Menopause is brought on by a hormonal change initiated by the ovaries. In some women, this can begin as early as the late thirties, when the ovaries begin to slow their production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. When a woman is in her early fifties, the ovaries stop producing eggs altogether, making monthly periods unnecessary. Once a woman is without a monthly period for one year, menopause has officially been reached.
With the hormonal changes of menopause comes a litany of less-than-pleasant symptoms. From hot flashes to insomnia and mood swings, menopause symptoms are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Here are doctor-approved ways to find menopause relief from the worst menopause symptoms.
Eat soy. Studies are inconclusive, but many women find that adding this mildly estrogenic food to a healthy diet can reduce the occurrence of hot flashes. If it is going to work, 1 or 2 months should show results. Soy milk and edamame are excellent ways to get the benefits of soy.
As mentioned previously, calcium and vitamin D are excellent nutrients to consume during menopause. If adding foods containing these nutrients to your diet doesn’t seem to help, you can take vitamin D and calcium supplements. The recommended amounts are 800 units and 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day, respectively.
Layer. Wearing multiple layers of clothing is the best way to handle hot flashes when you are out in public. Natural fibers like cotton and linen will help wick moisture away from your skin and into the air, helping to keep you cool during even the most intense hot flash.
Use lubrication. The lower estrogen levels of menopause can cause vaginal dryness, but it can be combated with over-the-counter lubricants like Astroglide or K-Y products and moisturizers like Replens or Vagisil. A doctor can also prescribe topical medications that contain estrogen, but these may not be any more effective than the over-the-counter products. Also, having regular sexual intercourse can help by increasing blood flow to the area which increases lubrication naturally.
Stay hydrated. Hot flashes and night sweats can contribute to dehydration, so it is important to drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated can ward bring menopause relief to symptoms such as dry skin and fatigue. Try to drink at least 6 cups of water a day.
Relax. Studies have shown that women with high stress levels have more hot flashes than those with normal stress levels. By using meditation and other relaxation techniques, you can lower your anxiety level and your risk for hot flashes along with it.
Practice healthy habits. Falling estrogen levels during menopause can cause bone density loss and even memory problems. Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise like walking, can help reduce the risk of these side effects. Many women find it helps put off weight gain, insomnia and stress as well.
A diet high in fiber, calcium and vitamin D helps promote satiety and keeps weight gain and mood imbalances at bay, reduces constipation associated with lower estrogen levels and assists in keeping bones strong. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine. They are stimulants that dehydrate the body, which can make hot flashes worse. Furthermore, caffeine can reduce the amount of calcium you absorb, contributing to bone loss. Spicy foods can also increase the risk for hot flashes, so avoid these if you find this to be true for you.
Although hot flashes and night sweats can make sleeping difficult, getting adequate rest can curb menopause symptoms. Try turning down the thermostat, wearing comfortable pajamas, consuming less caffeine and setting a regular schedule for going to sleep and getting up. Also skip the tempting afternoon nap and try deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation to promote relaxation and sleepiness.
For more information about menopause relief and treatment just click here.