It can be hard to see the funny side of life as you get older – particularly when you're a woman going through the menopause.

But the four million British women who are around the age of menopause - in their late 40s and early 50s - have got plenty to smile about, insist some of the women who've been there and got the menopause T-shirt.

[Read more: Menopause - what’s really happening to your body and mind]

Bonkers!

One of them is Sheila Wenborne, who's just written the So... That's Why I'm Bonkers! guide to surviving ‘the change’.

“Thankfully, the inability to hold a thought for no longer than a goldfish means that women will forget what is troubling them,” she told the Mirror.

[Read more: 6 ways to postpone the menopause]

Of course going through the menopause can be a terrible time, and can last for as long as 10 years, with symptoms including the infamous hot flushes and night sweats, loss of libido, palpitations, headaches, mood changes, and sleeping problems.

Not all bad

But it's not all bad, promises Monica Troughton, who started going through the menopause in her early 40s. She had symptoms ranging from sleep problems and hot flushes to mood swings, but in the end concluded that far from being a nightmare, the menopause had changed her life for the better.

And to share that happy message with other women going through the change, she wrote the book, Magical Menopause: 52 Brilliant Ideas For Celebrating Your New Life.

“Yes women can feel totally mad,” she says, “but if they don't freak, and give in to it, see the world differently for a while, and know it does end and normal life will be resumed! It's a funny time.”


Old crone?

The former teacher remembers she was convinced she'd turn into an “old crone” overnight when the menopause started.

“It's what we've all been made to think,” she says. “In fact, exactly the opposite has happened. I've got more energy and more confidence than I've ever had. And I've become so much more daring.”

So much so, in fact, that she put on a comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival, gave up her teaching job and became a writer – her next book, Sweet 60 And Survived It! is out next year.

“Years ago, before 'the change', I would never have done anything so exciting. I used to be cautious and shy. Now, I'm daring and liberated - and I've got the menopause to thank.”