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Don't worry if menopause makes you feel bonkers; PAGE 27 DAILY RECORD Tuesday, July 5, 2016 MORE AT DAILYRECORD.CO.UK EDITED BY SALLY MCLEAN Sheila Wenborne feared her body had been taken over by aliens but her GP reassured her that she was just going through the change.

Byline: SIOBHAN MCNALLY reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

WHEN author Sheila Wenborne hit 52 she started feeling as if she'd been taken over by aliens - dizzy, constantly hot, tearful and off sex.

But when she went to her GP they told her it was all down to the menopause. In this extract from her guide to surviving the change - So ... That's Why I'm Bonkers - Sheila gives her advice on how women can navigate their way through ...

WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE? The menopause is the end of fertility, when ovaries stop producing an egg every four weeks.

It may not make for sophisticated dinner party conversation but it's definitely the big topic among women of a certain age, usually while fanning themselves.

But then it gets serious. After three months of no sleep, anxiety attacks and palpitations, women worry that it's not menopause and they're actually dying.

In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51 but some can experience it as early as their 30s.

ToPic Sheila's to menopause In women under 50, menopause is diagnosed after 24 months without a period.

Over 50, it's diagnosed after 12 months without a period. In women with a sense of humour, it's diagnosed over a bottle of wine. MYTHS OF MENOPAUSE IT BEGINS AT 50 Well, your menopause could begin at 50, but your friends might start at 40, 46 or 61. It doesn't happen overnight - often it's a gradual onset of symptoms.

Also, some women don't realise they could start having symptoms many months or years before the onset of menopause. The odd hot flush, unusual fatigue, mood swings, irritability and weight gain are all possible during this phase which is known as the perimenopause, while still getting periods.

YOU'RE OFFICIALLY OLD A woman can expect to live decades past menopause and she will still feel healthy, energetic and motivated.

IT'S A DISEASE One of the biggest misconceptions is that it's a disease which requires rapid treatment.

The symptoms may be uncomfortable, and some may demand immediate respite, but the menopause is normal and natural. YOU CAN'T GET PREGNANT Pregnancy can occur if you are still experiencing menstrual cycles, however irregular.

SYMPTOMS OF THE CHANGE At last count there were at least 35 different symptoms that have been, or can be, attributed to the menopause.

Apart from the hot flushes and mood swings, my friend Melissa spent years investigating what she thought was a heart complaint, until a specialist told her that all her palpitations were undoubtedly down to a lack of oestrogen.

The more common symptoms include weight gain and mood swings, although it would be understandable that the mood swings come from the weight gain.

The hot flush is said to be the most common symptom. More than 80 per cent of women suffer them as changes in hormone levels upset the temperature-regulating part of the brain.

Thankfully, the inability to hold a thought for no longer than a goldfish means that women will forget what is troubling them.

menopause and healthy It's a fact that there's a tendency to memory lapses during the menopause. OUT OF THE ORDINARY For some people, the change is motivated relatively straightforward - a few hot flushes and irregular periods, then it's all over. Those we call the "deeply blessed".

But for others, the symptoms can be both extreme and unusual.

Just when you thought one of the benefits of getting older would be no more spots, a temporary bout of acne can rear its ugly head.

Another lesser-known symptom of the menopause is crawling skin, caused by skin receptors adapting to having less oestrogen. LOSING YOUR LIBIDO Anyone who has seen Sex And The menopause. feel and City might feel the world is on fire with raging lust but for those who have actually contemplated joining a convent when the Big M kicks in, it seems very out of sync with reality.

motivated There are a number of natural products claiming to help women regain their sexual desire, including sarsaparilla and tribulus.

If you still think your partner is about as attractive as a warthog, then it might be worth trying couples counselling. ?Adapted by Siobhan McNally from: So ... That's Why I'm Bonkers! A Girl's Guide to Surviving The Menopause, by Sheila Wenborne, PS7.99, amazon.co.uk.

City but A woman can live decades past the menopause and feel healthy and motivated

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 5, 2016
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