It may be a huge change in a woman's life, but there's still little conversation around the menopause - an uncomfortable, if not diffucult stage of life. Which is why Christa D'Souza, journalist and contributing editor for British Vogue, has written a book about it.
Here, she shares her advice for getting through the Change of Life, from coping with hot flushes to the best TV distraction.
Knowledge is power: if you know what is happening to you biologically, it might make the whole process much less of an affront.
Getting your heart rate up is not only a mood-booster but important for building strength. I opted for hot yoga because it raises your thermostat and gets your body used to sweating – perfect practice for becoming well-acquainted with the sensation of hot flushes.
I know, not what you want to hear when rosé season is upon us, but trust me there is no better time. Alcohol exacerbates menopausal symptoms like low mood, and cutting down, even by a few 'dry' days a week, could make a world of difference.
Admittedly, it's not for everyone, but HRT is available and advisable for some women. Don't be shy about discussing options with your GP because they can be a godsend – they were for me.
Two litres a day if you can manage it. 'Dryness' isn't associated with the menopause for nothing. Time to hydrate.
Every year over the age of 40, our BMR – the rate at which we burn off calories – slows down. Time therefore to bid goodbye to a diet high in refined carbs (e.g. white rice, white bread, processed cereals and soft drinks). These foods have been linked to low mood, depression and obesity and they are particularly injurious for us women in menopause. Lean meat, green leafy veg and fish are your new best friends.
Environment and behaviour can trigger hormones, so even when you don't think you are in the mood (or haven't been for years), once you get going, things change. L'appetit vient en mangeant as they say in France (appetite comes with eating…)
Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as 70-year-old soul buddies who are brought together when their husbands announce they are in love and plan to get married. Need I say more?
The menopause is too shrouded in mystery in my opinion, which is partly why I decided to write a book about it. I say share and discuss your experience with husbands/wives/daughters/best friends so we can all contribute to making it less taboo.
Last but not least BE KIND to yourself. This is a big change, however much you're told to grin and bear it, so take it slow and clear space in your diary for ME TIME.
Christa has written for publications such as the Guardian, Daily Mail, the Times, the Daily Telegraph, Vanity Fair and the Evening Standard, and is currently contributing editor of British Vogue. Her new book The Hot Topic: a life-changing look at the Change of Life is published by Short Books and is available from Amazon.