In honor of the beginning of a new decade, let’s talk about 10 things that you can do this year to ease menopause symptoms.
1. Cultivate an accepting attitude toward menopause - Ours is a culture of youth and we all want to feel (and look) as young as possible. But menopause is a natural aging process. Realizing and accepting that you are aging and that these changes are natural and healthy will make going through menopause easier. It’s a case of seeing the glass as half-full as opposed to half-empty.
2. Build a good relationship with your doctor - Going through menopause is life-changing physically, mentally and emotionally. Having a medical professional with whom you can work closely and who you can consider as a partner in safeguarding your health is important. Your doctor can provide you with the latest information and advise you on what you should consider doing to successfully make this transition. And if you’re not happy with his/her advice, be sure to get a second medical opinion or consider changing doctors so you have someone that you trust.
3. Seek out older women who can be role models - I am finding that there are a number of talented, intelligent and sexy women who have already gone through menopause. Tapping into their accumulated knowledge can help you identify how you can successfully make this journey.
4. Focus on diet and exercise – On oprah.com, Dr. David Katz notes the multiple challenges that women face – weight gain, heart health, and bone health -- as they enter menopause. “Your primary defense is to eat well and be physically active,” he said. A Mediterranean diet of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains can help control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In addition, the fiber from these foods can make you feel full.
5. Speaking of exercise, try yoga – More.com reported that the journal Menopause found that yoga can help ease hot flashes and mood swings. Additionally, yoga helps reduce stress.
6. Embrace massages – I became a big proponent of these in my 20s and found them incredibly rejuvenating when I was a caregiver for mom. First of all, massage puts us in touch with what’s going on in our bodies. Reflexology and acupressure can assist the body in rebalancing different bodily systems. Additionally, massagetherapy.com notes that an online survey found a correlation between stress and menopausal symptoms. Massage is a great stress-reducing activity. And it can help ease joint pain, which some women who are going through menopause experience.
7. Stop multi-tasking and concentrate - Although it’s a normal part of our lives, multi-tasking is really difficult for your brain to do. And as we age, the brain has more difficulty processing and storing information. Therefore, the more information coming at you, the more often you will experience memory lapses (i.e., “Where did I leave the keys?”). By developing a system of where you put things and by concentrating on one situation at a time, you can better focus your brain on what really matters at that moment.
8. Get some space when having hot flashes - In a recent Dear Abby column, “Hot Flash Hilda” noted that her husband like to snuggle, but that proved problematic when she was having a hot flash. Abby suggested that Hilda explain to her husband about what a woman experiences when having a hot flash. If he didn’t understand, Abby suggested preheating the oven to 450 degrees for 15 minutes, opening the door, and asking the husband to lean in so he could experience what a hot flash feels like first hand.
9. Look for dietary triggers to hot flashes - I found that I am more prone to hot flashes if I’m imbibed a beer. Another friend said that vodka triggers her hot flashes. So take time to analyze whether what you’re eating or drinking may be tied to the days you have hot flashes.
10 Catch your ZZZZZs – Sleep is important in dealing with perimenopause. Sleeping issues can cause memory lapses, fatigue, weight gain, and cardiovascular issues. Therefore, more.com recommends that you may want to explore medications that will help you sleep or routines (exercise, relaxation techniques, and dietary choices) that help you wind down.
This Top 10 list isn’t comprehensive. Do you have other ideas of what you’d include on your Top 10 list? What have you learned about perimenopause and menopause?
Published On: January 11, 2010