Menopause is a time of evidentiary change that can disturb a women’s sense of well-being. However this need not be the case as a variety of steps can help women feel better through the transition.
Jane Ann Dimer, MD, a 44-year-old Group Health Women’s Health Service line chief, provided these self-care suggestions for the following menopause-linked symptoms:
- • Support ongoing regular physical exercise—whatever works for you (be it yoga or karate)—to promote fitness, balance, social networking, and an energetic approach to life.
• Eat small, balanced meals, including snacks, at regular intervals. Avoid getting too hungry or overeating, because a full stomach can make you feel glum.
• Try new activities.
• Spend some time every day outside in the daylight.
- • Address the changes that menopause and age—including changes in male sexual response—can bring to relationships.
• Be aware that both women and men may need more time for arousal.
• Try learning to massage each other.
• Talk to your doctor about solutions for vaginal dryness, e.g., lubricants and topical estrogen.
- • Talk to your doctor about applying small amounts of vaginal estrogen, e.g., through an estradiol vaginal ring (which is discrete and not messy and can have the secondary effect of raising interest in sex through novelty).
• Avoid unhealthy practices, e.g., douching and over-the-counter vaginal creams.
- • Sleep in a cool room. Near your bed, place ice water and a fan—or a spray bottle with plain or scented water.
• Avoid possible triggers such as very hot liquids and alcohol.
- • Try taking a warm shower just before going to bed: The effect of cooling off may help you drift to sleep.
• Try wearing a sleep mask.
• Especially if you snore, are overweight, or have lung problems, talk to your doctor about the possibility that you might have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
• Some sleep disturbance results from tooth grinding. So ask your dentist whether you grind your teeth; if so, wearing a night guard might decrease your tooth grinding and help you sleep more soundly.