As you enter your menopause years (usually beginning in the late 40’s or early 50’s), you may not realize at first why the room is getting warm, why you are so short-tempered with your family, or why you wake in the night sweating and can’t get back to sleep. While this can be unnerving at times, you will survive this rite of passage and live to tell the tale. Almost all women experience at least some temporary symptoms while some struggle with problems that can be disruptive to their lives. Often, menopausal symptoms are exacerbated by stress. Here are a few suggestions for helping you cope:
- Discuss your symptoms with your health care provider, including the option of taking a short course of a low dose of estrogen if necessary.
- Consider incorporating foods high in phytoestrogens such as flaxseed or flaxseed oil.
- Breathe slowly and deeply as soon as you feel a hot flash coming on.
- Try meditating for 15 minutes daily and exercising at least three times a week.
- Keep the thermostat under 70 degrees during the day and under 65 degrees at night.
- Avoid hot places, such as saunas and steam rooms, and dress in layers.
- Drink lots of water and try to avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine.
- Call a friend or see a counselor if the going gets too tough to handle alone.
Menopause is not an illness. It is a natural part of life. Read, do research and have an ongoing dialogue with your health care provider if any of the menopausal symptoms begin to disrupt your life. Making a plan to get through the worst will help preserve your health and relationships. Keep your perspective and sense of humor as you tackle the challenges and know that it will eventually pass.
Barb Silver, WHRC Founder, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Board Certified Menopause Clinician – San Francisco