Learn Four Ways to Deal With Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is the natural point in your life at which your reproductive capabilities cease and you no longer have a menstrual cycle. It means you can no longer become pregnant because your body is out of eggs. Menopause occurs at different times for each woman, but if yours occurs after you are 40 years of age, it is normal.
You may also experience several years of perimenopause before your cycle fully stops. During perimenopause, your body gradually produces less of the hormone called estrogen. Then you may start to experience early menopausal symptoms.
Menopausal symptoms come in many forms. Hot flashes are the most common and notorious. They can also trigger or add to other menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia. Other symptoms of menopause that can impact your life include mood swings and trouble thinking clearly at times.
Those and other symptoms may make it difficult for you to get daily tasks done and cause conflicts in your relationships with your loved ones. However, many of them are controllable. Below are four ways to deal with some common menopause symptoms.
Tip 1. Cool Yourself Down
When you enter menopause, the internal thermostat in your body changes, which causes hot flashes. Experts believe it happens because changes occur in your hypothalamus, which is the area of your brain that controls your body temperature. When your brain thinks your core temperature is too hot, it triggers hot flashes to drop your temperature.
Since hot flashes are connected to other menopause symptoms like difficulty concentrating or lack of sleep, you need to get them under control quickly. Some ways to control hot flashes include:
- Identifying and avoiding potential hot flash triggers, such as spicy foods or stress.
- Regulating your environmental temperature using fans or an air conditioner.
- Layering your clothing so you can remove some when you are too warm.
- Drinking cool beverages.
Cooling down hot flashes at night is also important to minimize night sweats and sleep comfortably. One way to do that is to wear light pajamas and sleep under multiple sheets, removing some as needed.
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You must also keep your head as cool as possible. To do so, put an ice pack or package of frozen vegetables under your pillow. Then flip the pillow over whenever you wake up. Also, make sure the temperature in your bedroom is cool.
Tip 2. Find Ways to Get Some Sleep
Insomnia is another symptom of menopause that can cause a cascade effect of other symptoms. For example, if you are not sleeping enough, you may have trouble with memory or concentration. You may also become irritable or feel fatigued during the day.
Sleep problems can occur due to hot flashes and night sweats, but you may also have trouble sleeping when those symptoms are not present. Some potential ways to sleep easier at night include:
- Avoiding consuming too much water, caffeine or alcohol before bed.
- Avoiding napping during the day.
- Going to bed at the same time each night.
- Meditating or exercising during the day.
If you still cannot sleep after trying those techniques, you may need an herbal or medicinal sleep aid. Try herbal tea or an over-the-counter sleep remedy. Talk to your doctor if that is unsuccessful. He or she may give you a prescription for a stronger anti-insomnia medication.
If your insomnia still persists, he or she may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The purpose of HRT is to replace some of the hormones lost during menopause to reverse its strongest symptoms.
Tip 3. Clear Your Head
Some of the symptoms you experience during menopause that annoy you most are probably related to your head. At times, you may feel as if you are in a mental fog or find it difficult to remember seemingly simple things. It is unclear why such symptoms are common during menopause, but they may not be related to menopause itself according to Harvard Medical School experts. It is more likely your other menopausal symptoms are stressful, and stress is what is causing your concentration lapses.
Most experts agree the key to maintaining focus and concentration is to keep your brain active. Therefore, if you suffer from short-term memory lapses or concentration problems, you need to give your brain a new challenge. Starting a new hobby is one way to do so. You can also challenge your brain with logic puzzles or by learning a new skill, such as how to play an instrument or paint.
Another head-related menopause symptom you may have is frequent or intense headaches or migraines. Migraines are headaches that hurt so much they prevent you from functioning normally. They can also cause debilitating nausea and vomiting.
The reduction in estrogen that occurs when you enter menopause may trigger them. To control your headaches and migraines, avoid triggers like strong odors and bright lights. If your symptoms are severe, ask your doctor about medication you can take to control them.
Tip 4. Improve Your Mood
The emotional symptoms of menopause may trouble you as much as your physical symptoms. They are similar to those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The hormonal changes you experience, particularly a reduction in estrogen, can trigger them. Some signs menopause may be affecting your mood are:
- Anxiety or aggression.
- Fatigue or lethargy.
- Depression or sadness.
- Unprovoked or exaggerated irritability.
There is no quick remedy for menopausal mood changes. However, you can avoid substances or situations that make them worse, such as alcohol and stressful confrontations. Taking up an enjoyable hobby or sporting activity is another way to improve your mood.
Additionally, the use of meditation or regularly performing techniques like tai chi or yoga may help you reduce mood swings. To maximize your chances of staying in a good mood during menopause, stay active and schedule fun events with loved ones. Depression or sadness may worsen when you are alone.
If those techniques do not alleviate your mood swings, medication may be the answer. In particular, medication is essential when you are suffering from severe depression or anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or other mood-stabilizing medication for you. He or she may also refer you to a therapist for emotional support until your menopausal mood swings are under control.
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