If you are in your mid-fifties, you don’t need anyone describing the life and times of Menopause. You’ve been there and done that! Or you’re doing that…
Hooray for YOU!!
You have survived the dreaded menopause! Not a disease, but a course of life that comes to one and all. Just another perk of being a woman. There is life after you get through the burning inferno of dropping estrogen.
For those of you just looking ahead to this incredibly, unsatisfying time of life, let’s talk about what it is and what it isn’t.
A shift in hormone levels. Less estrogen, more testosterone.
A decrease in fertility due to decreased egg production.
A normal part of aging.
Menopause is NOT…
Always as bad as you think…but sometimes it is. Everyone is different!
So, if you are in pre-menopause, the erratic menstrual cycles warning you that change is on the way, or you have arrived at your last period here are some symptoms you many experience.
Hot Flashes– The hallmark symptom of menopause. That sensation of burning up in a desert in peak of summer desert season. If can be accompanied with flushing, heart palpitations and even anxiety. It can be more intense at night. They range in severity and frequency.
Mood Disturbances- You can thank the drop in estrogen for this. This can be anything from general grouchiness to full on depression and anxiety. You may cry for no real reason. You may even feel like you are losing your ever loving mind but you aren’t.
Difficulty Sleeping- This may be in part to the night sweats and hot flashes that keep you up too.
Memory Problems- This typically resolves after menopause.
Vaginal Dryness- The lower levels of hormones creates dryness and the tissue to become thinner. It can make intercourse painful.
Brittle Bones- Your bones can take a hit as well with the lowered estrogen.
There are ways to manage menopause so you don’t completely lose your mind. Consulting your provider at Madison Women’s Clinic is the best place to start. They will help you navigate these sometimes uncomfortable changes.
There are a few things you can do on your own to manage these symptoms and they are things you have heard before…Maintain a good healthy diet, weight and lifestyle. Exercise is good for your mind and your bones and can also help you deal with the mood changes and anxiety you may feel. Try to eliminate your bad habits such as caffeine consumption, smoking and drinking. Your body is using all sorts of energy as these changes take place so give it a break and stay as healthy as possible.
When you understand what is happening to your body, you can try to stay ahead of the game. There are often triggers that can throw you into a hot flash, like stress and anxiety, even some foods. Pay attention to these triggers and take steps to eliminate them or at least control them better.
Above all else…remember you are not alone in this. It happens to the best of us…all of us! Most of these discomforts resolve after menopause. If they become to troublesome, your doctor can prescribe estrogen replacement and provide you with other ways to manage the symptoms.