Is it hot in here, or is it just me? If you’re one of the millions of women going
through menopause you’ll agree it’s probably hot! Menopause, or ‘the change’ as
it’s often referred as, is a totally normal condition that a woman goes through
as she gets older, marking the end of her reproductive period. A woman is born
with a certain number of eggs stored in her ovaries. The time frame varies, but
sometime between the ages of 40-50, the ovaries no longer have any eggs to
release, and a woman will no longer menstruate. Menopause is the 12 months after your last
period and marks the end of your menstrual cycles.
Menopause means no more worrying about getting pregnant, and
no more monthly periods or the cramps that come with it. Sounds great doesn’t
it? Well, not so fast. Though menopause does mark a new kind of freedom in a
woman’s life, it can pose some challenges.
There are many symptoms associated with menopause. Some can
be downright annoying, but understanding what is happening, and learning ways
to deal with menopause symptoms will make it much easier to live with. Let’s
start with hot flashes. Suddenly you feel the sensation of heat rising up from
your chest to your face, and you’re sweating as though you’re in the tropics.
Welcome to your first hot flash! Not to
be outdone, night sweats are typically caused by hot flashes that occur as you
sleep. And this in turn, can also lead to difficulties in sleeping.
There are some easy ways to combat hot flashes and night
sweats. Keeping a small portable fan with you and dressing in layers can be
beneficial. Take note of any triggers that may contribute to your hot flashes
(alcohol, spicy food or being in a very warm place), and try to avoid them.
When sleeping, be sure to keep your bedroom temperature on the cool side, and
wear light breathable fabrics to bed. Your doctor may recommend HRT (hormone
replacement therapy), which has been found to be effective at treating hot
Other symptoms of menopause may include irregular periods
and the dreaded mood swings. Irregular periods and spotting are fairly common
during menopause. Frequent mood swings and weight gain are due to the hormone
imbalance your body is going through. This imbalance is caused by the lack of
the hormone estrogen, which also contributes to thinning hair and skin which
become more noticeable during menopause.
Making simple changes in your lifestyle can help symptoms.
Many women find that changing their diet, exercising, taking herbal supplements
and reducing stress in their life can be great natural menopause treatments.
Try eating foods that boost estrogen levels like apples, soy, cherries and
wheat. Sign up for yoga classes or practice mediation. Small changes can go a
long way, and exercising and eating well will also help you sleep better at
Overall, many women don’t find the symptoms of menopause
uncomfortable, and even find they go away by themselves. If, however, you are
bothered by your symptoms, contact the caring physicians at Great Plains
Women’s Health Center to discuss the best way to treat your menopausal
symptoms. Remember, you’re not getting older, you’re getting better!