Navigating the menopause: Your guide to a smooth transition

Written by: Dr Nina Wilson
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

The menopause can bring about various changes, both physical and emotional. We invited esteemed menopause specialist and GP Dr Nina Wilson to share her expert insight on what to expect from the perimenopause and menopause, including what types of changes to expect and the types of support available.

What is menopause?

Menopause refers to the cessation of your menstrual cycles for at least 12 consecutive months. This transition typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can vary from woman to woman. Your ovaries produce fewer hormones – primarily oestrogen and progesterone – which regulate your periods and fertility.

The perimenopausal phase: Navigating change

Before menopause, you'll experience a phase known as perimenopause. During this time, hormonal fluctuations can lead to irregular periods, mood swings, and other symptoms. You might notice hot flushes, night sweats, and even changes in sleep patterns. While these shifts can be unsettling, they are part of the journey.

How can I manage the symptoms of menopause?

There are a number of strategies to manage menopause symptoms effectively. Lifestyle adjustments, such as a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, along with regular exercise, can greatly improve your wellbeing. For those facing sleep disturbances, establishing a calming bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment can make a significant difference.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT involves taking medications that contain hormones your body is producing less of. This treatment can alleviate many menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. It's important to consult your healthcare provider before considering HRT, as it might not be suitable for everyone.

Caring for your emotional wellbeing

Menopause can also affect your emotions and mental health. Fluctuating hormone levels might lead to mood swings, irritability, or anxiety. Engaging in relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or mindfulness can help manage stress and improve your overall emotional well-being.

Maintaining bone health

Oestrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density. As oestrogen levels decline during menopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases. Incorporating weight-bearing exercises, along with sufficient calcium and vitamin D intake, can support your bone health and reduce this risk.

Seeking support

Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to share experiences and gain insights from others who have walked a similar path. Your healthcare provider is also a vital source of information and guidance.

Embracing the change

As you embark on this new phase of life, remember that menopause is a natural transition, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. By understanding the changes happening within your body and seeking the right support, you can navigate menopause with grace and confidence.

If you think you could benefit from specialist guidance through the menopause, schedule a consultation with Dr Wilson today by visiting her Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Nina Wilson
GP (general practitioner)

Dr Nina Wilson is a distinguished menopause specialist based in Sussex, and founder of the busy women's health clinic One Woman Health. She is renowned for her expertise in menopause-related care, including perimenopause management, body identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and the management of premature ovarian insufficiency. Committed to enhancing women's health, she has an interest in optimising health as we age. She also provides health screening, wellness promotion, and comprehensive health planning via her 'Whole Woman' health package.

Dr Wilson is accredited to the highest level by the British Menopause Society, holding the advanced certificate. She also holds membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She is an experienced speaker and teacher, regularly hosting educational sessions for businesses, profesional colleagues and the public. She also teaches the menopause specialism on the Faculty of Reproductive and Sexual Medicine’s diploma course. Nina has been featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s hour and is a regular contributor to media.

She was awarded an MA with honours in physiological sciences from the University of Oxford in 2002, before going on to qualify in medicine from the University of Cambridge in 2008. Alongside clinical practice, she has held a variety of senior leadership roles in the NHS and private sector. She was formerly clinical advisor to NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson, special advisor to the healthcare regulator (CQC) and head of clinical standards in AI and artificial intelligence for NHS England. She was chief medical officer for Livi, Europe’s largest online healthcare provider, the first digital service to be rated outstanding by CQC.

Nina left her corporate roles to establish One Woman Health, determined to give women’s health the time and attention it deserves. Working to shape a path towards greater equality, she provides in-workplace training in corporate settings, using her specialist medical expertise to dispel common misconceptions about the menopause and educate people on how they can best support their peers through this phase of life. She campaigns for greater awareness around female-specific factors that impact health outcomes and advances in the way we see this phase of life in society. Dr Wilson offers in-person consultations and e-consultations for women all around the country, which can be scheduled through One Woman Health.

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