The median age of menopause is 51. Some women may experience the onset of menopause earlier, or later. But it’s an inescapable transition that is a normal part of aging.
So, how do you prepare or cope with this inevitable phase of your life? Perhaps you’ll experience mild to no menopause symptoms and you’ll be one of the lucky ones. Or, maybe you’re here looking for treatment for menopause symptoms that have become unbearable.
Either way, this guide will answer all of your questions about menopause symptoms and treatments.
Common Menopause Symptoms and Remedies
What are the worst menopause symptoms? Unfortunately, for each woman, this question will have a different answer. Some women may experience severe menopause symptoms and many symptoms, while others may have a milder experience.
Wherever on the spectrum, you might be, check out the common menopause symptoms below and some tips for finding some relief.
Vaginal Dryness and Discomfort
This is a symptom that you may start experiencing in the perimenopause phase and into menopause. This is especially noticeable during sexual intercourse, as you may experience discomfort and chafing.
If this symptom is more severe, it is considered to be atrophic vaginitis. This is when the vaginal wall becomes thin, dry, and inflamed.
To treat vaginal dryness or discomfort, you can use specialized moisturizers, lubricants during sexual intercourse, and medication if it becomes too uncomfortable to bear.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia happen as a result of a mixture of the 34 symptoms of menopause. You may find it difficult to get a good night’s rest because of mood changes that result in anxiety, an increased need to urinate, and night sweats.
The trick here is to find the root cause of your sleep issues so you can tackle them.
If you’re waking up drenched in sweat with wet pajamas and sheets, then you know that night sweats are extremely uncomfortable. Dealing with night sweats may take a couple of adjustments to experiment with what works for you.
Try to make the room colder by turning up the AC, using a fan, or opening a window. If these things don’t work, then you’ll need to speak to a doctor about correcting the hormone imbalances which cause night sweats.
For other sleep issues, try to avoid drinking a lot of diuretics, such as tea or alcohol, before bed and avoid heavy meals in the evening. Exercise can help greatly with anxiety and stress and can support better sleep quality.
This is one of the most common menopause symptoms that most women experience quite frequently. You’ll feel a sudden sensation of heat on your face, neck, or chest. The heat will start in the upper body and spread from there.
You experience red patches on your skin or sweating when these hot flashes occur.
So, how long do menopause symptoms last? While every woman is different, hot flashes are especially common in the first year after menstruation ends. This symptom can continue for up to fourteen years or disappear after that first year.
Learning how to deal with hot flashes, is therefore important. Besides hormone therapy and medication (discussed below), there are some other remedies to deal with hot flashes.
Reduce your intake of spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and high-sugar foods, and alcohol. These consumables work to raise your body temperature and can bring on hot flashes.
As hot flashes often occur in times of stress, make an effort to dedicate some time to stress-reducing activities and ‘you time’. You may also like to try herbs, such as black cohosh or foods that contain soy isoflavones.
During menopause and along with aging, your body will undergo some physical changes. The most common changes are weight gain (especially around the abdomen), breast reduction, urinary incontinence, and changes in the color and texture of your hair.
For weight gain, you’ll need to consider changing your diet and incorporating more exercise into your life. Consider splashing out on good-quality hair products to try to keep your hair healthy and glowing.
Urinary incontinence is best relieved with medication. However, if you experience a mild case of this symptom, you can try to avoid alcohol and caffeine to see if this helps before trying medication.
Umbrella Treatments for Menopause Symptoms
We’ve discussed common symptoms of menopause and some remedies. However, there are some treatment options available to help manage menopause symptoms as a whole. Check out your options below.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
This is the most effective hormone treatment, relieving your menopause symptoms — especially hot flashes. This involves taking low doses of estrogen (and progestin if you still have a uterus) to replace the estrogen that you lack during menopause.
While this treatment is effective, it comes with some risks if continued for a long period of time. This includes cardiovascular and breast cancer risks.
If you are unable, or unwilling, to undergo hormone therapy, then this is a good alternative. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors help to relieve menopause symptoms, including mood changes and hot flashes.
This is a great option that’s less invasive than hormone replacement therapy but works to relieve vaginal dryness and hot flashes. This is available in a cream, tablet, or ring.
Many women find relief in alternative practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. These relaxation techniques help to reduce stress which, in turn, helps to reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Experiment With Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for menopause symptoms. Each of our bodies experiences menopause in a different way and you’ll need to experiment with different treatments to see what works best for you.
In general, hormone replacement theory should be the last option, if your symptoms are unmanageable.
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