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Not Your Mother's Menopause: Tips to Manage your Menopause Naturally

Gone are the days when menopause was referred to quietly as "the change." Today, women are taking charge of their menopausal symptoms so they can feel like themselves again. Common symptoms associated with menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, night sweats, forgetfulness, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms are different for every woman and can range in severity from mild to moderate to severe. With so many women concerned about news flashes on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) treatments that vary as much as hot flashes, there is a great demand for "natural" or non-prescription options to relieve everyday symptoms. The good news is that from dietary to lifestyle changes, there are many simple ways to try to manage mild to moderate menopausal symptoms. For those women with moderate to severe menopausal symptoms or for those whose symptoms continue to be disruptive despite trying these tips, it is time to consult your healthcare provider.

Managing your Moods:

Mood swings may be the most dreaded menopausal symptom. . .by others! Mood swings can be unpredictable and stressful. . .for you as well as your relatives, friends, and colleagues. If you are a woman of a certain age (the average age of menopause is 51, but women may begin having symptoms years earlier), and the slightest request from your husband or best friend results in an unpleasant or exaggerated response, it may be an early sign of menopause. While irritability is not a direct symptom of menopause, there are many factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and hormonal fluctuations that can contribute to behavioral changes during this time. Some simple methods that may alleviate emotional symptoms include regular, aerobic exercise; practicing relaxation techniques; stretching exercises, yoga or tai chi; a hot bath or massage; or just simply talking to friends and family. Find out what works for you. . .and what doesn't.

Beat the Heat:

Hot flashes are the most well-known menopausal symptom as well as one of the most common complaints of women entering menopause. If you have had one there is no mistaking it: an intense feeling of heat in the upper body followed by hot sweats and sometimes heart palpitations. While there is no one remedy that eliminates hot flashes, there are plenty which may ease the symptoms. Certain common triggers that might set off a hot flash include alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and smoking; eliminate them. While these contribute to stress, you need to take steps to reduce stress. Herbal supplements containing black cohosh, such as taking Estroven, may also help ease the severity of a hot flashes.

Feeling sexy again:

While menopause marks the end of a woman's reproductive cycle, it does not signify the end of her sexuality or the end of her femininity. To sooth the vaginal dryness and itching that comes with menopause, women can use a vaginal moisturizer as well as an intimate lubricant during intercourse to help replenish the body's natural moisture. In addition, communication is one of the most important factors in keeping your sex life alive. While your body may be going through some changes, you will never outgrow your need for affection, intimacy, and emotional closeness. Speaking openly and honestly with your significant other is key to bringing back that loving feeling.

Menopause is not a disease or a disorder, but a transitional stage in a woman's natural life-cycle. While menopausal symptoms can create confusion for some women and disrupt the activities of daily living for others, the good news is that there are now a wide range of menopausal treatment options available, from Estroven to estrogen. Making dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes may also be helpful. When your self-remedies aren't enough, however, please consult your healthcare provider.

For more information on menopause, click here.

Created: 5/20/2007  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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