There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding menopause. So much so that many women feel embarrassed to talk about their symptoms with their doctors or other loved ones. But luckily, menopause is a natural part of aging and not something to be ashamed of! In fact, there are plenty of things you can do to ease some of your symptoms during this time in your life. In this blog post we’ll be sharing some tips for managing your own menopausal symptoms, as well as information on best practices for making it through this phase safely and easily.
Menopause Isn’t A Disease
Menopause is the time of your life when you stop producing eggs and menstruating regularly. As a result, there is no ovulation. Many women go through physical and emotional changes related to the decreased amount of estrogen and progesterone that happens during menopause. Some uncomfortable symptoms that may arise are hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process, so there’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. It’s not a disease, but rather a sign that you’re entering a different stage of your life where your hormones change. Menopause can be intimidating, but take comfort in knowing that it happens naturally for all women between ages 45 and 55 (and even earlier for some).
Remember that not every woman goes through menopause at the same time. Some women may experience hot flashes as early as age 35 while others may not start experiencing them until after 50 years old. This makes each case unique; therefore there isn’t necessarily an “ideal” outcome when dealing with these issues.
Menopause Symptoms: What To Expect?
To help you deal with symptoms, it’s important to educate yourself about menopause and what to expect from this time of your life.
Be prepared for changes in your body and mood. Hormones are in charge of many bodily functions, which include the regulation of your metabolism, energy and behavior. Since menopause is a time where your hormones decrease, this results in your metabolism slowing down, not feeling like youself all the time, and feeling extra tired.
Some classic symptoms of the menopausal years are:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Mood changes
- Loss of breast fullness
- Night sweats
- Sleep issues
Understanding how to deal with menopausal symptoms is a way to regain your quality of life. Medication, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies are all ways in which you can alleviate your discomfort during this time.
Get Your Blood Tested And Seek Guidance From Your OB/GYN
If you’re having menopause symptoms, the first step is getting your blood tested. This will give you insights on your hormone balance so you can better understand what exactly is going on with them. This will also give you the information you need to discuss treatment options with your doctor. Your OB/GYN can help you determine if your symptoms require hormone replacement therapy or what actions need to be taken to alleviate them.
They’ll also be able to make sure that no symptoms are overlooked, which is especially important because some symptoms may be nonspecific and misleading. Don’t be afraid to get your blood tests and discuss your concerns with an expert. It is in your best interest to manage your symptoms and regain your well-being as soon as possible!
Get On The Right Medication
Although menopause is not a disease, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right, the need, or the urgency to get treatment for it. Once you have your hormone test results, your doctor can help you determine the best treatment for you, and can prescribe certain medications that can help with hot flashes and other symptoms. One of the most efficient treatments for menopausal women is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), in which you receive exogenous hormones (such as estrogen and testosterone) to make up for your reduced natural production. These bioidentical hormones are administered through a patch, injections or pills.
However, beware. HRT must be done under the surveillance of a professional due to many possible side effects that can develop if done irresponsibly. Some of these include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Feeling sick
- Swelling in different parts of the body
- Increased risk of breast cancer
Not every person undergoing HRT will develop side effects. However, the risk increases when done with incorrect dosage and without optimal monitoring. Therefore, we underline the importance of seeking help from a professional in HRT (such as an endocrinologist) to make your treatment the safest it can be.
Additionally, even if you’re not currently on HRT, it’s still a good idea to get regular blood testing to monitor your hormone levels and treatment. Hormone testing for women should be done at least twice a year optimally, but more frequent testing may be needed depending on where your numbers are at. Also, the type of treatment you’re receiving should be reviewed regularly with your doctor to ensure it’s helping you have better menopause symptoms.
A great place to get your hormones tested is Private MD Labs. This company has provided blood testing services since 2005 with a patient-requested testing methodology. They offer comprehensive testing especially tailored for all people with affordable pricing, and where you won’t need a doctor’s order to get your tests.
What You Eat Can Affect Your Hormones?
Several things may trigger your menopause symptoms. Some foods we eat may cause hot flashes, bloating and discomfort. These include caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods. Cutting out alcohol and caffeine may help reduce hot flashes and night sweats because the substances contained in them act as stimulants in the body (caffeine) or depressants (alcohol). Spicy foods also generate heat sensations and trigger hot flashes, so lowering your intake can help alleviate some symptoms.
Smoking is another habit that you should drop to improve your menopause journey. Not only is smoking one of the leading contributing factors to heart and lung disease and most forms of cancer, but it will also trigger hot flashes in menopausal women.
A healthy diet can help you improve your hormone regulation and improve your well-being. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil and lean meats (such as fish, chicken breast, pork loin, etc.) in your regular diet. Avoid refined sugars, fast foods and ultra processed foods (like microwavable dinners, bacon, sausages, and hamburgers).
Regular Exercise Is The Key To Manage Your Symptoms
Exercise can help with weight gain, fatigue, and sleep quality. It has also been shown to be the best stress reliever as it reduces cortisol levels, a hormone that is released when we experience stress. Exercising regularly can help you feel better about yourself and your appearance by increasing your self-esteem and mood.
Exercise will not only help you get a better night’s sleep but make it easier for you to fall asleep faster at night as well! If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try exercising just an hour before bedtime: do yoga stretches or take a walk around the block; both are excellent options to help you fall asleep faster at night!
Meditating And Getting Enough Sleep – A Power Duo
Meditation can help you relax, sleep and deal with stress. Menopausal symptoms and hormone changes can increase your anxiety. It’s difficult to let go of negative feelings and stress when you are undergoing hormone changes that affect your mood and behavior. Meditation allows us to relax by focusing on our breath and relaxing our muscles, which can help ease your symptoms.
Meditation can also help you to release pent-up emotions that might be making it difficult for you to get enough rest at night. If you’re having trouble sleeping because of menopause symptoms, consider trying meditation before bedtime as a way to counteract some of them!
Try Alternative Therapies
You should also consider alternative therapies, such as yoga and acupuncture. These are great ways to reduce stress and anxiety, and there is no reason why they can’t be used alongside conventional medicine.
An alternative therapy which has been shown to help some women manage their menopause symptoms is acupuncture. This involves inserting needles into specific points on the body in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and balance its energy levels.
Acupuncture helps to relax tense muscles so that you have a more restful sleep at night. Finally, if you’ve noticed that your emotions fluctuate during perimenopause, then acupuncture may help calm them down so that you have better emotional control.
If you’re going through menopause, you’re not alone. Even though it can be tough, it doesn’t have to be. There are many things that you can do to help yourself feel better and manage your symptoms. You may want to get your hormones tested, talk to your doctor about starting hormone replacement therapy or try an alternative treatment like acupuncture or meditation. Leading a healthy lifestyle can also help you improve your hormone health, with all its benefits.
5 Key Takeaways
- Menopause is part of the normal aging process and should not be considered a disease. However, this doesn’t mean it comes without uncomfortable symptoms that require treatment.
- The most common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, irregular periods, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
- One common treatment for menopausal symptoms is HRT, which should be done under the surveillance of a professional.
- Healthy habits can also improve your menopause symptoms; eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.
- Be open to alternative medicine like meditation and acupuncture. These can relieve stress, help with emotional mindfulness and help alleviate some symptoms.
- Cleveland Clinic 2021, Cleveland Clinic, accessed 05 December 2022, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15223-hot-flashes#:~:text=Spicy%20foods%2C%20caffeine%20and%20alcohol,also%20be%20triggered%20by%20heat.