Menopause

It's only natural

It's only natural

Whether or not you choose hormone replacement, other methods may help ease some of the discomforts of perimenopause and menopause. Because not all women are affected the same way, finding the right solution is sometimes a matter of trial and error.

For hot flashes:

  • stop smoking
  • avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • get regular exercise
  • decrease body mass index (BMI) if your doctor says it's too high
  • reduce stress either by relaxation, biofeedback, meditation, or some other method you find soothing
  • lower your room temperature
  • dress in layers to reduce body temperature as needed

For insomnia:

  • don't eat a heavy snack before bed
  • avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • make your bedroom as inviting and "sleepy" as possible; don't use your bedroom for anything other than sleeping or sexual intimacy
  • develop a calming bedtime routine every night
  • avoid taking daytime naps

For problems with urinating too often or having episodes of urinary incontinence (leakage):

  • avoid hard alcohol or any liquid that triggers the need to urinate such as coffee, tea, or beer
  • practice Kegel (pelvic) exercises daily
  • wear a pad if you're afraid of being caught in an embarrassing situation

Don't limit your fluid intake to keep from urinating unless you're advised to do so by your doctor. Dehydrating yourself will make menopausal symptoms worse.

For decreased sexual desire:

  • if you don't have enough vaginal lubrication, try using a water-soluble gel
  • set a sexy mood by wearing that special gown, lighting candles, or playing romantic music

It also helps to let your partner know how you're feeling, so that you can both take the time to get in the mood.

You can also speak to your doctor about highly effective non-hormonal medications to treat your menopausal symptoms. For example, venlafaxine or clonidine may reduce the frequency of your hot flashes, and medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help control mood swings.

If you'd like to try herbal remedies for some of your symptoms, check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that these don't interact with any medications you are taking and that you don't have any medical conditions where these herbal remedies should be avoided.

The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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