The challenges some women face during menopause can be frustrating, but there are ways to get relief.
All women of a certain age will experience menopause, but how it affects them physically and psychologically varies greatly. May 12th marks the start of National Women’s Health Week for 2013, sponsored by the U.S. government’s Office of Women’s Health, so we’re offering some ways women can address the symptoms that can make menopause such a difficult time in their lives.
For many women, replacing the hormones their bodies stop producing is an effective treatment for moderate to severe menopause symptoms. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT—formerly known as hormone replacement therapy) involves taking estrogen alone or with progestin. According to the Food and Drug Administration, MHT is effective in reducing the severity of:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Bone loss
The therapy, however, does have some health risks, so women should consult with their doctors before taking hormones. Some women also choose to take bio-identical hormones, which are synthesized from plants. The government has no proof that these hormones are safer or more effective than traditional MHT drugs.
Coping With Specific Symptoms
Whether taking hormones or not, women can follow these tips to help deal with some of the most common symptoms of menopause:
- Avoid triggers, which can include spicy foods, stress, caffeine, and exposure to high temperatures
- Dress in layers so you can remove a layer as needed
- Keep a fan handy
- Use a water-based lubricant during sex
- Consider using a vaginal moisturizer
- Avoid daytime naps
- Keep a routine for when you go to bed and when you wake
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine near bedtime
- Reduce your stress through exercise or enjoyable activities
- Find a women’s support group
- Consider therapy
For some women, basic lifestyle changes may reduce menopause symptoms—and they promote good overall health. These include
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing stress through such activities as meditation or yoga
- Losing weight, which might help fight hot flashes
If you’re dealing with menopause and want help coping, St. Lucie Medical Center is here for you. Our Consult-A-Nurse® service can answer basic questions and offer physician referrals. Give us a call at 1-800-449-8345.