Menopause is a natural stage of life. Some women find that their symptoms go away by themselves, and some women just don’t find the symptoms very uncomfortable. But if you are bothered by symptoms, there are things you can do to relieve your discomfort.
1. Regular exercise.
Many women find that working out for an hour three or more times a week can relieve hot flashes. Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are good options. Staying active also reduces stress and anxiety. What’s more, it builds muscle and may reduce bone loss and fractures, which become more common as estrogen production reduces.
2. Keep a hot flash journal.
This may help you figure out what’s triggering your hot flashes. Is it an overheated bedroom? Spicy food? Stressful day? Knowing the cause may help you control hot flashes or at least reduce their frequency by avoid those things. In addition, Dress in layers and remove some when you feel a flash starting.
3. Watch what you eat.
Spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep and trigger a hot flash. Women who are affected by menopause symptoms can limit caffeine in the morning and avoid alcohol in the evening. Soy-based foods contain high levels of phytoestrogens, so eating a lot of tofu and soy milk can be helpful. It also helps to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
4. Stick to a regular schedule.
Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day, including weekends. If possible, eating your meals and snacks on a regular schedule. All of these help your body to withstand hormonal changes.
5. Breathe deeply.
Practice slow breathing from the abdomen. It is helpful to take six to eight deep breaths a minute when a flash starts. 15 minutes twice a day for this type of slowdown can relieve stress too. You may also benefit from adding yoga or meditation to your regimen.
6. Alleviate vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness can be very uncomfortable and may affect your normal sex life. A water-based and estrogen-free vaginal lubricants may provide relief. If not, your doctor might recommend a local vaginal hormone treatment via a ring, tablet, or cream.
7. Prevent bone loss.
Menopausal women typically lose a significant amount of bone mass because of hormonal changes. Now is the time to start adding extra dollops of calcium and vitamin D to your daily diet. In general, before menopause, you need about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. After menopause, you need 1,500 mg per day. Good sources are fruit juices, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach greens, almonds and soy milk.
8. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
If hot flashes, mood swings and other symptoms continue to make your life miserable after you make lifestyle changes, consult your doctor about HRT which can be very effective at helping with moderate to severe symptoms of menopause. Though it may increase your risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Ask your doctor whether HRT is right for you.
9. Consider unconventional treatments.
A randomized controlled trial of 267 women, published in the May/June 2009 issue of the journal Menopause, shows an overall reduction in hot flash frequency in women who received 10 acupuncture treatments over 12 weeks. Massage may also help in relieving anxiety, insomnia, and headaches.