You may be thinking you are too young to have to worry about menopause, which is the period of time for women where hormones are raging in all the wrong ways as their bodies transition out of the childbearing years.
“That’s something my great grandmother has to, unfortunately, deal with — not me!” you say to yourself. And yet, you just turned 52, and you’re suddenly experiencing random mood swings, night sweats, weight gain, insomnia – and ohhhh, the hot flashes. Luckily, menopause is a normal sign of aging and will pass. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are practical tips out there to help you deal with menopause.
1. AVOID HOT PLACES
Hot flashes are the absolute worst. While you can take estrogen pills and other medications, a natural solution is to make sure you are always in a cool environment. This may mean turning the home thermostat down to 65 degrees at night, drinking lots of cool water, and avoiding hot or spicy food. Another cool tip is to start your day dressed in layers. As you feel hot, remove layers to regain a comfort level.
2. MANAGE STRESS
When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that can cause everything from hot flashes to mood swings, weight gain, and insomnia. Keep a diary to track what stresses you out (hint: it may also be the foods you are eating) and then slowly remove those stressors from your life. Meditation and low-impact exercises such as yoga can also help you regulate breathing and keep you in a constant state of peace.
3. EAT RIGHT
Reduce refined sugar and processed foods. Also, eat protein-rich foods and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your day. All of this will help balance your hormones and curb weight gain, depression, and even the occasional bout of forgetfulness. Drinking at least 8-12 glasses of water a day can also help reduce bloating, increase your metabolism, and avoid dryness.
4. TALK WITH YOUR PARTNER
One symptom of menopause that most women would prefer not to talk about is a decreased sex drive. Not only is the desire not there, but vaginal dryness may be causing pain that further disrupts their sex life. To combat this, have open conversations with your partner about needs and expectations. Vitamin E and flaxseed oil have also been known to provide relief for vaginal and urinary symptoms.
5. MAINTAIN REGULAR EXAMS WITH YOUR DOCTOR
As they say, you can’t treat problems you don’t know about or fully understand. Keep up with routine exams such as pap smears and mammograms and talk openly with your doctor about any nagging symptoms of menopause that are disrupting your quality of life. Together, you can explore natural treatments or those that involve stronger medication.
The takeaway is that menopause is not a disease. It is a sign of aging that will eventually pass. Having the right mindset and a plan to tackle any temporary symptoms you do face will go a long way toward helping you stay happy and healthy.
*This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, please consult a doctor about your specific situation.