by Scholten A

Managing Symptoms of Menopause

Image for menopause article The following tips may be beneficial for these common symptoms of menopause .

Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom in women going through menopause. Here are some ways you can stay cool:
  • Wear fabrics that breathe, such as cotton.
  • Dress in layers so you can easily remove some of the layers when you are warm.
  • If you feel a hot flash coming on, drink a glass of cold water.
  • If troubled by night sweats, keep a cold facecloth or ice pack by your bed.
  • Consider investing in mattress pads or bedding that is designed to keep you cool
  • Decrease your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid spicy foods and hot drinks.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • The herb black cohosh is also widely used to treat hot flashes. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.

Vaginal Dryness and Urinary Problems

Physical problems are not limited to hot flashes. Your body undergoes lots of changes. Contrary to popular belief, you can maintain an active sex life. Try these tips:
  • Use a vaginal cream or lubricant (avoid petroleum jelly) to help reduce pain from dryness during sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate before and after sexual intercourse to help prevent bladder infections.
  • To help prevent urinary tract infections , drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder frequently.
  • Try Kegel exercises daily. These exercises, which tighten and relax the muscles you use to stop urination, strengthen the vaginal muscles, enhance orgasm, and help prevent incontinence .

Psychological Problems

It is not uncommon to feel anxious , irritable, or depressed . The following suggestions may help you:
  • Communicate openly with your partner about your symptoms and ask for support.
  • Join or even start a support group specific to menopause or other life changes you are experiencing.
  • Find and share support with colleagues at work who are going through the same experience.
  • Seek counseling .
  • Identify which sources of stress you can eliminate from your life.

Weight Gain

You may gain weight during this period, but it is something you can control. Proper diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and make you feel better.
  • Engage in an aerobic exercise . Talk with your doctor first about how long to exercise and how often.
  • Find ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Decrease your intake of saturated fat and calories, and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Menopause symptoms can be managed. Differences in symptoms are very individual. Talk with your doctor about your options.

RESOURCES

National Women's Health Resource Center http://www.healthywomen.org

The North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References

Acute cystitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 4, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Menopause. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq047.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130718T1434007150 . Accessed July 17, 2013.

Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated January 15, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Menopause relief and symptom treatments. US Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/ . Updated September 22, 2010. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Montemuro, S. Relieving the symptoms of menopause: From herbs to hormones. BCMJ . 2001;43(8):452-457.

Teoman N, Ozcan A, Acar B. The effect of exercise on physical fitness and quality of life in postmenopausal women. Maturitas . 2004 Jan 20;47(1):71-77.

Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated Jun 5, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2013.

1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Borrelli F, Ernst E. Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga racemosa ): a systematic review of adverse events. Am J Obstet Gynecol . 2008;199:455-466.

1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Kaszkin-Bettag M, Ventskovskiy BM, Solskyy S, et al. Confirmation of the efficacy of ERr 731 in perimenopausal women with menopausal symptoms. Altern Ther Health Med . 2009;15:24-34.

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