For many women the 'change of life' is a brief, relatively painless event. Some, however, experience several years of symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, emotional upheaval and mental depression.
If you're having such difficulties, be honest with your family and friends. Tell them what you're experiencing; they can't be supportive if they don't understand the problem. It might be especially helpful to discuss what you're feeling with an older woman.
Stay cool during hot flushes in winter, lower the central heating thermostat and wear easy-to-remove layers of loose, cotton clothing.
For night-time hot flushes, buy absorbent cotton sheets and nightclothes. Keep a spare nightgown and a Thermos of iced water at the ready on your bedside table.
Keep two athlete's cold packs in the freezer; hold them against your cheeks when a hot flush begins.
After checking with a doctor, start doing some regular aerobic and relaxation exercises.
Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).