World Menopause Day: How to manage menopause while you travel

Don’t let hot flushes get in the way of your travels, writes Dr Hana Patel, GP and specialist in women’s health...

3 mins

Menopause is a part of ageing and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. As a senior GP, and also a woman going through menopause, I know that travelling during the perimenopausal period can be tricky, but I have personal and evidence-based tips that suggest it can be done in comfort.

For some women, menopause can be freeing, knowing they may not have such regular periods. But studies have shown that women can experience an average of four years of perimenopause symptoms before their period stops completely – that is a long time to put life and your adventures on hold.

In my clinics, I also see women who are experiencing symptoms earlier; some of them are in their late 30s or early 40s, while others present with menopause symptoms later than 55, or have a recurrence of symptoms in their 60s and 70s.

Pack prepared for your symptoms (Shutterstock)

Pack prepared for your symptoms (Shutterstock)

Menopause usually occurs in women between 45 and 55 (Alamy)

Menopause usually occurs in women between 45 and 55 (Alamy)

The reason menopause occurs is due to decreasing levels of oestrogen. There are currently up to 40 identified symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweats, low mood, low libido, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness or painful sex, and poor memory or concentration levels.

Many women come to see me because these issues are interfering with their daily work and life. Travelling with menopausal symptoms presents further challenges, whether it’s managing hot climates, navigating swimming in the sea or taking on other adventures. Some common symptoms that might sway how you travel or your choice of destination include brain fog, mood changes and hot sweats.

However you feel, it’s a good idea to bring a hand-held fan, pack lightweight clothing and make a self-care kit, so you have everything you might need. Clothes made from natural fibres can be helpful, as can taking a variety of clothes in different sizes; some women can feel their weight and body shape fluctuate more at this time.

Try to drink less alcohol, especially wine, at night, as it can make some menopausal symptoms, such as mood changes and hot flushes, worse. Also, try to avoid common triggers so that you can relax and enjoy your escape.

Menopause by numbers for the 50+

Women over 50 accounted for over a quarter of the world’s female population in 2021, say the World Health Organization

The average age at which women experience menopause

NHS estimates say up to a third of UK women are menopausal or perimenopausal

Five ways to manage menopause while you travel

Bring a portable fan to cool hot flushes should they erupt (Shutterstock)

Bring a portable fan to cool hot flushes should they erupt (Shutterstock)

1. Choose smaller, more manageable trips while you are adjusting to any new symptoms to avoid feeling overwhelmed by changing locations.

2. Consider the symptoms you are experiencing right now; for example, if your main problem is hot sweats, stick to cooler climes until these are better under control.

3. Ensure you bring enough medication, such as HRT, when away to avoid perimenopausal symptoms spoiling your adventures.

4. Think about the type of hormonal preparation you use on holiday; HRT patches could be visible if you are swimming or dressed for a hot climate, so you may prefer to use more discreet gel preparations. Speak to your GP for advice regarding HRT medications that suit your lifestyle and any activities you might do.

5. Pack a hand fan for annoying hot flushes, extra clothing for sweating, and sanitary protection if you need it, as cycles can change during the menopausal period.

All content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Consult a healthcare professional before taking action.

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