What to expect
Flushes and the sweats: These are the most well-known – they affect about 75 per cent of women and of that group a third to a quarter have severe symptoms (10 or more flushes over 24 hours, with the need to remove clothes, nightwear and bedding). Muscle and joint aches: Dr Fenton says these are just as common as flushing and sweating, particularly for women of Chinese ethnicity. This can include stiff joints – especially the small joints in the hands and the wrists – and muscle and ligament aches in the feet. Mood issues: From feeling low, to being more anxious, to feeling irritable. Cognitive changes: Women describe feeling woolly in the brain, not being able to concentrate, and having trouble finding words or remembering names. Fatigue: This is often attributed to menopause-related sleep issues. Urinary and genital issues: Vaginal dryness, bladder infections, loss of libido, changes in arousal.
Complementary therapies: Hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, diet and exercise. Prescription therapies: MHT (Menopause Hormone Therapy) Other prescription therapies used to control hot flushes include: Oxybutynin – traditionally used to control irritable bladders. Some antidepressants – the SSRI family in particular. Gabapentin – medication traditionally used for nerve pain.