How will I know when I am near­ing menopause?

Wellness Update - - Let's Talk 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:

Hot flashes

• 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.

Vagi­nal dry­ness

• 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.

Prob­lems sleep­ing

• 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.

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