Symptoms commonly reported around the time of menopause include hot flashes and night sweats, bodily aches and pains, dry skin, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, urinary frequency, and sleeping difficulties.
If you are above 45 and having symptoms of menopause which do not affect your daily life, you do not have to consult a doctor. However, if the symptoms are affecting your quality of life, for example the hot flashes prevents you from getting good sleep or you are feeling sad and are losing interest in things or find difficulty coping with family life or work you should see a doctor.
However, you should see a doctor if your period bleed is more often than once in 3 weeks, you have heavy period flow or you have spotting between your periods. If you have undergone menopause with no bleeding for 12 months and then start bleeding again (even if very little) you should see a doctor.
Being informed about what may happen during the menopause transition is a very good starting point.
Pay attention to your health, including quitting smoking, eating well, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating some relaxation techniques.
Self management strategies for management of hot flashes include carrying a fan, dressing in layers, and having a cool drink. Facial water sprays can also be helpful. Avoiding spicy foods, red meats, caffeine and alcohol will also reduce flushing.
Some women may find relief from menopausal symptoms with herbal or alternative remedies. However most have not been studied or shown to be of benefit scientifically and some, like black cohosh, have been occasionally linked to liver damage. It is not recommended that these treatments are taken for longer than 6 months.
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