Dealing with menopause can be a drag. This transition period in females when our periods stop permanently, can take up to 3 years or as little as a year to happen. During this transition period you may be enduring symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal changes. Don’t let these natural consequences of aging and menopause cause you to stress; they happen to almost all women and are normal for this phase in life.
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of perimenopause and menopause with a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red flushed face and sweating. They can happen both during the day and night, when they happen during the night they are referred to as “night sweats”. They can disrupt both your day and night schedules depending on how intense or frequent they happen.
Luckily there are a few ways women have reported that have helped the severity and frequency of their hot flashes! So, before considering any sort of medication try these changes to your lifestyle:
- Dress in layers. When you feel a hot flash arising, take off your layers to cool your body down.
- Have a fan at your work or home. When a hot flash strikes, turn on your fan to help your body cool down faster.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine as these have stimulants in them that can cause your body temperature to rise and make the hot flash worse.
- Maintaining a healthy weight can help regulate your body’s natural temperature. Women who are overweight can experience more and stronger hot flashes.
Another common symptom of perimenopause are vaginal changes, including vaginal dryness, irritation and urinary problems. Due to the decreasing levels of your hormones the tissues inside the vagina often become thinner, drier and less elastic, therefore the vaginal walls can become thin and inflamed, causing you uncomfortable symptoms.
Some ways to help vaginal dryness is to speak to your doctor about the vaginal estrogen options. There is a ring that can be inserted into the vagina that will release estrogen into the vaginal tissues. This also comes in a tablet form and cream form that would be inserted into the vagina. There are other options such as topical creams and oral tablets. To help with comfort during sex, try lubricants.
Every woman may have different symptoms during this transitional stage, so when you have personal questions always consult with your physician or OBGYN to see what the best option for your body is. Also check our article on natural menopause tips.
“Hot Flashes: What Can I Do?” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-flashes-what-can-i-do.
Johnson, Traci C. “Vaginal Dryness: Causes and Moisturizing Treatments.” WebMD, WebMD, 5 May 2019, https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginal-dryness-causes-moisturizing-treatments#2.