How the menopause can affect women and why they shouldn’t suffer in silence

menopause, mature woman touching sweater and having hot flash

By Dr Marion Gluck, hormone and women’s health specialist and founder of The Marion Gluck Clinic.

Recently, there has been more coverage in the news about the effects of the menopause, but as every woman experiences it differently, it can be difficult to know when the symptoms are part of the process or related to other pathologies.

The average age for menopause is 51, but the perimenopause (the period leading up to it) can last several years. The first signs can be experienced any time from your 40s onwards.

The menopause is a medical condition and medication can be used to alleviate symptoms. The difficulty is that HRT has had some negative press and many GPs don’t get adequate training in dealing with the condition.

Some women have few symptoms, others experience some of the following both leading up to and during menopause:

  • Periods become irregular with missed cycles
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and palpitations
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Weight gain
  • Worsening PMS symptoms and breast tenderness
  • Aches and painful joints
  • Low libido
  • Frequent headaches
  • Mood swings and irritability

The menopause at work

As a high proportion of women work the effects of these symptoms will impact on their performance if no treatment is given. However, it’s important to educate not only women, but everyone in the workplace about the menopause.

Intelligent strategies for supporting women as they experience this condition will ensure they are able to continue to be and feel they are still valuable members of the team. Not someone who needs to be side-lined until they ‘get their act together’.

Yes, it is down to hormonal changes, but that shouldn’t be applied as a derogative description.

Organisations should address this in the same way they do any other discriminatory action.  The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and ACAS both offer guidelines and policy suggestions for HR practitioners to help in establishing an enlightened approach to the menopause.

Self-help for the menopause

Women need to understand their bodies and the changes that they may experience at this time. If your doctor doesn’t seem able to help, be pro-active in seeking out a doctor or clinic that can offer an educated approach.

Aim to follow a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts and wholegrains to help your body balance hormones and keep your weight monitored
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
  • Reduce stress to help manage anxiety and have less worry to keep you awake at night
  • Exercise to keep your body as fit and flexible as possible, but choose activities you enjoy – that way you’ll stay with them
  • Practise mindfulness or meditation to train your brain to switch off and to calm your body.

If you’re still experiencing symptoms and it’s affecting your lifestyle or your work life, Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) represents another option.

The advantage of this treatment is that it can be customised on an individual basis, and not as “one size fits all”.

At the Marion Gluck Clinic we carry out thorough investigations, including blood tests and lifestyle assessments, prior to prescribing BHRT and we monitor patients throughout the treatment and adjust the prescription where necessary.

As you progress through the perimenopause and the menopause itself your prescription may need adjustment so it’s an ongoing solution to manage your symptoms.

Take action

Don’t suffer in silence – take action as soon as you notice any variables in your cycle or in your physical or mental state.

Get educated about what you might expect from the perimenopause and the menopause.

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options and/or explore alternatives.

Talk to your HR department about your employer’s policies on the menopause.

Be conscious of eating healthily.

Adopt a mindful lifestyle to reduce stress and manage your mental health.

The menopause shouldn’t be a hidden condition – when 50% of the population will experience it at some point. Why should any woman live a less full life due to a treatable condition?

About The Marion Gluck Clinic

The Marion Gluck Clinic is the UK’s leading medical clinic that pioneered the use of bioidentical hormones to treat menopause, perimenopause and other hormone related issues. Headed up by Dr. Marion Gluck herself, the clinic uses her method of bioidentical hormonal treatment to rebalance hormones to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to slow down ageing.

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