The Quick Guide To Managing Menopause


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Menopause marks a big change in a woman’s life—the end of her monthly menstrual period. But before the actual period stops, perimenopause kicks in. This is the time when all changes and symptoms start manifesting themselves, which make the whole experience a very confusing, annoying, and painful ordeal for most women.

However, menopause doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Knowing how to manage your symptoms can make all the difference when you finally deal with this right of passage.

Also, the more you know about your symptoms and what to expect, the better you can get to grips with your condition and seek appropriate support not just from your gynaecologist, but also from family and friends.

Here is our quick guide on how to manage common menopause symptoms:

 

SYMPTOMS

MANAGEMENT

1. Insomnia – inability to sleep, habitual sleeplessness.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Production of estrogen and progesterone, hormones that promote sleep, gradually decrease.

  • Doing Yoga, Taichi, meditation have all been shown to improve sleep

  • Don’t take alcoholic drinks; drink warm milk instead

  • Still tossing and turning? Read until you’re sleepy

2. Mood Swings – sudden and extreme change in one’s mood.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

There can be different causes namely: anxiety, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, stress.

  • Any form of exercise will help improve mood

  • Socializing, doing things you enjoy are also helpful

  • Consult with your doctor about low-dose birth control pills, anti-depressants, and other alternative treatments

3. Heart Problems – risk factors increase for everyone as they age, but for women, symptoms can become more evident during perimenopause stage.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Estrogen helps keep blood vessels flexible and its decline during the onset of menopause is seen as a factor for higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Follow an overall healthy lifestyle:

Regular exercise

Avoid red meat, sugary foods and beverages

Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, nuts

  • Stop smoking

4. Hot Flashes – sudden intense heat. The heart beats faster, skin gets warm, face gets red, sweating especially in the upper body.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Hormonal changes are the most likely cause of hot flashes.

  • Cool down by sipping ice water

  • Dress in loose and light clothing

  • Write down what triggers your hot flash (ex. Coffee, spicy food, alcohol, hot room, stress, etc.) and try to lessen/avoid them

  • When a flash starts, take deep, slow breaths and exhale through the mouth

5. Night Sweats – severe hot flashes that cause excessive sweating during the night.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Fluctuations in estrogen levels affect the hypothalamus (part of the brain that regulates temperature), which consequently affect sweat glands and triggers intense perspiration.

  • Use a desk fan to keep air moving when you sleep

  • Wear light and think clothes for sleeping

  • Exchange thick blankets and sheets for thinner ones

  • Put an ice pack under your pillow when you sleep to keep you cool during the night

6. Vaginal Dryness – thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Estrogen helps keep the vaginal walls moisturized and healthy. Its decrease during the onset of menopause causes the dryness.

  • Use water-based, non-prescription vaginal lubricants and moisturizers

  • Also, ask your doctor about vaginal estrogen ring, tablet, and cream

7. Loss of Sex Drive – loss of sexual interest or desire.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Hormonal changes are often the main contributor towards loss of libido.

  • Regular exercise helps increase a woman’s stamina and strength, and consequently her self-image, which helps boost libido.

  • Eat magnesium-containing foods, which are thought to increase libido. Examples are soy, almonds, banana, avocado, dark chocolate.

  • Spend more time with your partner to build intimacy and desire during sex

8. Migraines – severe headaches.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

Estrogen and progesterone hormone fluctuations cause blood vessels to dilate and tighten. This pressure changes result to headache attacks.

  • Watch what triggers your migraines so you can take steps to lessen them

  • If it’s hunger, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day

  • If it’s stress, lack of sleep, then take naps and avoid stress

9. Hair Issues – thinning and shedding of hair at a faster rate or growth of unwanted facial hair.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

As estrogen decreases, testosterone hormones increase. The imbalance causes hair thinning and facial hair to become thicker.

  • Be kind to your hair. Avoid coloring products that have harsh chemicals.

  • Eat protein and iron-rich foods that strengthen hair. And don’t forget Vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron better and prevents hair fall.

  • Exercise also helps relieve stress and improve blood circulation, which then help keep your scalp and hair healthy.

10. Breakouts – acne problems during menopause.

WHY IT HAPPENS:

The imbalance in estrogen and testosterone levels triggers the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum that clogs pores and causes acne.

  • Use products that are “oil free,” “noncomedogenic,” “won’t clog pores,” and “non-acnegenic.”

  • Ask your doctor about hormone therapy, topical treatments, and oral medications

  • Do not prick your pimples as skin during menopause is more sensitive and may scar more easily


All material provided on this website is for your information only and should not substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.