Self-Care Week is an annual UK-wide national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self-care across communities, families, and generations. Practice Self Care for Life was the theme for 2021. The Consultdoc organisation is focusing on Women’s health, and one hot topic in women’s health is managing menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms.
There is a lot of information now available online including online support groups to help women with symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep disturbances. What Consultdoc is trying to do is to provide evidence-based information to help you make an informed decision about your health and this information is usually based on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendations.
I share the view of a long-time friend Matilda who turned 50 years of age this week. She has been getting practically all the symptoms of menopause for a few years and has learned to manage these symptoms through a combination of measures. For example, having regular exercise, maintaining a healthy ideal weight for her body, wearing lighter clothes, turning down the heating or sleeping in a cooler room, and using an air conditioner during hot weather. Matilda does not smoke and only drinks wine less than 14 units a week. She tends to avoid spicy food and caffeinated drinks.
When I asked Matilda how she copes with stress at her age, she said “I just take life easy; I enjoy life as much as possible, spend time with my family, and go on holiday.” I know Matilda to be a person who likes nature and likes walking in the forest and spending time outdoors. She often does her exercise in the mornings, like walking with her husband and swimming. Matilda feels all these measures have helped her manage this period of her life and cope well with menopausal symptoms. Looking at what Matilda has been doing, it fits what NICE recommended for lifestyle measures that help with menopausal symptoms.
In other general advice, we would encourage improvement in quality of life, including seeking occupational health advice if support is needed in the workplace. We encourage engagement with national screening programmes such as cervical cancer and breast cancer screening if appropriate. We would also encourage discussions over the risk of osteoporosis (thinning and weakening of the bone) and bone health with your GP. When you discuss with your GP, they may also advise you on the need for contraception even if you are on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). If you have difficulty getting an appointment with your GP or you would like a second opinion, you can click here to register and book an online consultation with a Consultdoc GP who can arrange an intervention appropriate for your health needs.
Look out for Self Care Week this year 14 – 20 November 2022, to take away further self-help tips. For any of your health concerns, remember we are only one click away should you want to discuss anything with our fully qualified doctors.