Menopause symptoms: the signs to looks for

It comes us all, but not every woman knows the signs of menopause to look out for.

With that in mind, Dr Rosemary Leonard, woman&home’s regular health columnist and author of Menopause: The Answers, offers her menopause symptoms checklist…

Irregular periods

This includes not having a clue when the next one is going to be., and when you do get one it may be horrifically heavy or lighter than usual.

Hot flushes and sweats

Some women get one and not the other during the menopause. Some women get them frequently 24/7, others less so, and some just at night.

Disturbed sleep

This symptom may be due to night sweats, but sometimes occurs on its own and for no apparent reason.

MORE: The £35 gadget that claims to cure hot flushes in menopause

Loss of libido

This often happens about a year after periods have finished when your oestrogen levels have fallen to rock bottom.

Mood swings

Often accompanied by sudden bouts of feeling irrational, anxious or stressed.

Brain fog

Many women suddenly find they have problems concentrating when they hit the menopause.

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Dizzy spells

Sometimes with nausea.

Aching joints

They shouldn’t be swollen, though. If they are, don’t blame the menopause.

A change in your skin

With all your skin feeling more dry than before. You realise you need a moisturiser for a “more mature” skin.

A change in pubic hair

Your pubic hair may be thinner than before, and you don’t need to shave your armpits quite so often. On the flip side, you may have some upper-lip fuzz that needs attention.

Experiencing the symptoms of menopause? Possible remedies include…

HRT

HRT has pros and cons. It isn’t necessarily the baddie it’s often made out to be, and can be the best way of helping women having a difficult time, particularly with hot flushes. It can also help with osteoporosis, a fall in libido and help women feel “normal” again. However, it can very slightly increase the risk of breast cancer and stroke so women already at risk need to use it with care.

Bio-identical hormones

These are made in a lab from yam and soya, and are identical in structure to the ones made by the body. However, there is no evidence that these are any “safer” than other types of HRT.

Alternative therapies

Grapeseed and black cohosh supplements may help with hot flushes in the short-term (no more than six months).

Agnus Castus, another herbal medicinal product, can also help perimenopausal women troubled by mood swings or PMS.

Only buy MHRA-registered products (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

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