says, ‘there is no doubt that for many women the symptoms associated with the menopause can be distressing and in some cases debilitating. However, once symptoms are tackled, this transitional period can offer numerous psychological and lifestyle benefits’.
Many experience feelings of dread, apprehension or doom and sometimes this can lead to bigger mental health problems such as depression. Over a third of women have to deal with mood swings in the run up to the menopause and a third also experience irritability. On top of this, 6 in 10 women suffer with anxiety due to these symptoms and half of women suffer a loss of confidence, too.
But there are plenty of easy and natural ways to help counteract these emotional issues such as identifying any food or drink that trigger symptoms, getting enough sleep and rest and managing stress. “Psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness and also hypnotherapy have all been shown to help women cope with some of the emotional and cognitive symptoms associated with the menopause. Yoga, reflexology and acupuncture can also help, particularly if sleeping well has become problematic”, says Dr Meg.
The more physical signs of the menopause like dry skin or dry hair tend to have an effect on your confidence too, which is why it can be beneficial for your wellbeing to give both of these a little extra care and attention. Healthspan’s beauty arm Nurture offers an entire range called Nurture Replenish formulated specifically for women experiencing such symptoms, including their 10-in-1 hair oil and Instant Skin Perfector.
3 benefits of the menopause
Contrary to the menopause being wrongly viewed as confirmation of reaching a certain age, Dr Meg describes it as the start of an exciting stage of life. She points out that an end to monthly menstruation brings with it plenty of benefits.
No more PMS
‘Menstrual periods in themselves can cause a raft of symptoms including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), migraines, spotting and irregular bleeding and severe cramps; therefore, the menopause can free women from these recurrent symptoms and the worry they cause’.
A brand new sex life
‘Research has shown that contrary to the view that the menopause marks the close of a fulfilling and enjoyable sex life, it can instead lead to a phase of sexual exploration as pregnancy and menstruation are no longer causes for concern’1.
You’ll feel liberated
‘Lastly’, Dr Meg says, ‘A study from University of Cambridge reported that during and post-menopause women felt more able to be open and speak their mind.2 This liberation from taking on board others’ views can lead to increased assertiveness, i.e. women can ask for what they want, when they want it. Women at this stage of life often feel a surge in confidence and strength, are more in contact with their feelings and are less constrained by inhibitions.
Despite this, many women still feel inhibited when it comes to talking openly about the menopause. Being a naturally occurring part of life we should not only look to view the menopause in a more positive light, but also work on its position as a conversation topic everyone feels comfortable bringing up.
1. Hvas, L., 2001. Positive aspects of menopause: A qualitative study. Maturitas, 39(1), pp.11-17.
2. Rubinstein, H.R. and Foster, J.L., 2013. ‘I don’t know whether it is to do with age or to do with hormones and whether it is do with a stage in your life’: Making sense of menopause and the body. Journal of health psychology, 18(2), pp.292-307.