Menopause affects every woman, and what’s more, it affects every woman differently. The transition can be simple enough, but for some women it’s tough, with uncomfortable symptoms and changes threatening to last for years.

Menopause affects every woman, and what’s more, it affects every woman differently. The transition can be simple enough, but for some women it’s tough, with uncomfortable symptoms and changes threatening to last for years.

What is menopause?

The menopause is the name for the changes that women go through as they stop having periods. Periods can become less frequent over some months or years before they stop altogether, at which point women stop being able to get pregnant naturally.

It’s a natural part of ageing, and not something you should be worried about. Because it happens to every woman, you should be able to ask anyone older for help and advice if you’re approaching that time. Enter experienced friends and relatives!

When does menopause start?

Menopause usually kicks off when women are between 45 and 55 years old, which is the age that oestrogen levels start to decline. The UK average age for menopause is 51, though it’s not unheard of for women to experience their menopause earlier, with around one per cent of women seeing the first symptoms before they reach the age of 40. This is known as premature menopause because it’s earlier than expected.

What happens during menopause?

If you’re wondering what the early signs of menopause are, and what will happen throughout your transition, you might be disappointed. Because every woman’s menopause is different, it’s impossible to predict what exactly it’s going to be like for you.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of menopause:

• Hot flushes
• Night sweats
• Vaginal dryness
• Sleeplessness
• Irritated skin
• Reduction of skin elasticity
• Low mood
• Anxiety
• Reduced sex drive
• Lack of concentration
• Memory problems

The menopause is a personal experience for every woman, not just a medical condition. Once your menopause is over, you won’t be able to get pregnant naturally anymore. This can be upsetting for some women, while others have more problems with the symptoms and effects on the body.

How long does menopause last?

Menopause symptoms can start months or years before your period ends, which means you’ll need to endure them for the whole transition time, and for up to four years after your last period. Some women’s menopause lasts for much longer, and it can also happen more quickly.

Making the menopause easier at home

Hopefully, all this talk of hot flushes and vaginal dryness hasn’t got you too worried. As we keep saying, menopause is perfectly normal, and all women over a certain age must go through it.

There are, however, some things you can do at home to help make your menopause as easy and fuss-free as possible and to keep yourself feeling good while the transition takes place.

Eat well throughout the menopause

Maintaining a healthy weight and eating well to stay strong and nourished can help improve some of the symptoms of menopause. For example, avoiding stimulants like coffee and spicy foods can help to reduce hot flushes, while avoiding sugary foods can help to increase your energy levels throughout the day and let you sleep better at night.

Exercise to ease symptoms

Keep your body working at its best by exercising and stretching throughout your menopause. Regular exercise can help you stay on top of mood swings and anxiety. Try to find workouts that you enjoy so you’re more likely to keep it up.

Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption

Smoking doesn’t help with any health condition, and menopause is no different. Smoking has been linked to early menopause, with heavy smokers experiencing symptoms one to two years earlier than non-smokers on average.

Alcohol can also influence menopause symptoms, and while we aren’t suggesting you stop drinking altogether, you should try to cut back your intake in favour of your health and wellbeing.

Try to stay positive!

Easier said than done, we know. The menopause leads to a hormone imbalance which can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. If you feel yourself heading that way, try to introduce relaxation techniques into your routine, and don’t feel bad about making time for yourself. It might also help to seek counselling.

Treatments for the symptoms of menopause

If your menopausal symptoms are causing you trouble, visit your doctor to discuss your options. There are several treatments that you can go for if you have severe symptoms that are getting in the way of your day-to-day.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT can include taking tablets, using skin patches and gels, or receiving implants that replace oestrogen, which is lost during the menopause.

Vaginal oestrogen creams or moisturisers

Vaginal dryness can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Using a vaginal oestrogen cream, lubricant, or moisturiser can help to relieve symptoms day-to-day and can also make having sex more comfortable and enjoyable.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that can help with mood and anxiety and involves talking things through with a therapist to change the way you think, react, and behave.

Menopause and skincare

Our skin changes throughout our lives, and just like you’ll require a different type of care when you’re 30 than you did when you were 13, you’ll need to switch up your routine when the menopause hits.

The menopause can have a big impact on your skin, and one of the most common problems that women face is increased dryness. Drier skin is the result of your body’s oestrogen drop, which reduces skin’s ability to hold moisture, leading to a dry complexion.

Menopause and itchy skin

Many women experience itchy skin throughout their menopause, which is caused by pesky hormonal changes. The problem should ease up by itself over time, but to help alleviate the itching you can hold something cool on your skin or take cool showers and wear loose cotton clothing that lets your skin breathe.

The best skin care for menopause

To keep your skin looking plump and youthful throughout the menopause, choose the best anti-ageing moisturising products and apply them as part of a regular routine.

Here are some of the best skincare products for menopause:

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream
Dermalogica AGE Smart Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50
Dermalogica AGE Smart Super Rich Repair
Guinot Age Logic Cellulaire Youth Renewing Skin Cream
REN Clean Skincare Firming & Smoothing Serum
Retinol Facial Oil
Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Moisturising Cream
Thalgo Hyaluronic Filler
Thalgo Hyaluronic Cream
Natio Ageless Organic Rosehip Oil

Look out for products with intense moisturising properties and ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and can help keep menopausal skin plump and hydrated.

Menopause and haircare

It can be worrying to think about menopause changing the condition and thickness of your hair, but unfortunately, hair loss is a common symptom of the transition.

Menopause and hair loss

Menopause can cause the condition and thickness of the hair to worsen as hormone levels change. Is there anything you can do to protect hair from the menopause? You might want to start by switching up the products you use to some which have been formulated for ageing hair.

If you’re noticing your hair is thinning, you might want to try reducing the amount of heat you use on it to help maintain the healthiest condition possible. Comb through your hair while it has conditioner in, and try to avoid brushing wet hair when you get out of the bath or shower, as this can cause increased breakage.

The best shampoo for menopausal hair

The best shampoos for menopausal hair include:

Foltene Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Jason Thin to Thick Extra Volume Shampoo
Biolage Full Density Shampoo
L’Oreal Elvive Thickening Shampoo
Biolage Full Density Shampoo

Switch one of these thickening shampoos into your weekly routine and see if you notice any improvement in the feel of your hair!

The best conditioner for menopausal hair

So, you’ve changed your shampoo to treat your menopausal hair better. It makes sense to swap out your conditioner for a thickening option while you’re at it to try and get the most out of your locks.

NOTE: If your shampoo offers a partner conditioner, use that to compliment the ingredients and get more from your product.

Here are our favourite thickening conditioners for menopausal hair:

Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner
Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner
La Brasiliana Due Keratin and Collagen Conditioner
Biolage Volumebloom Conditioner
Tresemme 24 Hour Body Conditioner

Using a thickening conditioner can work wonders on the appearance of your hair, and help you feel like it’s fuller and more voluminous throughout your menopause.

For more of our health and beauty guides, keep exploring the Fragrance Direct blog. You can discover our favourite brands, including Organic Pharmacy, Dermalogica, and Natura, and learn more about skin and hair conditions and how to treat them. Browse our blog and tackle any skincare or beauty problem with ease.