Learn more about common symptoms of menopause and different treatment options.
Managing hot flushes and night sweats
Managing sleep disturbance
Managing mood and emotional health
Managing bladder, vaginal and vulval problems
Managing aches and pains
About 80% of women experience hot flushes (also called hot flashes) and night sweats during menopause.
There are lots of ways to deal with hot flushes.
MHT is the most effective way to manage hot flushes and night sweats. If you can’t use MHT, or don’t want to, there are non-hormonal medications that can help with these symptoms. Read more about these management options.
Try to avoid things that trigger your hot flushes or make them worse.
For some women, stressful situations can make hot flushes worse. Reducing stress and using mind-body techniques can help.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in managing hot flushes and night sweats. While CBT doesn’t usually reduce the frequency of hot flushes, it can reduce their impact.
There is some evidence that breathing and relaxation techniques can help you manage the impact of hot flushes.
Yoga has also been shown to be a safe and effective way to reduce menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes.
It can be hard to manage hot flushes in different environments, particularly during warmer weather.
During the day, try to:
At night, try to:
Maintaining a healthy weight may help to improve menopausal symptoms. There is some evidence that weight gain can increase the severity of hot flushes and night sweats. More severe symptoms are associated with being overweight.
It’s common to experience sleep disturbance during menopause. Around 25% of women aged 50–64 years have sleep problems. Menopausal symptoms, sleep habits and other lifestyle factors can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
There are many ways to improve your sleep.
Hot flushes during the night (known as night sweats) can interrupt your sleep or make it hard to sleep well.
You can try:
Healthy sleep habits can improve your sleep.
Healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive impact on your sleep.
If you do wake up during the night, try not to look at your phone or watch TV, as this can make it harder to get back to sleep.
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) can help ease hot flushes, which can improve sleep quality.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you manage hot flushes and night sweats by reducing the impact they have on you. CBT is also effective in treating sleep problems such as insomnia.
You might benefit from taking melatonin before bed. Melatonin might interact with other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, so talk to your doctor if you’re not sure.
Jean Hailes endocrinologist Dr Sonia Davison talks about menopause and sleep on this Sleep Talk podcast.
During the transition to menopause, hormonal changes can cause your mood and emotions to fluctuate. It’s common to feel low during this time. You might also feel irritable, frustrated or anxious.
Hormonal changes around the time of menopause can lead to anxiety and depression, but other factors may also cause these feelings.
If you experienced anxiety before reaching menopause, some symptoms could make your anxiety worse. For example, hot flushes could lead to an anxiety attack.
Also, symptoms such as night sweats can affect your mood and make you feel exhausted, grumpy or depressed.
At this stage of life, you may experience depression for different reasons. For example, if you are having relationship problems or feeling more stress than normal.
You might also reflect on negative past experiences during this time, leading to feelings of depression.
If you are experiencing strong emotions, anxiety or depression, see your doctor.
Learn more about anxiety.
There are lots of things you can do to look after your emotional health.
If you are feeling strong emotions, ask yourself:
If you feel stressed, try to identify and challenge your thoughts or inner voice.
It can be helpful to:
You can take some practical steps to manage your mood, emotions or stress during menopause.
There are many techniques to help you deal with poor mood, depression, anxiety and stress.
CBT involves recognising the unhelpful thoughts that influence depression and anxiety, and replacing them with more helpful thoughts. It also uses relaxation and breathing techniques to reduce the impact of the physical symptoms of anxiety. Recent research suggests that CBT can be effective in managing hot flushes.
Mindfulness training teaches you to focus on the present moment and not get so caught up in your thinking. It’s also important to reduce stressors, as these can set off anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is a clinically proven technique that can be learned and used in your daily life to help manage anxiety and improve your wellbeing.
Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned. There are different techniques that can help you to relax but it may take time to learn which ones suit you best.
Learn more about different relaxation techniques.
There is no doubt that fluctuating hormones can lead to changing mood and emotions, but mood can also be affected by your lifestyle.
Learn more about ways to look after yourself.
You can talk to your doctor about different therapies that might work for you.
Sometimes it may be helpful to use a combination of therapies. These may include medication, MHT, CBT or ‘talk therapy’ with a registered psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you are concerned about your mood and emotional health, visit Beyond Blue.
To find a qualified psychologist, you can ask your doctor, or visit the Australian Psychological Society website.
To find a registered psychiatrist, you can ask your doctor, or visit the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website.
If you have vaginal dryness, talk to your doctor about different treatment options. Depending on your situation, they may recommend:
When you treat the physical symptoms, it may help to reduce any anxiety or fear you associate with sex.
If you still feel anxious, you can:
Read more information about vulvovaginal atrophy.
Your doctor may also suggest hormonal therapies such as:
You can try other practical ideas, for example:
If you notice changes, such as the need to wee more often than usual, you can talk to your doctor about different treatment options. They may refer you to a continence specialist or a trained physiotherapist who can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Some women notice joint pain and other musculoskeletal symptoms at menopause.
There are lots of ways to ease your aches and pains.
Try to maintain a healthy weight, as being overweight can put added stress on your joints (especially your knees and hips), causing pain and discomfort.
Eating a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy weight. Focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, lean protein and low-fat dairy products. Healthy fats can also help with joint pain. Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish) can reduce inflammation and lead to reduced joint pain and stiffness of joints.
You can protect your joints by moving your body regularly. Research shows that regular exercise leads to healthier joints and bones. Women who consistently exercise also have lower incidence of joint symptoms compared with those who are inconsistent or don’t engage in exercise.
The current guidelines for physical activity recommend :
You can reduce the chance of injury and further pain by:
Dehydration can make joint pain worse, so aim to drink lots of water throughout the day.
Using hot and cold packs on sore and aching joints can bring some relief.
Over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, can help relieve pain. You can also try topical treatments that can be rubbed into the skin over your affected joint.
Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium are all important for skeletal health, but evidence does not suggest they will reduce joint pain.
MHT may help reduce aches and pains. A large-scale study showed that women who took MHT had a lower prevalence of knee osteoarthritis than women who didn’t take it.
If you have joint pain that is new or getting worse, talk to your doctor. Menopause could play a role, but other conditions such as stiff joints (arthralgia) and arthritis can also happen at this stage of life.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at August 2022.