WHAT IS MENOPAUSE?
Here at Boots, we are on a mission to normalise the menopause. We want to be there to support you through your journey; from perimenopause to when you are post-menopausal.
The menopause is a natural process which women go through as they get older however, in some cases, is medically induced. As oestrogen levels start to drop, periods become less frequent and eventually stop altogether. For some, their periods stop quickly, but for others, it can take a few months or a few years. Everyone is different.
Menopause signs and symptoms are different for everyone and usually begin between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age in the UK being 51. Whilst some choose to seek treatment plans from their GP, others will look for other solutions to help manage signs & symptoms.
GENERALLY FROM AGES 13-40
GENERALLY FROM AGES 45-50+
GENERALLY FROM AGES 65-80+
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS & ADVICE
In the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), you might experience some signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms of the menopause can sometimes feel overwhelming and hard to deal with, but don’t worry, there are often ways to manage them. If your signs and symptoms are interfering with your daily life, speak to your GP for advice.
Hot flushes, night sweats and sometimes feeling cold are among the most common signs and symptoms of menopause. For in-the-moment relief, you could use Megs Menopause Rosey Rain Facial Cooling Spray or No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Cooling Mist.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment that helps relieve the symptoms of menopause, like hot flushes and mood swings. It is available in different formats, like tablets and skin patches. Your GP will discuss the types of treatment and any associated risks with you to help you decide whether HRT is suitable for you. Alternatively, you could consider accessing the Boots Online Doctor Menopause & HRT Treatment Service* via Boots Online Doctor.
Many experience changes in their digestion and body shape during menopause. It’s normal to gain a few more pounds, especially around the middle. There are several factors associated with weight gain during menopause including hormone changes, lifestyle factors and ageing factors, which can include the loss of muscle mass.
Trying to eat a balanced diet full of healthy, nutritious foods and being active are great ways to help you feel good. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and drinking plenty of water can help. Ensuring you have enough calcium is necessary for maintaining bone density. Vitamin D is essential for all-round good health as it enables the body to absorb calcium. The menopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis and we recommend you seek the advice of your GP if you have any specific concerns about loss of bone density. If you are struggling with movement as a result of your menopause signs and symptoms, trying some physiotherapy may provide some tools to help you exercise in a way that is right for you. If you think virtual physiotherapy is for you, you can access it through our Health Hub. This service is provided by PhysioFast Online** and the online clinic is available from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. If you have gained weight and feel you need extra help with weight loss, you can access our Boots Online Doctor Weight Loss Service* where you can get support and, if appropriate, treatment for your weight loss.
Wind, bloating and changes to your digestive system may be a sign or symptom of the menopause. Any new signs or symptoms, such as a change in bowel movement, bloating, blood in your poo and/or worsening of existing signs and symptoms, means it’s time to talk to a Boots pharmacist or your GP for advice. If you have ruled out any other causes for wind and bloating, you might want to consider Boots Wind Relief Tablets. Alternatively, Boots Synbiotics Pre & Pro Gut Blend Menopause - 30 Capsules could be an option to assist you with managing your gut health.
Falling levels of oestrogen can mean more muscular aches and pains. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and drinking plenty of water can help. Ensuring you have enough calcium is necessary for maintaining bone density. Vitamin D is essential for all-around good health as it enables the body to absorb calcium.
Menopause can affect your joints, so you may want to consider taking a supplement to support your joint health, like Boots Joint Assure Plus or Seven Seas Joint Care. Boots Joint Assure Plus and Seven Seas Joint Care contain vitamin C which supports normal collagen formation, for healthy cartilage function. Plus, vitamin D which helps maintain healthy bones and muscles.
To ease muscle tension, try a relaxing bath using Radox Mineral Therapy Feel Relaxed Bath Soak or a massage. Physiotherapy advice and support is also available through the PhysioFast Online** physiotherapy clinic. The menopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis and we recommend you seek the advice of your GP if you have any specific concerns about loss of bone density.
Vaginal dryness, itching and irritation, along with period changes, are all common signs and symptoms of menopause. Vaginal tissue is kept well-lubricated and stretchy by oestrogen. But, as levels of this hormone fall during menopause, tissues can become delicate and dry. Using a vaginal moisturiser or lubricant, such as Boots Vaginal Moisturiser, may help to soothe and moisturise the vagina and keep it supple. Boots Online Doctor can also provide expert, confidential advice and Vaginal Dryness Treatment*, if appropriate, to relieve menopause-related vaginal dryness symptoms. Gina 10 Micrograms Vaginal Tablets (HRT) is available to purchase from selected Boots pharmacies or via boots.com.
It’s common to experience bladder signs and symptoms, such as bladder weakness and urinary tract infections (UTIs), during the menopause. You can benefit from pelvic floor exercises, which help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and may help with stress incontinence or bladder weakness associated with the perimenopause and menopause. There are a range of products, services and training videos that can help with this. Elvie Smart Pelvic Floor Trainer helps users by detecting incorrect contractions and helping to improve technique by guiding you through each exercise.
If you do wish to have some protection for bladder leaks, try Boots Staydry Pants or TENA Silhouette High Waist Incontinence Pants. Alternatively, pelvic health physiotherapy may help. Speak to your GP or consider accessing support through the Boots Health Hub with provider PhysioFast Online.**
If you get occasional UTIs, to manage your short-term signs and symptoms (up to 48 hours), you can take paracetamol if suitable for you, to help reduce the pain. Ensure you drink lots of water and avoid having sex. You must seek medical advice if your signs and symptoms do not get better. You can either contact your GP or may be eligible for Cystitis Treatment through Boots Online Doctor.*
If you find you are getting reoccurring UTIs, we recommend you talking to your GP. Alternatively, you could consider accessing Livi GP.**
Some women experience changes to the sensation of their skin during menopause:
- Your skin may feel itchy, crawly or dry.
- Skin nerve function is affected by the changes to oestrogen levels in your body that happen during menopause.
- The collagen in the skin changes as we age, meaning your skin can lose its elasticity.
For dry skin, consider using a hydrating moisturiser such as Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion for the body or No7 Menopause Skincare Protect and Hydrate Day Cream for the face. If you have a diagnosis of eczema, you may find that these signs and symptoms flare up during menopause. It's important to speak to a GP for advice - either your own GP or Livi GP** via the Boots Health Hub. Alternatively, you can access advice and treatment options via the Boots Online Doctor Eczema Treatment Service.*
If you experience hormonal acne, you may wish to use a topical treatment, such as Acnecide Face 5% w/w Gel. If you have mild or moderate acne, you can access our Boots Online Doctor Acne Treatment Service* for advice, and if appropriate prescription treatment. Products such as Boots Skin Edit Blemish Serum 30ml or No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum, which is dermatologist-approved for menopausal skin, can help to improve the appearance of your skin. You can always speak to one of our pharmacists in-store who are able to support you with expert, confidential advice.
During the menopause, you may notice changes to your breasts. This can include sagging, breasts shrinking slightly and there may be increased tenderness. Breast tenderness is more common during perimenopause and is usually caused by the fluctuation of oestrogen. Investing in a good quality bra with the correct fit and size may help. If it's suitable for you, anti-inflammatory pain relief, such as ibuprofen, may help with breast tenderness.
Checking your breasts regularly will help you know what is normal for you and help you identify any changes. You should look for any changes in your skin texture, including dimpling, any thickening of the tissue or lumps, discharge from your nipple or any physical changes to the area. It might be normal to experience some changes, for example, if you are taking hormone medication, but you must always speak to your GP if you notice any changes.
There are many reasons why getting a good night's sleep can be a challenge during perimenopause and menopause. One reason you may struggle, is if you are suffering from hot flushes or night sweats, which can make sleep uncomfortable. Botanics Pillow Mist Lavender & Sweet Marjoram, when used as part of a bedtime routine, may help to relax the body and mind to encourage inner peace before sleep. No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Cooling Mist, formulated for menopausal skin, can help provide temporary relief from hot flushes.
Lower levels of oestrogen have been linked to irritability, fatigue and forgetfulness. The drop in oestrogen can affect how our brain functions, including having an effect on hormones that impact your mood, such as serotonin. During the menopause, you may also struggle to sleep which makes you feel tired and, in turn, more irritable. Explain to your loved ones how you are feeling and, if you are worried, speak to a GP - this may be your own GP or Livi GP.**
Anxiety, feeling low, mood swings, along with not feeling like yourself anymore, can be common signs and symptoms of menopause. Feelings of everyday stress, anxiety and irritability can be caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Changes to your skin and body can also contribute. Not everyone will experience these, but if you do, or if how you're feeling is affecting your daily life, speak to your GP. You may also want to consider one of the mental health services, which are available via the Health Hub, where services like on-demand talking therapy via the SupportRoom** may help.
Difficulty concentrating and brain fog are two common signs and symptoms of the menopause. You may find that you have forgotten what you want to say mid-sentence or have trouble remembering a word. In many cases, this is because of fluctuating hormone levels, often in combination with other factors, including poor sleep. Speak to your GP if this causes problems in your everyday life.
Reduced sex drive is one of the common signs of menopause. In most cases, this is caused by a drop in hormones which can also lead to vaginal dryness, tightness and sometimes pain during sex. Other signs and symptoms of menopause, including body changes and mood changes, can also make you less interested in sex.
If you are worried about low sex drive, speak to a GP - this could be your GP or Livi GP.** If you feel you may need support with communication or intimacy with your partner, you may benefit from some relationship and couples support.
Once any underlying causes have been ruled out, there is a range of products for you (and your partner) that you may want to consider, such as My Viv Bergamot Massage Oil, which can be used alone or with a partner, and Boots Lubricating Jelly, to provide lubrication and comfort during sex.
As with many signs and symptoms of menopause, loss of confidence may result from the reduction in oestrogen, and possibly testosterone. Life events, family changes, relationships and work issues can also have an impact, along with the physical changes of ageing. If this is affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your GP. Talking to them can help you process your feelings and understand treatment or support options. You may wish to access some additional support, such as on-demand talking therapy via SupportRoom** which may help you make sense of your feelings and give you access to self-help tools to support you when you need it.
SUPPORTING YOUR MENOPAUSE JOURNEY
Six amazing women share their personal menopause experiences at Menopause Monologues, hosted by Boots and No7. Gabby Logan, Anna Richardson, Andrea McLean, Sally Phillips, Shaparak Khorsandi, and Karen Arthur each spoke, discussing signs, symptoms and ways to improve menopause journeys for all women.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MENOPAUSE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Periods become less frequent over a few months or years and then eventually stop altogether. The menopause is influenced by a change in hormone levels. When the ovaries no longer release an egg each month, they stop producing as much of the sex hormone oestrogen.
The time leading up to the menopause is called the perimenopause. This stage may last for months, years, or it may happen quickly.
The menopause has three stages:
- Perimenopause - The time between the beginning of menopausal signs and symptoms to a woman’s last period. This stage may last for months, years, or it may happen quickly.
- Menopause - The time when a woman has their last period.
- Post-menopause - The time after a woman's last period. A woman is considered to be post-menopausal when they've not had their period for an entire year.
The hormonal changes that are menopause can leave you feeling muddled up. There are plenty of things you can try to help you get back to feeling like you again. Here are some top tips from Dr Shahzadi Harper, a women’s wellbeing and health specialist who runs a menopause clinic on Harley Street, on how to look after your health when going through menopause:
- If signs or symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your GP about treatment options.
- Exercise regularly. Moving your body is a great way to help your brain release happy hormones.
- Speak to your loved ones about how you’re feeling. Even if they don’t understand, they’ll want to be there for you.
- Try and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Fuelling your body with healthy, nutritious foods is a great way to help you feel good.
- Savour your slumber time. Getting enough sleep every night is super important for keeping you at your best.
If you're worried about your mental health or have concerns about any new signs or symptoms, there is a range of mental health services to assist you with coping strategies:
- Need to chat? SupportRoom** offers support when you need it most, including on-demand access to your online therapist from wherever you are. This service provides psychological and emotional therapy through 'text talk' or video chat if preferred.
- Prefer video therapy? Livi** can help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing with their CBT-qualified therapists from the comfort of your own home with their online therapy service.
- Boots Online Doctor Depression and Anxiety Treatment Service* offers advice and, if appropriate, a prescription-only medicine with regular follow-up and access to support.
Boots pharmacists are also on-hand in over 2000 stores, to offer you advice and support.
The Mtick symbol has been developed with Gen M to signpost menopause-friendly products or services that relieve, ease or support one or more of the 48 signs or symptoms of the menopause.
1Subject to availability. Eligibility criteria may apply. Charges may apply.
2Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply. To use on boots.com/onlinedoctor: You must be registered with boots.com/onlinedoctor and logged in when placing your order. Simply enter the promotional code SAVE10 at the checkout to redeem this offer. This offer is exclusive for Boots Online Doctor Menopause and HRT Treatment Service and Vaginal Dryness Service and cannot be used in-store or on boots.com. Offer can only be redeemed online. This promotion code is single-use only. One promotion code per transaction. Valid until 31 October 2023. Channel Island exclusions apply
*Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply.
**Subject to availability. Charges apply.
***Minimum spend £15. Geographical restrictions, delivery and service fees apply. Subject to availability. See Deliveroo for more details.
†3 for 2 on selected vitamins, supplements health foods and complementary medicines. Cheapest free. Subject to availability.
‡Advantage Card must be linked to an Advantage Card account at the time of purchase to be eligible for this offer. Normal Advantage Card terms and conditions apply. Excludes in-store orders. No Price Advantage at airport stores.
§The Mtick symbol has been developed with Gen M to signpost menopause-friendly products or services that relieve, ease or support one or more of the 48 signs or symptoms of menopause.
‖Free health MOT available in participating stores, England only. The NHS Blood Pressure Check Service is for adults aged 40+ that do not have a diagnosis of hypertension, adults under 40 that have a recognised family history of hypertension (at the Pharmacist’s discretion) and adults referred by the GP for the measurement of blood pressure. Waist circumference & BMI checks optional. Subject to availability.
20 Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin. Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, hair & nails. Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin & hair. Contains Hyaluronic Acid, Evening Primrose Oil & Borage Oil.
21 Lipovac M et al. Gynecological Endocrinology, (2011) Study conducted on women, using Promensil Double Strength tablets. Claim reference 4146 for Trifolium pratense (Red Clover). Always read the label. Not for use by pregnant or lactating women.
22 Vitamin B6 which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Vitamins B12 & B2 (Riboflavin) contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to normal energy-yielding metabolism. Vitamin B6 contributes to normal psychological function and Omega 3’s DHA contributes to maintenance of normal brain function. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg EPA and DHA. 4. Biotin which contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, skin & mucous membranes. 5. Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and the normal function of the immune system.
23 Hormone Regulation, Energy, Psychological Function, Muscles, Bones, Skin, Hair & Nails, Testosterone Levels, Cognitive Function, and Immunity. Circana, All Outlets, Women’s Health client defined Perimenopause category, Value Sales, 52w/e 13th May 2023. IRI, SIG HBA/OTC, Womens Health, Value Sales, 52w/e 6th Aug 2022
Menopause is different for everyone who experiences it and Boots is here to help you through your journey. Explore our range of menopause support and learn more about what is happening to your body, both physically and mentally. With our wide selection of menopause advice, and health, wellness and skincare products, you can stay in control of your menopause and live a happy, healthy life.