So I’m over 40, what now? 

The symptoms of menopause can have a slow and gradual or a sudden onse t with most women going through menopause in their 40s or 50s. But that can vary wide ly. Some women may go through “the change ” earlier if they’ve had surgery to remove their uterus or ovaries or are having certain tre atments for cancer. 

You may start to notice change s months or years before you are in menopause. You may have hot flashe s and irregular periods. This time is called perimenopause. You won’t know exactly when your menopause will hit so all you can do is pay attention to how you’re feeling and notice changes. Keep in mind that symptoms vary greatly from woman to woman, with some very lucky ones experiencing no symptoms at all. 

Signs you are in menopause

• Periods that become less and less regular

A blessing to most women, this time might see your periods becoming shorter or longer, lighter or heavier. 

• Hot flushes and night sweats

Hot flushes and night sweats can vary a lot from woman to w oman and can last 1 minute or 5 minutes. They can be mild or severe. You can have several an hour, one a week, or never have them. 

• Trouble sleeping

If you don’ t usually struggle to sleep, your insomnia could be caused by menopause. 

• Mood swings

Lots of things can affe ct your mood, and that includes the change in hormone levels th at happens around menopause. If you’ve had anxiety or depression in the past, your symptoms may worsen during menopause. 

• Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness can be caused not only by menopause but also by stress. If you’ re worried that you’re forgetting too much, let your doctor know. 

• Your libido changes

Some women say it goes up, others say it goes down. 

• Body changes

You may find your skin and hair becoming drier and your wei ght increasing a bit. You may even have stiff joints or joints that hurt. 

Dealing with menopause

As with most things in life, you will get a lot more out of the experience if you approach it with a positive attitude and a little humour. After all, now you have something to blame for your bad mood, your lapses in memory and that e xtra croissant you ate last week. For all other problems talk to your doctor, the re is much he can do to help. If you find your symptoms persist, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be a worthwhile consideration. Regardless, take this new challenge in your stride, after all, you’ve been a super woman most of your life already.