Menopause isn’t a one-size-fits-all event. It affects every woman differently. Some women reach natural menopause with little or no trouble; others experience severe symptoms that drastically hamper their lives. And when menopause starts suddenly as a result of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, the adjustment can be tough. The following are menopausal symptoms that many women experience, though the intensity can vary.
As menopause approaches, a woman’s menstrual periods will change. But those changes can vary from woman to woman – periods may get shorter or longer, heavier or lighter, with more or less time between periods. Such changes are normal, but the National Institute on Aging recommends seeing a doctor if your periods come very close together, if you have heavy bleeding or spotting, and if your periods last more than a week.
Hot flashes (or hot flushes) are common of menopause. A hot flash is a brief feeling of heat that may make the face and neck flushed, cause temporary red blotches to appear on the chest, back, and arms. Sweating and chills may follow. Hot flashes vary in intensity and typically last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Dressing in light layers, using a fan, getting regular exercise, avoiding spicy foods and heat, and managing stress may help you deal with hot flashes.
Nighttime hot flashes can hamper sleep and cause night sweats. Try these sleep tips:
- Use a fan in your bedroom.
- Avoid heavy bedding.
- Choose light cottons or sheer materials for your nightclothes.
- Keep a damp cloth nearby to cool yourself if you wake up feeling hot and sweaty.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom; they give off heat.
Less estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness, which may make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. Try using a water-soluble lubricant. Libido may also change, for better or worse, but many factors besides menopause – including stress, medications, depression, poor sleep, and relationship problems – affect sex drive. Talk to your doctor if sex problems occur – don’t settle for a so-so sex life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy can ease menopausal symptoms. Various prescription products are available to treat hot flashes and vaginal symptoms. The FDA recommends taking the lowest dose that helps, and only for the shortest time because studies have linked long-term use of hormone replacement therapy to a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer.
Menopause Health Risks
With menopause comes a greater chance of heart disease (which is the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. women) and osteoporosis (thinning bones, seen here). Loss of estrogen may play a role in heart disease after menopause, but hormone replacement therapy is not recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease or a stroke. Of course, heart and bone health is important throughout a woman’s life, but menopause means it’s really time to step up and get serious about it.
Living a healthy lifestyle is important throughout a woman’s life. And, it’s not too late to start at menopause. Get a checkup that includes measuring your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar and make appointments for routine screenings such as mammograms. Menopause is also a great time to upgrade your diet, physical activity, and stress management skills.
Active Menopause Is a Must
One of the smartest things a woman can do as she transitions to menopause and afterward is to get regular physical activity. That includes aerobic exercise for her heart and weight-bearing exercise for her bones – both of which may help ward off weight gain and provide a mood boost. Even if a woman hasn’t been very active in her younger years, it’s never too late to start. Menopause is a new beginning, and the perfect time to weave more activity into your life.
A New Era Starts
Western culture has long been obsessed with youth. But today’s post-menopausal women are making the most of – and even celebrating – their new phase of life. Instead of looking back mournfully, physician-author Christiane Northrup recommends using it as a time to redefine yourself with positive thoughts, love yourself, explore what brings you pleasure, and revive (not retire) your sex life.
We all know that declined estrogen levels are the main cause of Menopause symptoms. Increasing estrogen levels naturally is the safest and most effective way to counteract menopausal symptoms. The Manna Menopause Support supplement was formulated with well researched plant derived estrogens, called phyto-estrogens to increase estrogen levels without side effects.
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