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Travelling with the Menopause

Before the menopause, a holiday break away in a different country might have been a welcome blessing.

But now, that once beautiful holiday trip has turned into an anxious, nerve-wracking prospect. Before you even leave your home, you need to pack, which is an absolute nightmare and enough to make you want to cancel the trip in its entirety. Your body temperature has a mind of its own, so it doesn’t really matter where you’re going – knowing what to pack can be genuinely panic-inducing.

Then the whole way to the airport your anxiety is convincing you that you ‘definitely forgot something’ – you just have a feeling you did! And flying is a whole other ballgame of nerves and stress. So many women who had not experienced problems flying get paralysed with fear now. All of a sudden, a safe plane becomes a metal death trap, and you remember every single Air Crash Investigation and Seconds from Disaster episode you’ve ever watched. Every jolt of turbulence feels like an earthquake, the blaring air conditioning feels like a dragon’s fire breath, and you try ordering yourself as many free mini bottles of red wine to calm your nerves as you can.

And that’s all before landing.

Once you arrive at your destination, there are plenty more problems to deal with. The hot flushes, the pressure to feel relaxed and have a great time, the worry of being a killjoy to your travelling companions, the jet-lag making your sleep even more out of sync than it’s ever been and possibly the vaginal dryness that’s taken all the romance out of your holiday. Is it all worth it? How can you enjoy your holiday while going through the menopause?

First, be real with yourself. If you’ve already booked a trip and you know you can’t get out (or in the long-run, would regret backing out) then accept the fact that you are going and it might not be great the whole way through. But you can be prepared and it can be a lot more bearable (and dare we say it, enjoyable) than you’d expect.

No need to worry about remembering to bring every little thing, just think about the essentials!

Step one: packing. Get organised! Not sure if you’ll suffer through hot flushes or be way too cold? Pack layers, pack a bit more than you might have before, and start packing way ahead of time so you don’t give yourself extra reason to stress. To rid yourself of that “I definitely forgot something” feeling, remind yourself: wherever you’re going, there are very likely going to be grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, and everything else. You really only need to make a list of the most important things: passport, medication, phone and chargers. Anything else, even if you forget, you can do without for a short while. No need to worry about remembering to bring every little thing, just think about the essentials!

When it comes to the flight, you might just have to fight with your anxiety for a little bit. But instead of replaying every flight crash TV show in your mind, think of these factsinstead: flying is safer than driving, planes can fly perfectly safely even when struck by lightning, planes have hundreds of systems in place to detect danger, and the pilots care about your safety (and their own, of course). Once you’ve (safely) landed, handle your symptoms like you would at home. Just because you’re in a different country, doesn’t mean you can’t handle your symptoms!

Don’t lose out on some amazing memories because of the menopause

Again, be prepared. If you’re taking HRT, make sure that your prescription is up to date and that you have enough to last you for your trip. Bring a vaginal moisturiser to keep the dryness at bay, take a sleep mask and earplugs even if you don’t normally use them, keep up your physical exercise (also helps with jetlag!), and wherever you are in the world, try and book in a massage or manicure to keep your body feeling fresh, on holiday mode, and stress-free!

Don’t lose out on some amazing memories because of the menopause. You’ll be able to get through the holiday if you’re prepared. Things might have changed from when you were younger, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up a great holiday. Be organised, calm that mind of yours, readjust your expectations, and try to relax. You deserve the break!