COPING WITH PROBLEMS OF THE MENOPAUSE

Emotional problems

Apart from the general measures outlined, such as keeping your interests going or taking up new ones and planning to do things together after the family has gone, simple measures should be tried first.

Some people take up yoga, others benefit from relaxation or exercise programmes. Group therapy helps others. Simply knowing that other women are going through this stage and have similar problems seems to help. Of course a good night’s sleep is essential, and if this is disturbed by flushes and sweats these must be treated. Hormones settle many, and these women describe a general feeling of well-being and ability to cope. This has been confirmed by scientific studies.Only after all these measures have been tried should tranquillisers and antidepressants be used.

Insomnia

Apart from hot flushes and sweats, some women have an altered sleep pattern due to the action of the hypothalamus. Of course if you are depressed this can also affect sleep patterns. Some women find it hard to get to sleep, others wake in the middle of the night. Too many women worry if they do not sleep through the night as they did in their youth, when they are not active enough during the day to warrant it. It is also important not to rush to the drug cupboard, as a few nights’ sleep disturbance will not hurt you. It is important to realise that this is usually only a temporary thing with the hormonal changes that are occurring, and it will settle. Simple measures as usual are the best. Hot milk, a brandy (one), relaxation, reading, etc. Oestrogen replacement almost always relieves insomnia when it first appears at the menopause by calming down the higher centres in the brain. This can be used if the insomnia persists after simple measures have been tried.

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