There’s more to menopause than the end of menstrual cycles, it’s accompanied by a whole range of associated physical symptoms that can be hard to cope with.
What to expect?
Physical Symptoms: Inside and out
Signs and symptoms of menopause vary for each individual but classic signs include irregular cycles and their end, hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, breast tenderness, worsened mood swings and PMT, a low sex drive, fatigue, vaginal dryness and/or discomfort during sex, urinary problems and insomnia.
In terms of outward physical changes women also notice a loss of radiance in their skin tone, sagging skin and loss of firm contours around the face, thinner skin and lacklustre or thinning hair. Many women also struggle with weight fluctuations and redistribution.
To know for sure, take a blood test checking hormone levels.
There is also a psychological impact that can’t be ignored. At around the age of fifty, as many as three out of four women may be depressed, compared to one in four men. Signs of depression and a certain amount of irritability can often appear during peri-menopause.
Women often say they feel uncomfortable in their own skins, are prone to brooding, have lost interest in things and feel under-valued. No scientific correlation has been established between the decline in oestrogens and depression, anxiety or irritability. The hormonal changes seem to amplify an existing sense of unease.
How to feel good: The quest for happiness
We all want to be happy, don’t we? However some are happy, some less so. But happy people are not necessarily those whose lives are outwardly the easiest; happy people are those who know how to create their own happiness and who don’t expect it to come from external factors. The real secret to happiness? You don't “find” happiness, you make your own.
A glass half full approach
Instead of looking at the downsides, try changing the way you look at yourself and use this period as an opportunity for a new start, letting happiness in.
Take example of the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, approaching life, without brooding or having negative thoughts, being calm and positive whatever happens.
Our mental existence has a huge impact on our physical existence. And being happy shows. It’s a virtuous circle, a win-win situation. When people are happy, their faces are radiant, their lines smoothed, their posture improved and they look less beaten by life. They look younger and trigger a positive response from others.
Happiness breeds happiness.