Dealing With Menopause: 4 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself
- Dr. Srividya Kalavagunta
- 4 Min Read
Menopause is just a stage in a woman’s life and its symptoms can be eased by lifestyle modifications and treatment prescribed by your doctor. This article contains tips that can help you deal with some of the most common symptoms a woman faces during menopause.
Generally, women start experiencing menopausal symptoms during the early 40’s actual menopause in Indian women occurs a bit later. The natural menopause age of Indian women was determined to be 46 ± 5 years. The most prominent sign of menopause is when a woman has not had periods for one year consecutively.
Many of these menopausal symptoms can be prevented by timely intervention, such as exercise, a balanced diet, and not smoking not only significantly reduce the odds of developing diseases associated with menopause, but also curb the weight gain many women experience during menopause.
Cooling down hot flashes
Hot flashes are sudden feelings of heat and often drenching sweat that last anywhere from 30 seconds to about five minutes. The exact cause is not known but experts believe that it has something to do with blood vessels near the skin widening. These sudden bursts, especially at night, can cause fatigue, irritability and even forgetfulness. For 10 to 15 percent of women, hot flashes are so severe that they disrupt normal functions, such as leading a meeting or sticking to a schedule.
The fix: Keep a track of things that are responsible for the hot flashes, maybe warm temperatures, hot beverages, spicy food or stress. Once you identify these triggers you will be able to avoid hot flashes. Wearing comfortable clothes and dressing in layers so you can easily remove clothes if you get hot. Use cold water and pre-treated wipes, sleeping in a cool room, breathing exercises and supplements can help relieve the flashes. It is advised to speak with a doctor before going for any supplement.
Treating vaginal changes
During menopause, the estrogen levels dip leading to thinning of the vaginal epithelium. Later, as the vaginal epithelium further atrophies, vaginal dryness and irritation occur which causes painful or unpleasant sexual intercourse. Inflammation in the vaginal walls can also lead to pelvic pain or bleeding.
Dealing with irregular periods
Contrary to popular belief, menopause doesn’t mean you wake up one day and your periods are just gone for good, never to return. Your hormones become more erratic which leads to unpredictable bleeding patterns. Typically, a woman will begin to have periods that are different than usual: lighter, heavier, shorter or longer. Some women will begin skipping periods altogether. Only about 10% of women stop menstruating completely without seeing some sort of previous irregularity in their periods
Coping with mood swings
Studies suggest that mood swings are more common during the beginning stages of menopause. There’s no direct link between mood swings and reduced estrogen levels but mood changes are highly possible due to hormonal fluctuations disrupting a woman’s established patterns of life.
The fix: Certain lifestyle changes like getting more sleep, exercising daily, eating healthy and pursuing a hobby can help deal with the mood swings. If none of these is helping, then the next and the best route is to consult a doctor. Doing so can help you clear your mind and understand your symptoms and will be able to manage them better.
Lifestyle changes that can help deal with menopause
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid trigger foods
- Eat protein-rich foods
- Get ample vitamin D and calcium
- Don’t skip meals
- Stay hydrated
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise every day
- Practise yoga or meditation
Menopause is not a disease but a stage in your life. Dealing with symptoms can be challenging but certain lifestyle modifications and regular doctor visits can help alleviate them.