Low energy. Difficulty sleeping. Anxiety. Mood swings. Weight Gain. Irritability. What mom am I not describing? These might just be part of life as a mom—but if you are in your 40s or 50s, are having hot flashes and have missed your period, you might be going through menopause. While menopause signals a rite of passage into a new season of your life, there are some great benefits:
- No worries about contraception or pregnancy!
- No more periods, cramps, or PMS!
Menopause is a natural process where women permanently stop menstruating. During this process, your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, as a result you will no longer be able to get pregnant. Most women go through menopause sometime after they turn 40.
Menopause is a major biological change and can have significant impact on your health and well-being. It is an important time for you to listen to your body, take care of yourself and seek help from your primary care physician if necessary.
Here are some important ways to care for yourself:
Eat well—make healthy eating choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like fish and chicken. Be sure you are getting enough iron and calcium. Weight gain is common for women going through menopause or who are post-menopausal, so avoid sugar and fatty foods. Women’s risk of heart disease increases after menopause, so having fish twice a week is recommended. Health magazine has some great diet recommendations here.
Exercise—exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. The estrogen drop from menopause makes women more susceptible to heart disease and osteoporosis. Exercise can help prevent these diseases. Be sure to do both aerobic exercise and weight bearing exercises. Exercise has a huge impact on your mood and can help alleviate depression.
Medical screenings and tests—during and after menopause continue with annual gynecological appointments for regular Pap smears. Also, continue with breast self exams and get mammograms as recommended. Your doctor may also recommend additional testing or give you a prescription to Buy Evista or other medications for post menopausal women to lower your chances of getting breast cancer and prevent osteoporosis.
When to see the doctor
Not all women require the care of a doctor when going through menopause, but it can be reassuring to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. You should see your doctor if your symptoms are disrupting your life or making you very uncomfortable. There are a number of natural treatments they may recommend including:
- Practical solutions to hot flashes like wearing layers of clothing, avoiding certain foods and using a fan.
- Using vaginal lubricants to help with vaginal dryness.
- Being physically active to help with mood swings, weight gain and difficulty sleeping.
Your doctor may also recommend medications that will alleviate the symptoms of menopause and make you more comfortable. These medications replace the hormones that are no longer being produced by your ovaries. Be sure to discuss all the risks and benefits with your doctor to make the decision that is right for you.
You, me—every woman—will go through menopause as they age. While there are some uncomfortable symptoms and increased health risks for women going through menopause, rest assured there are treatments that will help. Embrace this natural process as the start of a new and wonderful season for your life.
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