5 Tips for Navigating Menopause

Menopause is a normal part of a woman's life, but it can still be very challenging for most. While symptoms do gradually improve with time, it is possible to experience hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, and more for several years. The good news is that there are ways you can deal with menopause more successfully and keep your symptoms more manageable. These tips can help make it easier to enjoy this phase of life.

1. Plan Ahead for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes can happen any time, but they can be especially difficult to deal with when you're out. Whether you work at a computer in problem management, on your feet as a teacher or sales associate, or even if you work from home, it's important that you set yourself up for success when a potential hot flash strikes. Start by dressing in layers that are easy to remove, just in case. Breathable lightweight materials are often best. It may even be wise to keep a change of clothes with you at work or in your car.

Keep a cold bottle of water on hand at all times so you can stay hydrated and cool off quickly. Place a small fan in your desk or purse to help with this as well. Finally, keep in mind that some hot flashes can be triggered by certain foods and beverages. A food journal can help you pinpoint any choices that may cause more hot flashes for you, such as caffeine, spicy foods, or alcoholic drinks.

2. Keep Stress to a Minimum

High levels of stress can be harmful to your health long-term, whether or not you're dealing with shifts in female hormones from menopause. However, stress can exacerbate symptoms and lead to even more hormonal imbalance. It can also worsen brain fog, a common complaint among women of menopausal age. Take steps to reduce the stressors in your life and find positive ways to decrease stress overall by exercising, getting enough sleep, and finding healthy ways to have fun.

3. Consider Pelvic Floor Therapy

Incontinence and pelvic pain are typical problems during menopause. You can help combat these issues by trying pelvic floor therapy with a trained professional. Targeted exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor to improve symptoms.

4. Focus on Positive Dietary Choices

The foods you eat can have a major impact on hormone levels and on how well you feel overall. Stay away from foods that lead to inflammation or increase your risks for cardiovascular issues, as you are already more at risk for these problems once you reach menopause. Also, eat foods that are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D to help strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. Many other foods can be considered part of a healthy menopause diet, including a variety of produce, healthy fats, and whole grains.

5. Talk With Your Doctor About Your Options

While you can't do anything to stop menopause, there are ways you can help your body deal with the changes. Natural supplements may help some, but others find that they need medication or specific treatments to make living with menopause more manageable. Talk with your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. It can be helpful to keep a journal so you can accurately report their frequency and intensity.

For some people, prescription medications can help with mood changes and physical symptoms. Others turn to hormone replacement therapy to help ease hot flashes and control weight gain. However, as with any type of medication or treatment, there are risks. Your doctor will need to consider your family and personal health history to help you choose a treatment plan that is both effective and safe.

If menopause is making life tough for you, don't despair. By making healthy choices and keeping in touch with your doctor, you can create a plan for a well-balanced life, even during menopause.