Dr Nalishebo Elliott is an advocate for women’s health and wellbeing. She is also a Registered Nurse by profession and is currently the Director of Clinical Services at a BMI private hospital. Nalishebo was a former Miss World Australia in 1999. She is passionate about seeing women reach their full potential in all stages of their lifecycle.
Preparing for Menopause
Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s journey. Every woman will transition through menopause at some point in their life, and we must accept that it is a normal developmental stage for all women. However, some women go through menopause early. It can result from surgery, such as removing a woman’s ovaries through a hysterectomy or inherent damage to their ovaries through chemotherapy. If it happens before age 40, it is called premature menopause.
As a woman in my mid 40’s, I am preparing my mind, body and soul by researching how best I can incorporate the experience of a nurturing, caring and comfortable lifestyle brand for me to achieve optimum health and wellbeing as part of enhancing my feminity. We must be preparing ourselves for what is inevitably ahead. If you are living through menopause right now, find ways to add value to your physical, mental, and social health and wellbeing.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility. It happens when your ovaries no longer make oestrogen and progesterone, two hormones needed for fertility. Menopause is diagnosed by a Medical Doctor when your periods have stopped for one year.
Stages of Menopause
There are three stages of menopause, and this journey happens slowly over time.
1. Peri-menopause: This stage can take longer than six months and may last between 2 to 6 years, but everyone is different. This is the start of change – the body is preparing itself for menopause; a woman may have a shorter or longer cycle or a lighter or heavier period. Your period will indeed become irregular but will not stop. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Use our full range of TEMPLESPA body products and our skin care range to ensure you feel great, invigorated and alive during this stage.
2. Menopause: This is when you will have your final menstrual period. A medical doctor will determine if you have reached menopause when you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months.
3. Post-menopause: This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Every woman is different, and this stage may continue for four to five years. The body will then begin to settle down – although the symptoms of menopause lessen, it is imperative to keep up with a good skincare regime, relaxation techniques and positive thinking. Most of the studies suggested that in addition to age, in postmenopausal women, immune system changes have been attributed to oestrogen deprivation. There will be a further discussion on oestrogen in the section on menopause and caring for your skin.
Symptoms of Menopause:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Cold flashes
- Vaginal changes
- Emotional changes like mood swings and irritability
- Trouble sleeping
- Cognitive changes (difficulty remembering names, directions, losing focus/ train of thought)
Menopause and Caring for your Skin
Oestrogen plays a significant role in maintaining physiological functions in the human body. Studies (Lephart and Naftolin, 2021) reveal that this oestrogen-deficient condition is associated with a dramatic reduction in skin health and wellness by negatively impacting dermal cellular and homeostatic mechanisms and other critical biological functions. The changes include loss of collagen, elastin, fibroblast function, vascularity, and increased matrix metalloproteinase(s) enzymatic activities, resulting in cellular and extracellular degradation that leads to dryness, wrinkles, atrophy, impaired wound healing/barrier function, decreased antioxidant capacity decreased attractiveness and psychological health, and increased perception of aging. Thus, if your body stops making as much collagen during menopause, you will lose some fat under your skin, and your skin’s elasticity drops, as mentioned. That, combined with dryness caused by hormonal changes, can cause sagging, especially around the neck, jawline and cheeks, and fine lines and wrinkles may appear. Therefore, women with oestrogen-deficient skin seek cosmetic and medical treatments to improve dermal health and physical characteristics to enhance self-perception and inhibit skin ageing, particularly in prominent body areas.
Caring for your skin is particularly important when menopause symptoms arise because, as mentioned, less oestrogen makes you more prone to thinning, sagging and wrinkling. Some women experience acne during menopause. Fortunately, you can relieve some of the skin-related effects of ageing by caring for your specific skincare needs. Enter TEMPLESPA.
Cleanser - At every stage of life, cleansing is an important skincare step; however, as you get older and your skin gets drier, your skin can benefit from extra moisture. The key is using a cleanser that’s right for more dehydrated skin. So, opt for our creamy formula that hydrates and is not a product which can strip moisture away.
Hydrate – after menopause, your skin gets drier because oil glands aren’t as active. Try our heavier creams such as DOUBLE CREAM Hydrating Moisturiser to give skin more moisture and help boost hydration.
Moisturise – wrinkles may be more obvious when your skin is dry. Use moisturisers on your face, jawline and neck every day and look to TEMPLESPA to help fight fine lines and sagging that lead to a brighter appearance overall.
SPF – skin may have less natural protection than when you were younger. So, use our TEMPLESPA LIFE DEFENCE broad-spectrum SPF 30 moisturiser and wear it every day.
Menopause and Nurturing Restfulness
It is essential to keep active during menopause, exercise and maintain a healthy balanced, and nutritious diet, as your hormones change a lot during menopause which gives you night sweats and hot flushes. As your oestrogen levels fall, you’ll notice hot flushes. This sudden feeling of warmth spreads over your upper body, often with blushing and sweating. These flushes can range from mild in most women to severe in others. Drink cold water and dress lightly and in layers to help with hot flushes and night sweats. These symptoms can keep you up at night and leave you tired throughout the day.
Restless leg syndrome does affect some women undergoing menopause. This is due to low oestrogen, which can affect your circulation, or you can develop swollen ankles or swollen feet. We have our AAAHHH! Instant Cooling Balm that can help soothe your tired legs while making you feel invigorated before a night’s sleep. We also have massage oils that help to relax your body in order to nurture restfulness.
Menopause and Treatment Options
Your General Practitioner (GP) can provide the best support for treatment options; however, please find a brief description of what is available:
- Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) is a medication your GP can prescribe if this is suitable for you, to replace the hormones your body is not making anymore.
- Topical hormone therapy. This is an oestrogen cream that you insert into your vagina to help with dryness.
- Non-hormone medications to help treat hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
- Medications for osteoporosis - vitamin D supplements are beneficial in combination with Zinc and vitamin C.
Menopause and Wellness
Studies (Vivian-Taylor and Hickey, 2014) have demonstrated an association between the menopause transition (MT) and increased depressive symptoms. Irritability and feelings of sadness are the most common emotional symptoms of menopause. Please seek support from your GP in the first instance.
Some helpful lifestyle approaches in finding ways to relax and reduce stress may contribute positively to your health and wellness. For example try our Wellness Corner with our exclusive relaxation albums, calming techniques and meditation tips.
Some suggested helpful tips:
- Get the focus off your flaws and onto what you like about yourself.
- Immerse yourself in positive pursuits that allow you to grow.
- Expand your social or spiritual life to replace inward, self-critical habits.
- Laughter is an effective tool; use it and make a joke of a hot flush.
- Menopause is a marathon, not a sprint, so handle this stage with self-control and patience while finding support groups online to discuss your experiences. Of course, the symptoms each woman experiences will be different to each other but the more we continue to share about this normal process in a women's lifecycle, the more we will become accommodating of each other.
Lephart, E.D. A review of the role of oestrogen in dermal ageing and facial attractiveness in women. J Cosmet Dermatol. (17: 282-8).
Lephart, E.D., Naftolin, F. Menopause and the Skin: Old Favourites and New Innovations in Cosmeceuticals for Oestrogen-Deficient Skin. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 11, 53–69 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-020-00468-7.
Stoppard, M. (2001). Menopause: the complete guide to maintaining health and wellbeing and managing your life. Revised Edition. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Vivian-Taylor, J. and Hickey, M. (2014) Menopause and depression: Is there a link? Maturitas, Vol 79:2.