How will I know when I am nearing menopause?
Symptoms, a physical exam, and your medical history can provide clues that you are in perimenopause. Your doctor also could test the amount of hormones in your blood. But hormones go up and down during your menstrual cycle, so these tests alone can’t tell for sure that you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it.
How can I manage symptoms of menopause?
It is not necessary to get treatment for your symptoms unless they are bothering you. You can learn about simple lifestyle changes that may help with symptoms, and some symptoms will go away on their own. If you’re interested in medical treatments like menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), ask your doctor about the possible risks and benefits.
Here are some ways to deal with symptoms:
• Try to avoid things that may trigger hot flashes, like spicy
foods, alcohol, caffeine, stress, or being in a hot place. • Dress in layers, and remove some
when you feel a flash starting. • Use a fan in your home or workplace. • Try taking slow, deep breaths when a hot flash starts. • If you still get periods, ask your doctor about low-dose
oral contraceptives (birth control pills), which may help. • Some women can take menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), which can be very effective in treating hot flashes and night sweats. • If MHT is not an option, your doctor may prescribe medications that usually are used for other conditions, like epilepsy, depression, and high blood pressure, but that have been shown to help with hot flashes.
• A water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant
like K-Y Jelly can help make sex more comfortable. • An over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer like Replens
can help keep needed moisture in your vagina. • The most effective treatment may be MHT if the dryness is severe. But if dryness is the only reason for considering MHT, vaginal estrogen products like creams generally are a better choice.
• Be physically active (but not too close to bedtime, since exercise might make you more awake). • Avoid large meals, smoking, and working right before bed. Avoid caffeine after noon. • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.