Whether you were, or happily still are, close to your mum, you probably have spent many hours and drank many cups of coffee discussing every topic under the sun. It is, however, unlikely that you have discussed the menopause, certainly not to any level of great detail. Therefore, with this in mind, here are six things your mum never told you about the menopause.
1.Your Skin May Become Dryer
One of the lesser-known signs and symptoms of the menopause, and usually one of the first noticeable changes, is when the skin on your arms, legs, and face becomes decidedly dryer than it was before. Essentially, this is due to the collagen levels in your body dropping significantly in tandem with a decrease in your oestrogen levels, which leads to an inability to hold a high level of moisture in the skin.
2.Your Hair May Become Thinner
Numerous studies into women who are experiencing the menopause have conclusively found that a common after-effect is that they tend to experience hair loss and hair thinning.
Generally, this is thought to be due to the deficiency of hormones, more specifically relating to the level of progesterone production and a reduction in the levels of oestrogen in the body. If you are experiencing hair thinning and even losing some of your hair, then the following tips may well help to combat this:
- Follow a simple Mediterranean diet
- Look into having low-light laser therapy on your scalp
- Invest in renowned hair loss medication
- Use anti-thinning hair shampoo and conditioner
- Start taking multi-vitamins
- Avoiding drugs, smoking, and excess alcohol
3.Your Sleep Patterns May Become Disturbed
Although the ability to sleep right through the night is not directly affected by the onset of the menopause, other symptoms, in particular hot flushes, will make it more difficult to fall asleep in the first place.
If this only occurs sporadically, you are unlikely to feel any drastic knock-on effects, but if you do find that your sleep is severely affected for more than a couple of nights, it is advisable to contact a nurse or doctor. If you can’t get hold of your GP, then do not just let the problem get worse. Instead, reach out to TapGP and book an online appointment to ensure you get the help you need.
4. Your Bones May Become Weaker
Fortunately, this next potential side effect of the menopause does certainly not occur in all women. However, in some cases, the bones, particularly in the arms and legs, lose density and mass and become more brittle. As an approximation, around half of women who are going through the menopause experience this change in bone density, with the other half never experiencing it.
Osteoporosis is, therefore, often one of the biggest problems both during the menopause itself and afterwards, so eating and drinking more calcium is absolutely essential.
5. Your Cholesterol Level May Rise
Another less likely but certainly usual side-effect of the menopause is that the general levels of cholesterol in the body may rise, even if the individual is careful what they eat and are aware of the damage too much fat can do.
To combat this, there are thankfully plenty of effective ways to reduce your cholesterol levels, including, but certainly not limited to, the following:
- Eat more monosaturated fats such as avocado, olives, and nuts
- Eat more soluble fibre such as fruits, Brussels sprouts, and oat cereals
- Keep your weight within a healthy BMI range
- Consume less alcohol and stop smoking
- Consider vitamin supplements such as fish oil and iron tablets
6. Your Memory May Start Becoming Affected Too
Finally, when it comes to the menopause, many women experience issues with concentration, focus, and even with their memory.
For women in their forties and fifties who are going through the menopause, which is the average age for the change, night sweats are the most commonly reported side effect, but when it comes to memory issues, far fewer women have reported such symptoms.
If you are experiencing this, you should start to engage in specific memory-based exercises, such as investing in brain exercise books and searching online for applications that are designed to sharpen your cognitive skills. Alternatively, HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is certainly an option, with HRT not only being reportedly effective in increasing the levels of focus and concentration in those menopausal women who take it but also effective in reducing the severity of hot flushes.
Often referred to as ’brain fog’, memory issues caused by the menopause are entirely normal, but it is obviously important to contact your doctor if you find that such memory problems are starting to negatively impact your day-to-day life.