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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All You Need to Know About Menopause

Menopause is a normal, natural event that women experience. It is considered a transition period when the ovaries stop making eggs, menstruation begins to slow- eventually ending all together, and the body produces less estrogen and progesterone.

Menopause usually begins when a women is between the ages of 45 and 55. It is confirmed after 12 consecutive months of missed periods (in the absence of other obvious causes). At this time, women no longer face the risk of becoming pregnant.

The symptoms associated with menopause can last for 5 years or more. They are different for each individual and include any or all of the following…

• Irregular heartbeat (feels like heart is racing or pounding)
• Hot flashes
• Flushed skin
• Night sweats
• Decreased interest or stimulation in sex
• Irregular periods (before stopping)
• Urine leakage
• Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression
• Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
• Painful intercourse
Vaginal dryness or discomfort
• Yeast infections
• Achy or sore joints

Although menopause cannot be prevented, there are tips to help ease the painful symptoms. These include the following…

• Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
• Not smoking
• Staying away from spicy foods
• Eating a low fat diet with plenty of vitamin D and calcium
• Including soy foods in your diet
• Exercising daily (including Kegel exercises)
• Practicing breathing techniques
• Doing yoga, tai chi, or meditation to help relax
• Remaining sexually active
• Using lubricant gels during intercourse
• Treating vaginal dryness with a moisturizing feminine wash or medicated wipes
• Taking antidepressants or high blood pressure medicines
• In extreme cases, seeking hormone treatment

It is important to speak to your doctor about your menopause concerns. If you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or emotional stress related to menopause, your doctor can help develop a plan and prescribe any necessary medication or treatment.


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