Menopause is a natural process that occurs as women age. Each year in the United States, 1.3 million women enter into menopause. Menopause is clinically defined as a cessation of menses lasting 12 months or longer that is not associated with a medical pathology. In the course of their lives, all women will go through menopause at some point.
What Manages Menopause?
Menopause can have some pretty intense effects on our wellbeing. Some people go through menopause without ever experiencing any adverse side effects. However, most people experience some serious discomfort while going through menopause. Here’s how you can better manage this life changing condition.
10. Exercising Your Pelvic Floor
Menopause has many symptoms, but one of the most challenging is incontinence, or involuntary urination. Pelvic floor exercises strengthen your muscles and can help you to better control the urge to urinate.
How to Perform these Exercises
Perhaps the most well-known pelvic floor exercises are Kegels. To perform these exercises, first identify the muscles you need to work on. When urinating, stop the flow midway through; the muscles you just used are the muscles you need to concentrate on. Then, do the following:
- Clench the pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 times (a complete set).
- Complete 3 sets a day.
- Do not clench any muscles besides the pelvic floor (not your abs, thighs, etc.).
- Do not hold your breath.
- Do not do Kegels while urinating.
Another common symptom you can easily control are the following…
9. Managing Hot Flashes
Hot and cold flashes come with the changing hormones that cause menopause. Thankfully, there is a lot you can do to manage this condition. Ways to manage, prevent, or reduce the severity of hot flashes include:
- Wearing loose clothing or removable layers
- Not smoking
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods
- Losing weight (if overweight or obese)
- Carrying a mini fan with you
There are also steps you can take to reduce vaginal discomfort.
8. Reducing Vaginal Discomfort
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is vaginal discomfort. As estrogen levels drop, the vagina’s natural lubrication levels decrease. This symptom can lead to more frequent infections as well as physical discomfort.
How to Alleviate Vaginal Discomfort
To alleviate discomfort from the loss of natural moisture, the following may help:
- Vaginal lubricants
- Vaginal moisturizers
- Vaginal estrogen cream
- A nightly vaginal suppository
Some of these lubricants involve using estrogen, effectively making them a type of hormone therapy, which itself can also be a great way to combat menopause…
7. Trying Hormone Therapy
Menopause is caused by changing hormone levels, which means that these changes can be managed by hormone therapy. While this treatment might not be for everyone, it can be a great way to better control the worst symptoms of menopause.
Why Hormone Therapy Helps
Hormone therapy works by stabilizing your hormone levels. Specifically, this treatment replaces the hormones that the body stops producing during menopause, namely estrogen. Estrogen vaginal suppositories, as discussed earlier, are low-dose methods of hormone therapy.
For some women, systemic hormone therapy is necessary. This method introduces higher levels of hormone to the body over an extended period of time. This therapy can come in the form of patches, pills, creams, gels, sprays, and rings.
When menopause strikes, the risk of osteoporosis, making the following a critical part of menopause management…
6. Preventing Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis occurs alongside menopause in many people, as the hormones that are needed to keep bones strong are produced less during menopause. This can lead to weaker and more fragile bones.
How to Reduce Osteoporosis Risk
Osteoporosis can be either prevented outright or limited by the right treatments. These involve a variety of therapies, but can be as simple as vitamin D treatments, which helps your body process calcium.
The following method for managing menopause comes as a surprise to many…
5. Using Antidepressants
These treatments are usually designed to help people who are struggling with depression, but in small doses they can help with menopause symptoms as well. In low doses, people who have intense hot and cold flashes have reported that low doses of antidepressants can help. Of course, some women do experience depression during menopause, making this treatment method an attractive option for managing multiple menopause symptoms.
The upcoming medication wasn’t designed to treat menopause, but that also has some beneficial effects for menopausal women…
4. Taking Gabapentin
Gabapentin was originally designed to help people manage seizures, but it can also benefit people who are going through menopause.
Why Gabapentin Helps
These treatments can help people control hot and cold flashes just like low doses of antidepressants can. This treatment is often used by people who can’t take hormonal treatments for health reasons.
The following is an all-natural way to keep menopause symptoms under control…
3. Maintaining Your Weight
Menopause signals a slowing down of the body’s metabolism. As a result, rapid weight gain is common for people during this time. Of course, sudden weight gain isn’t healthy; left unchecked, someone can easily become overweight or obese, which increase the odds of several other health problems.
As such, menopausal individuals often need to both exercise more and do the following…
2. Improving Your Diet
Diets can help mitigate menopausal changes and make life more comfortable. There are a variety of ways improving your diet can help, including:
- Making hot flashes easier to handle thanks to an increase in iron intake
- Promoting better bone health with increase vitamin D intake
- Managing weight by cutting unhealthy foods and unnecessary calories
If nothing else, the following behaviors can improve menopausal health perhaps better than anything else…
1. Avoiding Alcohol and Cigarettes
While some alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, cigarettes should be avoided all together. These substances can harm your health under the best of circumstances, but can really have impact when you are going through menopause. Cigarettes in particular make it harder to manage your weight and can increase the severity of mood swings that come with menopause.