Menopause Matters - Coping with Menopause


 

 

Coping with Menopause

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       Coping With Menopause

        Women Handle Menopause Differently


Despite the fact that there are a number of commonalities in menopause symptoms and experiences, each woman will still handle menopause differently. You can speak to older family members or friends who have already experienced the menopausal transition – you will find that even though they share some experiences, each woman has her own unique stories and symptom combination's during this change of life.

But why do women have such varying experiences and differences in women's health? One key reason is that each woman enters the menopausal transition at her own unique health-point. Your genetics, previous health conditions, mental health, menstrual cycle and hormonal levels are specific to your body and will not be perfectly matched by another woman. Your own ways of handling emotions and changes will also be unique to your body and your mental health or your emotional health. Each woman's health and environment will similarly vary and your ability to handle menopause relates to your communication and relationships with family, friends and your partner.

Even if every woman experienced exactly the same pattern and timing of menopause symptoms, there would still be enormous variation in how each woman handles menopause. Your personality and communication style will greatly influence the ease at which you transition through menopause. Women who 'clam up' and tend to avoid talking about their feelings may internalise their difficulties with menopause, which can ultimately make the transition far more challenging.



If each day of your menopausal transition is like living on a constant roller coaster, you can choose to climb off the ride now. There are a number of strategies to handle your wild emotions. You may not be able to stop each of your emotions, however, you can put in effort to handle them in a way that helps, rather than fuels the mood swings. You will find in the  toolkit for healing   many inspirations and methods for handling the up and downs of your emotions.


First and foremost, lifestyle changes can have a large impact on the emotional aspects of menopause.

Most of us will be grumpy if we don't get enough rest and suffer from insomnia, whether we are menopausal or not! Try to ensure you make enough time for sleep each night; it can help to keep your room dark and quiet to prevent insomnia.

Eat consistent, healthy meals to keep blood sugar stable and try to fit in some exercise each day, even if it is only a ten-minute to half hour walk outside near your house. Ideally, you should aim for moderate to high-intensity exercise at least three times a week. You can encourage the production of your body's 'feel good' chemicals known as endorphins. These are natural mood enhancers that can help you to feel more positive and less emotional. It's also helpful to avoid or limit alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.

Some women find that calming practices such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises help them to cope with stress and remain relaxed and stable. Other ways to ease your way through the roller coaster emotions of menopause include finding new outlets for your own personal creativity. Consider trying a new hobby. Use this time of physical and emotional change to find and nurture new talents and activities that you enjoy.

Meditation  / → Yoga

   

During the time leading up to menopause as well as during the postmenopausal period, a woman can begin to feel unsettled and anxious. She may also feel irritable and less like her usual self.
  • There are also other, more quiet, forms this crisis may take... such as:
  • An inner despair that no one else knows about.

  • A restlessness and disquiet that cannot be shaken, even though things look fine from the outside.

  • Efforts to try and shake your inner unhappiness with more work, more activities, or an extra drink or two at night

  • A deep unsettledness still comes to find you in the quiet when you are alone with your self and your own private thoughts. 

  • Old forgotten dreams are resurfacing in some unexpected and even unwelcome way

  • You feel you that you are just going through the motions in your major life roles - you wonder what happened to your enthusiasm.

  • You have an inner sense of feeling trapped - that perhaps no one else knows about or you would feel ashamed for anyone to know.

  • Those closest to you find you more difficult to get along with recently.

  • You are making or are considering making bold, high - consequence moves that you have not really thought through.

  • You are dealing with your inner discontent by not dealing with it.

  • You are having 'fantasies of escape' that scare you (or those close to you)

  • You are burying your feeling with overwork or substances
 


Communicate about your feelings

feel and express your feelings


Even though some women see menopause as a blessing in their life, a great number of women will view it as a curse. It is this negative approach to menopause that can form the basis of a challenging transition and poor communication and relationships throughout this change of life. Most people can use improvement in communication skills but it is during menopause that even those who usually communicate successfully may find themselves struggling with how to handle new mood swings and emotions.


Acknowledging your Moods → emotional health and healing

If you ignore your moods and relationships, you may ultimately pretend that you are fine during the menopausal transition when in reality, you are miserable. This can leave you lashing out and more frustrated with menopause. Sometimes, it can help to take a step back and simply acknowledge that you are grumpy and irritated. Having bad moods is not the same as poorly communicating those bad moods. Don't be too hard on yourself! While you can make lifestyle changes and use stress reduction techniques to improve your moods and relationships, it can be very helpful to be somewhat accepting of the moods. Respect and appreciate that you are human and you are going through what can be a challenging hormonal change of life.


Reducing Stress During the Menopausal Transition

stress management  stress reduction methods


One of the most important ways to communicate better during the menopausal transition is to work at reducing stress while improving relationships, which will decrease the likelihood that you have to even work at handling those difficult mood swings, depression or anger. Whether it involves taking up a new, enjoyable hobby or using aromatherapy or acupuncture for relaxation, reducing your stress will not only help you, but it will also help in your communication with those around you.
You are never too old to make changes to your communication style. In fact, you can begin by first viewing menopause as a healthy, natural and normal part of the ageing process. Once you are ready to approach your communication during menopause with a positive attitude, you can learn the skills and tools needed to communicate your needs more successfully and strengthen your relationships.


      


Building A Support Network For Women's Health During Menopause


Hopefully, you will already have a support network in place when you begin to experience the symptoms of menopause. For some, they may simply need to access or strengthen the support that is already in place. Those who are somewhat isolated for various reasons may need to garner their courage to reach out to the community and find women's groups or similar methods of support to help them connect with other women

There are few people who will successfully transition through life without any support whatsoever. Indeed, these people can perhaps consider themselves lucky although others would say that having a support network is not only important for helping each of us through difficult times such as the menopausal transition, but also for providing enjoyment and sharing in our lives.

No matter what types of support networks you need or how many you wish to have, it's important for most of us to have an outlet for venting our fears and challenges with the symptoms of the menopausal transition. Whether we gain valuable experience from these kinds of communication or not, simply feeling understood, supported and not being alone can make all the difference in facilitating a successful and happy transition through menopause.


      

________________________________________________________________________

Respecting Your Body

Recognising Your Unique Women's Health Needs


With all of the significant changes of menopause, it's easy to lose sight of your needs and care during this time. Coping with the menopausal symptoms can be challenging and overwhelming, particularly if you neglect to look after your physical and emotional needs. By nurturing your body and mind, however, you can improve your physical and emotional health – making menopause a positive time in your life.

When a woman enters menopause with a lack of care and respect for her body, this will show in how she treats her physical and emotional self. Rather than age gracefully and respect the changes that occur from the natural ageing process, she may ignore the changes and live an unhealthy lifestyle that includes a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking or excessive alcohol use. She may want to deny that ageing even occurs, which can lead to lifestyle choices that demonstrate her feeling of invincibility and a lack of respect for her body. Women who age gracefully, however, will nourish their bodies and minds with healthy choices and stress relieving practices. They respect that their physical and emotional bodies require nurturing and care to provide the best mobility and functioning for life.


     


Respecting your body is important not only because it will leave you feeling good, but it can also leave you looking your best. When your hormones decline due to the menopausal transition, your skin may seem less firm and elastic. This is partially related to your estrogen levels, which is one of the hormones that decline during the menopausal transition. Your genetics will also play a role in how you look and feel, although genetics are only one part of the equation. Respecting your body by embracing a healthy lifestyle is one of your most important approaches to looking your best before and after menopause. You may now want to experiment with more natural, complimentary makeup products and applications as well as using a quality skin care regiment to look your best.




The idea of nurturing your body and mind can seem like a clichéd one, but given the significant physical, emotional and mental changes that occur during the menopausal transition, taking care of your needs becomes more important than ever before.

For some women, menopause is a time when their careers are extremely hectic and home life is similarly busy, particularly if you have teen aged children in the home. You might find that you do the minimum you can to handle your physical menopause symptoms, while your emotional and mental women's health needs are completely ignored, perhaps even as you attend to the emotional needs of those around you.


There are, however, helpful ways to shift the focus back on yourself, which can allow you to nurture your mind and body throughout your menopausal change of life. The key will be to make a determined effort to schedule time for your own personal needs, rather than let them go ignored, as they may have been for some time now.




Focusing on new hobbies is a way to use the time of menopause to fully explore yourself. If you have always wanted to try out a yoga class but never seemed to find the time, make the time now for this kind of relaxing exercise. With so many changes happening in your body and mind, it's important to step back and nurture yourself by indulging in new activities that make you feel good.




Women have an unhealthy tendency to view themselves in a disjointed way. As their bodies change from menopause, this disjointed view can become even more pronounced. Rather than appreciate herself as a whole person, a woman will see herself as her 'fat' thighs, her 'unattractive' nose and various others critical pieces. On the other hand, women who age gracefully know that they are far more than each individual, physical apart. Not only that, but these women know that they are far more than their character or personality flaws. A woman who ages gracefully knows that her faults join with her positive traits to create an interesting and unique person. She may not love her thighs but she does love her hair, for example, and the sum of all parts is a positive number.


                                 Letting go


Unrealistic attitudes generally lead to disappointment. These attitudes tend to involve unrealistic expectations of how a woman 'should' be at a certain age as well as how she should behave. If you have the mindset that a woman should stop being sexual at menopause, you will act on that attitude and may then miss the intimacy and pleasure you had previously enjoyed with a partner. Alternately, you may have an unrealistic attitude towards your lifestyle, thinking that you are old now and no longer need to exercise and look after yourself. Unrealistic attitudes are normal only in the sense of being shared by many women, and they develop over time from preconceived notions of how a woman should look and behave during her life. These attitudes mean that you lose touch with reality and those around you because you are caught in a cloud of fantasy over how things should be.




Women who age gracefully tend to focus on the 'here and now.' This means letting go of the past and also letting go of regrets and negative perceptions. Focusing on the current reality allows you to be more accepting of yourself. A girl who is aged ten rarely thinks back to the time when she was five years old – wishing she could rewind the clock. Yet, women who are fifty can quite easily reminisce about their figure at age eighteen or their career at age forty. This kind of thinking stops you from enjoying your life and the positive benefits of the ageing process. It can also coincide with menopause, leaving you thinking back to your fertile years. While some sadness is normal, dwelling on the past is not only unhealthy, but it means that you will miss much of your current life. Women who age gracefully don't need to think back to their past with a wistful nostalgia because the present day is exciting and fulfilling.


        be gentle with yourself


The internal processes that occur during puberty, motherhood, menopause or any other profound change in your life require tremendous amounts of energy. Even if you provide yourself with very high quality nutrients and use your energy wisely, you may still feel unreasonably tired. Many cultures offer new borne and moms a quiet,

Alone month or more, allow menopausal women to retire for year or more while they Change, and give grieving parents/partners/children/friends time off from responsibility. If yours doesn't, if you can't, at least be gentle with yourself.


  • Give yourself a break:
Every hour, take a 60-second break. Breathe deeply; stand up and stretch; drink a glass of water or some herbal infusion. Schedule a regular time to meditate or take a nap every day. Small frequent rests help more than an extra hour of sleep; but do both if you can.

  • Set aside an hour a week to do something, indulgent   for yourself:
A long soak in a hot bath, a manicure, a walk alone in a beautiful place. Nourish yourself and you will have more energy to give to others.

  • Take time for yourself of when you find yourself crying, yelling, raging, depressed, out of control 
Create your own sacred space, even in a closet, where you can be alone, without responsibilities, where you can be safe to have every one of your feelings.

  • Begin (or deepen your commitment to working with) a journal as a way to care for yourself and your emotions. The Change is an opportunity to value your emotional self and to nourish all of your feelings, from grief to bliss, rage to outrageous

  • Treat yourself to a massage once a month.
(It needs not break your budget; find someone willing to barter for a skill or product you have.) A skillful massage releases tension, helping you get more benefit from your sleep and downtime, thus liberating more energy and helping you begin the upward spiral into increased vitality.

  • "Lower your standards." 
This advice, though difficult to hear, has been one of the most important guidelines for me   in choosing a life that delights and energizes me. It helped me choose to let the floor go unswept, the dishes unwashed, the beds unmade, while I gardened, or studied, or even just went for a walk in the woods. When I do the things I want to do I have LOTS more energy. What are you doing that saps your strength and erodes your delight in life? Find a way to quit, or at least cut down on the time you devote to it.

  • List ten good things about fatigue, laziness, lethargy, and procrastination.

I've found laziness to be my best guide to efficiency; lethargy has stopped me from taking foolish risks; and procrastination helps me find more efficient ways to proceed. Love and honor your fatigue for helping you conserve energy and giving you the time to find creative new ways to do the same old things.


Maintaining a Positive Attitude

One reason that some women manage to age gracefully is that they maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life. Rather than focus on the negative stereotypes of ageing, they view ageing, as a positive part of life that brings with it desired traits such as wisdom, maturity and personal character development. As you approach menopause or the post menopause stage, now is a wonderful time to consider how gracefully you are ageing and whether or not you can make improvements to your life.


             How to Handle

      Roller Coaster Emotions


   


Taking care of yourself is not an extra thing to add to your to - do  list. It is the foundation of life.


If you have already begun to experience symptoms associated with menopause, one of the most frustrating symptoms can be intense mood swing that seemingly come from nowhere at all. As estrogen levels decline, some women find that the common symptoms such as hot flashes and irregular periods are the least of their worries. Instead, huge mood swings and a feeling that you can't control your thoughts and temper can leave you feeling as though you are in a regular state of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). While the feelings are normal and are considered a natural albeit annoying part of menopause, there are fortunately ways to handle these wild, roller coaster emotions that affect women's health.


What about me? 

This is a question I have heard a lot from middle aged women.


It s important that you attend to your own needs. 

We women are socialized to identify with our roles as wives and mothers. And, depending upon what you saw your mother do, you may well engage in behavior that puts your own authentic needs last while you go about the business of tending to your husband and children.

Many women have been shamed by their families for even having needs, let alone asking that these needs be met. A stay-at-home mom needs to learn to say, “I’ve had a very long day. I need 30 minutes alone to take a bath. Please assist me by doing the dishes and feeding the dog so that I can take the time I need.” Notice there is no pleading, no whining, no justification. Just a straightforward articulation of a need.


Here’s another important point:


Most women have been socialized to put their husband’s needs and desires ahead of their own. Worse still, we’ve been socialized to believe that a man can fulfill you. This is a myth, pure and simple. Women need good friends to hang out with, to talk with, to travel with, to have fun with. Your husband simply cannot do for you what girlfriends can.

Rather than think that you need a new man; you need to become a new woman. You need to put your own fulfillment and pleasure first on the list. Yes - we get enormous pleasure from providing for others. But you have to make sure this doesn’t disintegrate into self-sacrifice, which inevitably leads to resentment.


       


What Feelings do Some Women Experience in Menopause?

While the range of emotions that a woman can experience during the perimenopause and menopause phases is broad, common emotions include:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Anger
  • Uncharacteristic aggression
  • Poor motivation
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Exhaustion.

You may even experience none of these although most women can expect some changes to their emotions during the menopausal transition. Others will find they feel all of these emotions, which can not only leave a woman feeling terrible but can also wreak havoc with her relationships and her ability to function at work and in her home. You should also keep in mind that these emotions may coincidentally occur at the same time as your menopausal transition but they may ultimately be unrelated to menopause. Many other conditions can cause you to feel upset or anxious. It's a good idea to speak to your doctor to ensure that your emotional changes are, in fact, due to menopause.


       


Risk Factors for Depression During Menopause


There are some people who are more susceptible to the feelings of depression during menopause. Risk factors for depression during menopause include:

  • Stressful events occurring at the same time as menopause
  • Severe symptoms of menopause
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking or no exercise
  • Negative image associated with menopause
  • Regrets that you can no longer have children
  • Having experienced depression prior to menopause
  • Poor support network during menopause
  • Dissatisfaction with your relationship or career
  • Financial difficulties
  • Poor self-confidence and low body image

     


Natural Ways to Experience Relief


There are also ways to encourage healthy, happy moods and a reduction in depression and menopausal symptoms without the use of hormonal replacement or antidepressant therapy. You may find that these suggestions alone are sufficient or you may use them in combination with medications. Consider one or more of the following to help prevent and treat menopausal symptoms and the symptoms of depression:

 

  toolkit for healing


 → homeopathy


releasing your emotions


stress reduction methods


 meditation


 yoga


nutrition and diet


Find a new creative hobby
healing art therapies

Obtain support from friends and family


Engage in calming practices such as yoga or meditation

 → EFT
hypnotherapy

 Delegate work

Letting go 

Get involved in a woman's group

Eat a healthy, balanced diet


Obtain exercise on a regular basis


Avoid or limit alcohol consumption
Quit smoking
 

 


Experiencing a Positive Menopausal Transition


While you can take measures to prevent depression symptoms from occurring, if they do strike, you should feel comfortable seeing your doctor for treatment or visit a homeopath to help you with any emotional turmoils or mood swings. Although it is expected that menopause can be a challenging time with numerous physical and emotional symptoms, you should not be miserable each day. There are ways to prevent and address the symptoms of depression but your doctor is an important professional to help ensure you get the best treatment possible.


      


 Mood swings


A woman entering the menopausal period may experience bouts of irritability and mood swings, which can lead to depression and be accompanied by fatigue. Sometimes these mood changes are traced back to the hot flashes, which occur during her resting period. These often deprive her of a complete rest at night, and may result to irritability during waking hours. . It has not yet been determined whether or not these symptoms are directly connected to menopause. Women who are entering menopause often experience increased anxiety, depression, and fatigue. This could be caused by the stress created by the increased changes in the body.Effects of Menopause on Concentration


      


 The Brain and Menopause connection


Have you ever wondered why you are lost with words during a conversation with a friend? Or where you left your eyeglasses and later discover that it is just neatly tucked in your head. Or why you suddenly walked into the living room?  A woman, undergoing menopause, goes through a lot of changes, and memory loss.

During menopause a lot of organs in a woman's body undergo transitions. Most commonly undergoing transitions are the ovaries and uterus. Aside from these two organs, the brain also goes through a transitional phase.

The declining estrogen level causes the brain to undergo various chemical changes. These changes lead to the alteration of the way women think and feel. There are evidences, which show that a decrease in estrogen levels causes an alteration in the manner the brain encodes and retrieves data. By using magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, researchers have discovered that the left-brain appears to be less activated during information encoding by women who don't take estrogen. This may explain why some women have trouble with rational and analytical processing. The left-brain thought processing which is often used when balancing a checkbook or decision-making is often seen impaired in women experiencing menopause. Menopausal women may also show temporary lapses in short-term memory. A woman may forget where she left her purse or keys or suddenly walks into the bedroom and forgets the reason why. The shifting in estrogen levels may partly be the reason for these memory lapses.

As you cope with the physical, mental health and emotional changes of menopause, you might notice that your concentration doesn't seem to be quite as focused and sharp as it once was prior to your menopausal transition. In fact, many women may wonder if they are 'losing it' as they struggle to keep their attention on various tasks, conversations and virtually anything that requires their concentration. Rest assured, however, that you are not losing your mental faculties and it is not old age – you are experiencing a common symptom of menopause, which is that it is now more difficult to concentrate.


 

 


Hot Flushes


Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, which means that you are likely to experience the effects at some point in time during the menopausal transition. For some women, hot flushes can persist for years although they do tend to disappear once hormone levels even out after menopause.

What Are Hot Flushes?

Hot flushes – also known as hot flashes – are very sudden and intense heat waves that a woman experiences during the menopausal transition. They can sometimes leave a woman's face quite red and hot. On top of that, intense sweating may also accompany hot flushes. Also, hot flushes can last for only a few seconds or they can continue for a few minutes. For some women who are just beginning to experience changing hormones, hot flushes may even occur very frequently – with several striking in only an hour.

The hot flushes can generally happen at any time, which is one of the reasons that women can struggle with them so much. When hot flushes occur, there is an increase in blood flow to the skin. Blood vessels in the skin dilate to circulate blood, which leads to the characteristic increased blood flow and experiences of women who suffer from hot flushes.


 Understanding Your Hot Flushes

 


Not only are hot flushes uncomfortable to experience, but also when they occur in public, at work or over an important meeting or function, they can be extremely embarrassing for women to handle.

Certain foods or beverages can also trigger hot flushes. Spicy foods and caffeine are common triggers of hot flushes in menopausal women. Some women opt to keep a diary to record their hot flushes because this can help them to identify certain triggers – situations or foods, for example – that might precede their hot flushes. These hot flushes can also plague women at night, where they are referred to as night sweats.



Handling Hot Flushes


As your body's hormone levels begin to adapt and settle, you will probably find that your hot flushes diminish. Still, some women will continue to experience hot flushes for years into post menopause. Fortunately, there are ways to handle your hot flushes, both naturally and pharmaceutical. One trigger of hot flushes is stress, which means that keeping your stress levels down is important in managing your hot flushes.

If you have a very hectic life and you are constantly juggling a large number of priorities, you might need to slow down a bit as you approach menopause. Taking time out to relax and enjoy leisurely activities that make you happy can help to reduce your stress. Practices such as yoga or acupuncture are very helpful to some women as well. A healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are both important now more than ever to encourage a comfortable transition through menopause.

If you do suffer from hot flushes at a meeting or similar type of environment, it's helpful if you can excuse yourself discreetly from the room and spend a few minutes in the bathroom to allow your body to cool down and get back to normal. Keep some powder handy to dust on your face because it can help to absorb moisture if you sweat from your hot flushes.

 

Hot flushes can be a difficult symptom of menopause but given that they do affect many women, you should know that you are certainly not alone. In fact, they are a symptom that some men are familiar with as well as women of all ages, mostly from the media and general association with the menopausal transition.

Depending on where you work, you can explain what you are going through and most likely, your colleagues will be supportive of your symptoms. Family and friends will probably be similarly supportive, especially those who have already gone through menopause. Above all, know that you can take measures to improve your symptoms and make your menopause experience a much more pleasant one.



 Body Shape


Ageism and sexism is the double-edged sword that confronts women who want to age with consciousness and an internal sense of freedom. We have been conditioned to believe that, as we age, men become more "distinguished looking", while women look more "grandmotherly." We are getting "over the hill." Somehow maturity in our culture perceives an aging man as more sexually appealing, but sees an elderly woman as something of an unattractive old hag. In one study, where nearly as many men had gained weight as women, only one quarter of the men felt it had negatively affected their self-esteem, whereas 50% of the women reported that it had negatively affected their sexuality.

    


All of us women will develop a new body image as we enter menopause and the changes we observe will affect us differently.


I, for one, think it is absurd to endure an extreme exercise programme for the sake of male approval. My philosophy is that if a man so desperately wants the kind of body a woman had when she was in her 20's and 30's, he is having his own mid-life crisis and should deal with that, instead of having unrealistic expectations about what a 50 year old woman should look like, (whether she is in the bedroom or at the theater.)

The fact of the matter is, most women don't "get fat" as they age because they have lost interest in their bodies or their men (or women.) There is a redistribution of weight and the weight "gain" is often around the waist and thighs, resulting in the "disappearing waistline" syndrome. In addition, about 50% of post-menopausal women will gain about 10 pounds.

Unexplained weight gain may be a function of hypothyroidism, rather than aging. But normally, some weight gain and the shift in body fat is due to metabolic changes. Repeatedly, one hears stories in menopause groups about women who try to take off those few extra pounds, but the weight comes right back. To undergo extreme dieting in an attempt to recover the lost waistline may not only be a useless exercise; it may not even be healthy. Frequent or drastic dieting can be fraught with emotional turmoil, especially during menopause.


Too much weight gain is almost always a sign of "estrogen dominance" or too much estrogen, and is one of the most common complaints of HRT.


The cycle can be a bitter one because estrogen increases fat and fluid retention and the fat, in turn, increase estrogen levels. If a diet is very high in fat, or estrogen levels are too dominant, the breast tissue tends to accumulate it, thus increasing the risk of breast cancer. Modern research indicates that fat and estrogen are synergistic for increased risk of breast cancer Estrogen is stored in fatty tissue, so excessive weight gain should be seriously examined for all angles before undertaking extreme dietary regimes. It could be that all you need to do is to stop taking HRT.

Susan Weed, in her Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way encourages an optimistic attitude about the "normal" weight gain of about 10 pounds or more. Thin women have more hot flashes and often a more difficult menopausal passage. Give yourself permission to take up more space, she advises:

"Struggling with your weight or dieting is bad medicine for you now, resulting only in thin bones that break easily, extreme hormone shifts that will keep you from sleeping and thinking, and an inner fire reduced to ashes or burning out of control."

She advises high-calorie, hormone-rich foods such as spirulina, whey, wheat grass, mineral-packed foods, alfalfa seeds, and olives to create pounds that are supported by bone and muscle.


        


Sleep 


During the menopausal transition, a number of women find that they suffer from sleep problems, even when they never had any issues with sleep problems prior to this change of life. If you have previously struggled with sleep problems, then menopause can be a veritable nightmare as your sleep becomes even more troubled. You should not feel alone if you do find you struggle with insomnia, because it is a key symptom affecting women's health during menopause.

For most women, insomnia will show by their inability to sleep properly through the night. Some women find that they wake up very early in the morning and are unable to get back to sleep. This kind of awakening can actually happen when a woman suffers from a night sweat, which is another symptom of menopause. This awakening can even happen before a night sweat occurs. You might wake up with a pounding feeling in your chest and a feeling of anxiety, with no identifiable reason. For other women, however, there may be no specific reason they can pinpoint regarding their early awakenings.



Consider herbal teas such as chamomile as well, which is thought to be calming and relaxing. Make sure you reduce or eliminate stimulants such as caffeine. Melatonin is not available in Britain but if you can access it, the hormone is thought to naturally help improve sleep quality.

O
ther relaxing herbs are Valerian root and kava kava. Nutritionists suggest eating calcium rich food before bedtime to facilitate better sleep – the other benefit being that calcium protects your newly vulnerable bones due to the decrease in estrogen that occurs during the menopausal transition.


Embrace Healthy Sleeping Habits


Basic; good sleeping habits are important to follow as well. This means avoiding alcohol, keeping the bedroom cool and dark and also scheduling bedtime for a reasonable hour. It can help to avoid doing any work or reading in the bedroom, which means limiting any non-sleep activity to other rooms in the home. Exercise is another approach for improving your sleep, although it's best not to do it near bedtime because in this case, it can keep you awake

Anything from yoga to deep breathing exercises to acupuncture can help a woman if it relaxes her emotions and busy mind. For some women, they are so overwhelmed with the hectic aspects of each day that their insomnia occurs from psychological reasons rather than the physical symptoms of menopause. The goal here is to find a way to relax that works for your mind and body. Be open to trying different things in your quest for a better night's sleep.

Better Sleep Means A Better Menopausal Transition
It can be easy to disregard poor sleep and sleep deprivation by focusing only on the other major symptoms of menopause, but don't be too hasty with ignoring your poor sleep quality.

If you don't get a good night's rest, your body and mind will only suffer the next day, which can exacerbate other menopausal symptoms and leave you ill-tempered and struggling to cope with your life. You can try some of the more natural methods of improving sleep but if the problem is a challenging one, it's wise to see your doctor.


       


Night sweats


Night sweats are a characteristic symptom of menopause, and one that can leave women everywhere waking up drenched in sweat and struggling to get a good night's rest.

A night sweat is actually a hot flush that occurs at night. For some women, it can be particularly frustrating when they suffer from numerous hot flushes throughout the day, only to find they are then plagued with night sweats during their sleep. In fact, for some women their night sweats can be so severe that they leave bedding drenched with sweat.


Natural Ways To Handle Night Sweats


One of the best ways to handle menopause symptoms such as night sweats is to keep your bedroom quite cool, particularly during the night. Keep a fan nearby to turn on if you do wake up from a night sweat. Also, try to promote a deeper sleep by keeping your bedroom dark and quiet as well as partaking in healthy lifestyle factors such as avoiding caffeine and other stimulants.
Many people find that spicy foods raise their body temperature and get them sweating. If you react strongly to these foods, you might want to avoid them because they can trigger night sweats during your sleep.

There are other, basic measures that can help you to address night sweats and similar menopause symptoms. For instance, a glass of icy water beside the bed can be helpful to sip when you do wake up, which will cool you down and prevent dehydration from excessive sweating. Be sure to wear light, cotton bed clothing when you go to sleep. You should also avoid alcohol and anything similar that can interrupt a restful, deep night's sleep.

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Don't forget that symptoms such as night sweats are not only the result of hormonal changes that occur during menopause, but they can also be triggered by your body's stress response. This means that reducing and avoiding stress in your life can be an important part of handling night sweats and improving women's health. In particular, try to spend an hour directly before bed where you enjoy a relaxing activity such as reading a good book or practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises. Each woman is unique and you will need to experiment when searching for the best ways to keep stress at bay and reduce night sweats.

    


Urinary/genital tract changes.


Vaginal dryness is one of the conditions a woman may experience during menopause. Women may experience thinning, drying, itching and bleeding in the vaginal area sometimes associated with pain on intercourse. Another issue may be urinary frequency, urgency (cystitis) or incontinence.


Vaginal Discomfort - This includes itching, dryness and pain. The cells in the lining of the vagina often become thinner and less resistant due to a decrease in estrogen and androgen. Let's face it our bodies have been around half a century.


Intercourse can be painful because of less lubrication caused by vaginal dryness. Sexually active women who are experiencing menopause may be troubled by the loss of vaginal lubrication because of the low levels of estrogen.


Low libido


These things can lessen a woman's desire for sex, which could be well reciprocated by an aging male partner's loss of sexual interest or impotence. Situations like these can create a friction between partners whose sexual desires no longer meet.

A decrease in libido is usually the result of many factors.

A lot of women regard menopause as the end of their sex lives. This realization can be disheartening and painful. Depression can result from this midlife stress as a woman struggles to achieve a new role and meaning in life. Seeing a counselor can be helpful in helping women sort out the decrease in libido that can sometimes accompany menopause.


Bone Changes in the bones may result in osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis), osteoporosis, joint and muscle pain or back pain.


Skin and soft tissue changes. Topically thinning, drying and wrinkling the skin are most common signs. Skin may thin as part of menopause or loss of elasticity and breasts may become smaller. These changes are associated with the loss in estrogen that accompanies menopause.


Frequent Urination – urinary infections


Though this is a very common, yet troublesome symptom, there are many, unfortunately, that experience urinary tract and kidney infections. As with the vaginal discomfort, the urethra and bladder tissues become thinner and therefore more susceptible to irritation and infection.



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