Has Menopause Got You Down?

You’ve probably heard tales of menopause from older family members, friends and even on television. Menopause can cause hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness and thinning hair among other symptoms. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the effects of the condition.

“The number one thing women can do to help minimize the symptoms of menopause is to reach and maintain an optimal weight,” says Roger P. Meyer, MD, Board Certified OB/GYN. “Body weight affects so many aspects of life, so making positive changes in that area can help limit the symptoms of menopause and prevent diseases. A good exercise regimen and balanced diet is very important in a woman’s 40s, because once she hits 50, it becomes much more difficult to lose weight.”

To reach a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins such as chicken or turkey, and low-fat dairy. If you aren’t exercising, start working towards the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.

Another tip to help combat the dreaded hot flash – dress lightly and in layers and avoid potential triggers like caffeine and spicy foods.

Additionally, hormone therapy is often a viable option for women dealing with menopause symptoms that are detrimental to their everyday lifestyles. “The need for hormone therapy is based on the degree of symptoms that interfere with your quality of life,” says Dr. Meyer. “Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and bone density problems are four legitimate reasons for advocating hormone therapy. The key is to use the lowest dose that helps for the smallest period of time, the same principles that should be followed with any other medication.”

So when confronting the battle with menopause, remember there are things you can do to help get you through.