Ten Tips To Getting Through Menopause

Written by E. Conrad Hicks, Jr., M.D. and Valerie Otto

life_tipsmenopauseThe generation of women entering menopause is healthier, feels younger than their years, and lead more active lives and careers than previous generations. However, there is also no doubt that for many women, this can be an uncomfortable and confusing time- plagued with hot flashes, irritability, headaches, depression, sleepless nights, and fatigue, as well as waning libido and decreased ability to enjoy sex.

Following are ten important suggestions to help you embrace rather than dread this time in your life.

1. There’s no reason to suffer
If you are a woman, most likely you will spend a third of your life peri-menopausal or post-menopausal. Considering how much you’ve been through in your life, there is no reason to “tough out” the discomforts of menopause. Americans think it is normal and responsible to take various medicines for arthritis pain, cardiac and vascular disease, and diabetes. So why not also evaluate and/or treat the symptoms and changes that come with menopause? There are plenty of options available now besides hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and physicians are now embracing integrated medicine to accomplish what works best for each individual woman, whether it includes HRT or not. One of the newer products they are recommending is Oöna, an herbal supplement that combines black cohosh and chaste tree berry.

2. There is no “right” way, just “your” way
You may believe that HRT is either the “fountain of youth” or the “fountain of evil.” Truthfully, it’s neither. Become informed about all the options available and consult your doctor. With an open mind and effective communication, you and your doctor will find what works best for you. There are several integrated approaches including conventional pharmaceutical preparations, herbs, acupuncture, and meditation, etc. that many women have had success with.

3. Update your vitamin regime
If you have been taking the same multivitamin for years, now is the time to review the label. Women in midlife have different needs and should take at least 400 IUs of vitamin E (take these in 200 IU intervals), 400 mcg of folic acid, 100 mg of vitamin B6, 1250-1500 mg of calcium with 500 mg of magnesium, 200-1200 IUs of vitamin D, and 1,000-5000 mg of vitamin C with Rose Hips. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are also very important and can be found in cod liver oil pills and flaxseed.

4. Hormones are affected by stress and what we eat
As production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone by the ovaries declines, the adrenal glands, muscles and brain begin to produce an increasing percentage of the body’s androgen hormones and convert them to weaker estrogens. A healthy diet and positive attitude have been shown to help this conversion. Also, symptoms of menopause are known to have “triggers” such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar and spicy foods, which you should eliminate or cut back on. Starches should come from darker whole breads, grains and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to eliminate, or deal with, as much stress as possible since most women feel either a greater number of menopausal symptoms or feel them with greater intensity when they are under stress.

5. There is usually more than a hormonal shift
Often there is an accompanying emotional shift. As Christiane Northrup, M.D. points out; it is characteristic of women to focus much of their energy during the child-bearing years on caring for others. As they move toward menopause, the focus commonly turns inwards to caring for themselves. Women often re-evaluate their lives and their relationships, looking for the understanding, support and the encouragement they feel they’ve been giving others for so many years. Make sure that you are not asking someone to read your mind, but rather take care in how you express yourself. If need be, consult a therapist.

6. Diet, making the best of the four-letter word
You may feel that your eating habits have not changed or that you’re even eating less, but find yourself gaining weight. In mid-life women experience a 10-15% metabolic rate slowdown, their bodies become more efficient at storing energy as fat, and as estrogen levels fall, appetite increases. After menopause this weight usually goes away as metabolism re-stabilizes, but in the meantime, keeping blood sugar level during the day by eating small meals tends to help most menopausal women. The key is not to overeat at night as metabolism peaks earlier in the day, and to cut down on carbohydrates, and have protein with each meal.

7. Exercise makes every list
Regular aerobic exercise can help ease menopausal symptoms, maintain or optimize heart heath and maintain metabolic rate. A program of weight or resistance training will help maintain bone strength. There are so many different ways to exercise nowadays; from tai-chi to spin, the key is to find one or two that you enjoy.

8. Hormones and the Libido
A deficiency in estrogen or progesterone can cause changes such as vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall, making sex less pleasurable and even painful. Testosterone levels also fall during the menopausal transition and can contribute to a decreased sex drive, decreased energy and a decreased “overall sense of well-being.” Most physicians will prescribe an estriol cream for the vaginal dryness and thinning of the wall. Similarly if low testosterone levels are detected, supplementation to normal levels is easy to achieve. Additionally, the combination of the herbs black cohosh and chaste tree berry found in Oöna will also help with vaginal dryness and thinning vaginal walls.

9. You can keep your skin radiant
First, if you smoke, here’s another reason to quit. Smoking damages your skin and most smokers see wrinkles earlier in life. (Smokers will also enter menopause earlier.) Make sure you use a face cleanser that is cream based, since soap or gel cleansers tend to dry out middle-age skin. Exfoliate once a week and mask once a week (not on the same day). Finally, supplement with omega 3 fats like flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and/or primrose oil. Vitamins C and E are also very important, as is coenzyme Q10. Water and fiber are also very important for your skin and body.

10. Keeping your mind sharp and heart strong
The more the link between estrogen and cardiovascular disease is investigated, the more apparent it becomes that the cardiovascular protection estrogen has been thought to offer may not apply to everyone, and in fact, should not be given to women with a history of cardiovascular disease. As for the mind, it is difficult to determine if a woman’s feelings of “scatteredness and forgetfulness” are caused by hormones as opposed to stress or aging. It is still unknown whether there is any connection between estrogen and Alzheimer’s, but it does appear that a minimum amount of estrogens are essential for certain memory functions. Also, good health habits have been tied to improved memory function. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, supplement with B-vitamins, E and zinc, and get plenty of antioxidants such as vitamin C. Ginkgo Biloba can also help, but it’s important to choose a reliable brand and look for standardized extracts.

Whether you are symptomatic or not, menopause is a great reminder to take a serious look at your health. As modern medicine has now extended our life span to almost twice what it used to be, our bodies undergo profound physiologic changes. The importance of the mind-body connection cannot be underestimated, and choosing to deal with what ails you is a big first step. Find an approach to menopausal symptoms that you are comfortable with and works for you, and you can begin to spend this time focusing on the positive aspects of this transitional time, instead of suffering unnecessarily. This is an opportunity to make adjustments that could ensure that the years to come are most enjoyable. You’ve earned it.

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18 Responses to “Ten Tips To Getting Through Menopause”

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to Debbie– my apologies for no one getting to you sooner, prayer-father God I pray for Debbie right now for protection and safety for her God I pray that you will give her a way out where there is no way out bring Christians along her path to encourage her and maybe to take her to safety, God it sounds like she is needing a miracle for her life, open the eyes of her husband to see on what he is doing to her, show her that you do love her and is always with her, I pray all of this in JESUS name amen. is there a safe house in your city for you to go to if possible go to a church and ask if they can find a safe house for women for you or find one in the phone book under I think women’s care like safe houses and if you would like talk to someone private go to www. Truth media/ talk to a mentor/ this way you can talk to a person privately. love Sharon

  • chrissy says:

    Drink coconut water before bed it takes away hot flashes. Also take a b complex and zinc with soy milk it brings back your sex drive. But the coconut water works well right before bedtime.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up my friend to You that you will heal them and comfort them. In Jesus Mighty Name Amen

  • Debbie says:

    JESUS! Pls! Help me! I am so miserable, mean,sad& flat sick of myself & hurting my husband. I’ve tried! But, nothing seems to help. I’m so mean to my husband. Maybe it’s cuz I hate him! I’ve tried w/him. But, truly believe it’s time to get away from him. Under so much stress. I’ve been locked up in my house the last 5 yrs. Unless taking care of my dying loved ones. He won’t work, we r broke & he’s so jealous he won’t even let me out of house. I hadn’t worked in 15yrs. I can’t remember anything & I am not functioning well enuf to work! I’ve nvr felt so helpless in my life! But, ready to live in a homeless shelter. Scared to death! But, all I do is ask God to let me die. My family don’t want me around. My son only calls whn he’s in need. I got nothing & no one! Except Jesus! But! Pls pray God makes a way b-4 I do something stupid. My Dr. Cud care less. He’s supposed to b a Christian! I’m sick of all the judgements. I’m my worst judge. I just need to go. But, I have no where to go & absolutely no one in my life. No friends, jealous sisters & a husband & son who abuse me! Pls! Jesus help me get out of this mess. Don’t make me homeless! Ladies! Pls! Pray ASAP! I don’t know how much more I can tke! I pray for u all too! TY! All! TY! Jesus!

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift all women who are going through menopause. I pray that you will heal them and support them in this time of need in Jesus Mighty name A,men

  • olive says:

    2 months ago my hormonel level bwent crazy. it waslike a pc melt down. and since have been totally miserable seem to have every sympton that goes achoing joints ringing ears , muscles sore .mood swings and bouts of tiredness. peroid was very heavey for 6-8 months preivous then slacked off and last couple light . feel sad some times and waiting ion next sympton lol soostiff some days want to scream or cry trying all hyerbs and things sohopefully i will

  • Esther Esther says:

    Dear Karen,

    I am sorry about your situation. Is it possible to try and change doctors such as getting those who are specialized in women’s issues e.g. gynecologists or the likes? You also need to take a lot of rest in your situation as you seem to he handling very many issues at the same time: you are handling your situation, stress, depression, your mom, loss of your dad and putting all these together is in itself a ‘time-bomb’.

    I suggest you take one day at time, handle one issue at a time and not to lump everything together when you are not able to handle it. If you can, devout some time to reading the Bible, meditating on the word of God and if you are able to, share with an acquaintance or a confidant.

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    thank you for this info its good to know b/c that is where i am

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God
    Lord I lift up all women who are going through this situation in there lives. I lift up to you that you will bring comfort to all woman as we all will face this situation. In Jesus Mighty name /amen

  • Karen says:

    I have been going through horrible menopause symptoms for 2 1/2 yrs now. My main complaint is vaginal dryness and irritation. It is everyday. Some days worse than others. I have been going through a lot of stress for few years before menopause. I have to take antidepressants, Xanax, thyroid meds. I also have sore muscles, bloating. You name the menopause symptoms I have them. My Drs have not been able to help me at all with their suggestions. Anybody have any suggestions. This is really getting to me. I lost my dad a yr ago and my mom has alzheimers. I have a lot of stress. Please help.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen,

    Have you gone to see your OBG or primary doctor regarding your symptoms? Perhaps your doctor can run some test to see how your hormone levels are and then advice you from there. Some women go through menopause fine and others have a real tough time with this transitional season of life. One thing I know that has helped me was to listen to tips and suggestions form other women that have already gone through this change of life. One of the greatest things that have helped me out while trying to sleep at night is to have a ceiling fan over my bed. This allows me to get a better nights rest, which then helps me not to be fatigued during the day. Have you read any books regarding menopause?

  • karen says:

    I just started going thru the changes and my emotions are all over the place. Can’t sleep and fatigue..need suggestions and help with what I’m in store for.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Terri, it is sad to hear you profess and say, “my kids hate me”. Do you realize that you are actually tearing them down and not building them up by the tone of your voice and improper words spoken to them? There are better ways for parents to communicate with their children while rising and disciplining them as God would have us. Perhaps your own parents talked too harshly while raising you and for this reason, you are doing the same to your children without realizing it? Our children are a gift and blessing to us from God and we are to be gentle in speech and conduct towards them so they grow up and become good, godly, loving individuals. Does your husband speak nicely to them and to you as well?

  • Terri says:

    my kids hate me. they think i fuss all the time and say stuff that is mean. i just tell it like it is

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Melinda you should be able to print it out(that would most likely be a setting on your computer that is preventing that. As for putting it on your Facebook page, just copy the url on the top and put that in under your status and it will automatically link to this page.

  • Melinda says:

    i can’t print it or put on my fb page can u help!!

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Hi Sheri,
    Glad you found this article helpful! I have edited out your personal fb page information as per our Terms of Service but feel free to link to any of our articles! Enjoy!

  • sheri says:

    thank you so much for this info……if you do not mind, from time to time I would like to post it on my website and fb page (edited as per Terms of Service). God bless you. Sheri

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