Much like menstruation and pregnancy, menopause causes many hormonal changes, not all pleasant. Hormones control almost every body function, meaning any imbalance can have notable symptoms. If you’ve stopped menstruating and now struggle with menopausal symptoms, lifestyle changes, and hormone replacement therapy can help.
At Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, our team of providers led by doctors Robert Harris, MD, and Steven Speights, MD, help women navigate menopause with dignity and comfort.
Menopause can begin in your late forties or be delayed until well into your fifties. Officially, menopause begins twelve months after your final period, but you might experience skipped periods and signs of menopause (perimenopause) before your cycle subsides for good.
A life without periods might sound like a relief, but it takes some time to get there. In the meantime, you might struggle with several symptoms, including:
- Slowed metabolism and weight gain
- Reduced sex drive
- Poor sleep and frequent disturbances
- Loss of volume in the breasts
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Hair loss and thinning
Your experience with menopause can vary; you might experience many of these symptoms or very few. However, if you’re one of the people struggling to stay above water during this massive change, you’re not alone.
Five tips for managing menopause
At first, it might feel like you cannot do anything in the face of menopause. It’s a natural stage of life, but that doesn’t mean you must endure the symptoms with a stiff lip. Along with treating symptoms individually, you can also manage menopause by:
1. Lowering stress levels
Coupled with hormonal mood swings, stress can take a massive toll on your mind and body. Try to limit how much you take on in your personal and professional life, and practice self-care. If this isn’t enough, consider therapy or support groups.
2. Lifestyle changes
Looking back on how you live, are there any areas you could improve? If you’re a heavy drinker or smoker, now would be the time to quit. Substances like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can increase stress and worsen symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and low metabolism.
3. Weight loss
If you are overweight or obese, certain menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may hit you harder. Losing weight can help relieve these symptoms and help you manage the transitions more easily.
4. Non-hormonal medications
Some women find that herbal supplements or antidepressants help suppress mood swings and other menopausal symptoms. There have even been studies that show gabapentin (a medication often prescribed for nerve pain) can be successful in reducing hot flashes without increasing estrogen levels.
5. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
When your ovaries stop releasing eggs, they also stop making estrogen. This deficiency is what causes menopause symptoms, which is why doctors began trying to supplement the body’s supply of estrogen using hormone replacement therapy.
HRT comes in many forms, but it also has risks. Before beginning treatment, the team at Ovation Wellness will run labs to ensure you’re in menopause and then check your medical history for risk factors like blood clots, osteoporosis, and more.
From there, your provider can explain the process further and help you decide how to proceed. To learn more about HRT and find out if it’s right for you, call us at 601-202-1340, or visit the contact page for more options.