As a woman, you’ve probably been dreading the end of your child-bearing years for many reasons. Menopause is usually foremost among women’s concerns. You’ve heard the horror stories of the unbearable symptoms that accompany this stage in womanhood. But there are things you can do to make your life much easier.
Our amazing care team at New England Women’s Healthcare is ready to help you with this very important stage in your life. Our team of OB/GYN specialists stays up-to-date with the best treatment options available to help you ease into this transition in your life.
When does menopause hit?
Menopause is the time in your life when you stop having menstrual cycles, meaning the end of your child-bearing years. This is a naturally occurring process that usually begins in your late 40s to mid 50s, but it can happen at any point in those years.
Menopause is divided into three stages — perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the time before the actual menopause stage, where your body is preparing and your hormones are changing.
Menopause is the actual time when you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. Your hormones change drastically during this period, bringing on a lot of undesirable symptoms. Menopause may last for several years in some instances.
Postmenopause is the rest of your life after you’ve not had your menstrual cycle for 12 months in a row. You can no longer conceive a child naturally, and your hormones have settled down.
Menopause hits each woman differently, and it can happen at any time after the age of 40. If you happen to start going through menopause earlier than 40, it’s considered premature menopause. No matter what stage you’re in, the symptoms can make life pretty uncomfortable for a while.
Here are the symptoms
While your symptoms probably aren’t exactly the same as other women your age, many are likely to be similar. They come about because of the extreme fluctuation in your hormones.
Perimenopause is when you may notice some of the blatant signs of your body changing. Symptoms during this stage in your life may include:
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood changes
- Dry skin
One of the hallmark signs of the beginning of menopause is missed or irregular menstrual cycles. As your hormones in your body change, they prepare your body to not be able to get pregnant. This is why you’ll miss a period for several months, or your bleeding may be erratic.
Although these symptoms are a nuisance, they’re relatively harmless. If you take care of yourself and get treatment when you need it, you should be able to sail through menopause pretty easily.
Tips for a healthy menopause transition
There isn’t much you can do while your body goes through this stage in your life. However, you can make the transition a lot easier on you and your body. Here are a few tips to help you make it through menopause:
Emotions run high during menopause, so taking some time for yourself to breathe and put your mind at ease can help with mood swings.
Drink plenty of water
Hot flashes take a lot out of you, including sweat. During menopause, you want to make sure you stay properly hydrated daily, which can help cool your body down as well.
Cool your bedroom
Insomnia is a real threat during this stage, partly due to hot flashes and chills. Keeping your bedroom nice and cool and sleeping in a light pair of pajamas may help your body relax so you can get some much needed sleep.
Vaginal dryness during menopause makes sex with your partner pretty uncomfortable. Finding a good lubricant may help you enjoy sex more, and make it a lot more pleasurable.
Eat a healthy diet
When your hormones are all over the place, it’s often hard to maintain a healthy weight. Adding plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and avoiding sugar can help you keep the excess weight off.
Caffeine and alcohol can be triggers for hot flashes or other symptoms. It’s important to either cut them out during menopause, or drink them only in moderation. The same goes for smoking, although quitting is really the best option to calm your symptoms.
When you’re dealing with menopause, a lot of treatments can calm your symptoms. To get started on a treatment plan, call one of our offices in Woburn or Wilmington, Massachusetts, at 781-787-3003. You can also request an appointment online with our booking tool.