Often, the symptoms of menopause are not so easy to deal with. They can disrupt your daily activities and show up whenever they like - without even a heads up (hello Hot Flash!) This article explains some suggestions to perhaps deal with or minimize some of these symptoms of menopause so you can make the most of every day (and not lose sleep).
- Hot flashes: As a result of hot flashes, your face and neck may flush, your pulse may begin to rise, and you may begin to sweat. They can be so intense that they force you to stay awake at night or wake you from a deep sleep. They can last between 30 seconds and five minutes. They affect women differently. Some people feel warm, while others complain about burning up. One woman described a hot flash as if “someone lit a furnace inside my body.” Some women experience chills after it. Night sweats, or hot flashes that occur during sleep, can disrupt sleep and cause fatigue and mood changes. Hot beverages, spicy foods, warm air temperatures, stressful situations, alcohol, caffeine, and certain medications are potential triggers of hot flashes. Consider a few steps to help relieve hot flashes, depending on their severity and how much they interfere with your daily activities. Do your best to stay in cool environments. They can be triggered by small increases in your body's core temperature depending on what situation you find yourself in. You can also keep a close eye on what you eat and drink. Finally, consider engaging in mind-body therapies. It could be yoga, meditation, or relaxation techniques - as long as it's suitable for you.
- Irregular periods: Irregular periods are a common symptom of peri-menopause and might be the first symptom you experience. For women experiencing irregular periods, speaking with your doctor may be beneficial. Your doctor can provide important information about peri-menopause and menopause and could have some other suggestions that might include medication.
- Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Vaginal dryness can be uncomfortable as it might result in feeling itchy. Vaginal dryness can also make intimacy uncomfortable or even painful. Using a vaginal moisturizer is one of the most effective ways to reduce vaginal dryness. There are specially formulated moisturizers for the delicate skin. Using a vaginal moisturizer might help keep your vagina moist and alleviate symptoms of vaginal dryness. For vaginal dryness during sex, it may help to use lubes during sex. It prevents friction and makes sex hopefully more fun and importantly, less painful.
- Mood swings: During menopause, mood swings occur as a result of fluctuation of hormone levels. Symptoms are caused by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels. Since your ovaries produce fewer of these hormones during the menopausal transition, you might experience changes in your mood. You can feel irritated, angry, unhappy, helpless, and in some cases, depressed. Clearly, these feelings are limited to menopause, but they might change in frequency or severity. To deal with mood swings, there are a range of options some of you can try for yourself including changes in your lifestyle, supplements, or something prescribed by a doctor like hormone replacement therapy.
- Memory problems: Memory problems sometimes rear their ugly heads during menopause. As your body's estrogen levels decline before and during menopause, your brain function may change noticeably. This can result in occasional lapses in brain function, resulting in short-term memory problems or “brain fog.” You may begin to forget where you put your phone (trust me - affects all of us), and may forget birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates. During menopause, this is completely normal. Exercise is a great addition to your daily regimen and an important habit to maintain if you are already doing that. Exercise stimulates areas of the brain that are important for memory and information processing. It also improves the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for various types of memory.
- Increased urination: During menopause, it may start getting difficult to control your bladder - you may start going to the bathroom much more often which can get annoying. To manage this symptom during menopause, avoiding liquids before bedtime may be beneficial. Reducing your intake of alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and acidic foods or beverages might also help.
- Low sex drive: Between 68% to 87% of women going through menopause experience lower sex drive during menopause. You might start getting less interested in spending time with your partner or engaging in any kind of intimacy. This could be for any number of reasons. If you experience this, we suggest you communicate with your partner about it. What's a relationship without communication, right?
Although all these suggestions are not guaranteed to help you deal with the symptoms of menopause completely, hopefully just knowing you are not alone can be helpful. If the symptoms persist, we advise you to see your doctor as soon as possible.
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