Reaching the menopause is a natural part of ageing for women.  It’s estimated that 13 million women in the UK are going through the menopause today.

For the majority of women, the menopause will naturally happen between 45 and 55 years of age. The average in the UK is 51 years, but around 1 in 100 women will reach the menopause early and experience it before their 40th birthday.

Whenever the menopause starts, there are steps that you can take to manage any related symptoms.

Our Public Health team have put together five small changes that you can make that may relieve your symptoms and improve your health and well-being:

  1. Exercise – regular exercise can work wonders. Just ten minutes of the right activities each day can reduce your risk of developing poor health by lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. Exercise can also have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing and there’s some evidence that it can help ease menopausal symptoms. Try Active10, accessible sport and accessible exercise.
  2. Enjoy more good food – maintaining a healthy weight is important but small steps and changes can have a big impact. Try to avoid potential triggers such as caffeine and alcohol. Make sure you are eating more of the foods that are good for you and you will start to feel wider benefits. Try the OneYou and Easy Meals apps for more ideas on how to get started.
  3. Lower your stress levels –  we could all benefit from taking a little more time out of our day to take care if our own wellbeing. This is particularly important when we experience a physical change. Spending time in Derby’s parks and open spaces is a great way to help you stay positive. Try the NHS Mood Self-Assessment tool and ten stress boosting tips.
  4. Practice mindfulness – there is some evidence that mindfulness can help reduce the impact that the menopause has on mood. Trying something new is just one way to introduce new feelings of wellbeing. Check out What’s On in Derby and VisitDerby for more ideas.
  5. Smoke less – whether you cut down or stop altogether you will feel the benefits for your health. NHS Smokefree provides free resources to help you make the right decision for you.

The menopause is caused by a natural decline in the level of the hormone, oestrogen. Oestrogen plays an important part in a woman’s monthly period and her ability to fall pregnant naturally. Over time your periods may start to happen less often before stopping altogether. It’s not unusual for periods to stop suddenly. It’s important that you make an appointment with your GP to rule out other reasons for a missed or stopped period.

Starting the menopause means that you will no longer be able to fall pregnant naturally. But it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t start or add to your family.  Fostering and adoption are just two options that are open to you.

Parents and care givers that have adopted or fostered a child may be entitled to financial support and paid leave from work.

If you are going through the menopause there’s a lot of information, advice and support available.  For example:

  • NHS provides a broad range of information and advice
  • Healthtalk provides advice from other women who have experienced the menopause
  • Daisy Network offers tailored advice if you are experiencing an early menopause
  • At work you may wish to speak to your Line Manager, the Occupational Health team, HR and/or your Union Representative