Menopause is a fact of life. There is no way to get away from it. It is a gradual process that takes years to go through. This process usually starts around the 51st year but there are a lot of people that start this process in their 40’s. It’s a confusing and emotional time with your body going through many changes. Sometimes you can feel all alone but you are not, there are many women going through the exact same thing that you are right now.
Let’s talk about common symptoms, that you can experience. During this period your body is changing, and you will go through different stages. The first thing is that your menstrual cycle will change. Your period may start to come at different times, even if you have been regular before. Most people skip periods or even get them closer together. Another common symptom is having hot flashes or night sweats. Your mood may vary, and you may find yourself being more depressed or anxious than usual. A few more symptoms that you can experience include vaginal dryness, pain during sex, loss of bladder control, skin changes and a lower sex drive.
What can you do to reduce some symptoms?
Let’s start with the most common symptom, hot flashes. You never know when a hot flash will occur or how long they last, but they can make you uncomfortable. If you are one of the many women to suffer from hot flashes there are a few remedies that you can try to reduce your hot flashes. Some items that you should avoid is spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and stop smoking. Try and keep your house at a comfortable temperature and cool especially at night. Dress in layers so that when you do experience a hot flash you can take off a layer or two until you are more comfortable. Finally, try and maintain a healthy body weight and get regular aerobic exercise, the best thing is 30 mins 5 times a week.
How can you reduce pain during sex?
As you go through menopause you can find that sex will be more painful. There are a few things that you can do. Any sexual activity that you will have will help keep your vagina moist, this does not have to be intercourse. Another thing to try is using a lubricant before having sex.
Overall there are a lot of general menopausal and premenopausal symptoms. Finding relief for these symptoms can be hard. One thing that has shown some relief is soy supplements. But there is no proof that any other herbal remedies will provide relief. Finally, in women who are overweight or obese, weight loss has been seen to benefit menopausal symptoms.
Menopause can be a confusing time. If you are worried about what is going on with you or even just want to talk to a professional. Our Nurse practitioners are here for you and can answer all the questions that you have.