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Blog: MenoPause ~ take time to think about it

  • Now’s the time to help your heart

    by Margery Gass | Sep 20, 2012
    As we get older, our risk of cardiovascular disease rises, so now is the time to do to all we can to reduce our risk. Cardiovascular disease rates in the United States have declined dramatically since the 1950s—but not for women. From 1999 to 2004, deaths of women from heart disease actually rose. Although the rate has been declining since then, it is still higher than the rate for men. The good news is that you can effectively wipe out your risk of having a heart attack or other coronary event by adopting a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking.
    Go comment!
  • Smoking makes menopause misery

    by Margery Gass | Sep 19, 2012
    There are so many reasons smoking is bad for you, but did you know it contributes to menopause misery? Here are reasons to quit now:
    • Smoking brings on menopause faster—as much as 2 years earlier in heavier smokers
    • Women smokers are more likely to have hot flashes more frequently and more severely than nonsmokers
    At and after menopause, your risks of other conditions rises, and smoking increases the risk even more, including:
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Breast cancer
    • Diabetes
    But there’s good news:
    • Quitting smoking before menopause may delay menopause
    • Quitting cuts your risk of death, no matter how old you are when you quit
    Go comment!
  • Moisturize to stay sexy! (We don’t mean your face.)

    by Margery Gass | Sep 18, 2012
    You may need moisturizing in more than one place. After menopause, your vagina can become thin and dry, especially if you are not using it regularly. Using estrogen in the vagina is one way to ease the problem, but non-hormonal, non-prescription options are available in the form of vaginal moisturizers or lubricants. Moisturizers are absorbed into and cling to the vaginal lining like natural secretions, and they can last a few days. Lubricants reduce friction and are used right before sex. Go for water-based or silicone-based lubricants and not oil-based ones, which can cause irritation and make it easier for condoms to break. Learn more here.
    Go comment!
  • Avoid gotta-go woe: menopause and incontinence

    by Margery Gass | Sep 17, 2012
    After menopause, those gotta go feelings that doctors call “urgency” and “overactive bladder” tend to increase. Urinary tract infections do, too, for some women. These problems can result from estrogen deficiency. Putting estrogen back right there near the urethra with an estrogen cream, ring, or pill that you insert into the vagina may help in certain cases.

    Curiously, researchers have found that estrogen has to be used locally to help in this situation. Even though declining estrogen plays a role in these problems, oral hormone replacement with pills doesn’t seem to help. In fact, in some large studies midlife and older women, oral hormone therapy actually made things worse. However, neither type of hormone therapy helps with stress incontinence, which is leakage prompted by physical activity or coughing.

    Go comment!
  • Will exercise help you live long and stay lively?

    by Margery Gass | Sep 14, 2012
    Regular exercise after menopause can help you stay young and live longer. That’s because regular exercise keeps your telomeres long. Ever heard of them? They’re the end caps on chromosomes that get shorter and shorter with age. People—and animals—with longer telomeres look and act younger and live longer than those with shorter ones. You might have heard about telomeres when three scientists won a Nobel Prize in 2009 for their telomere discoveries. Or, you might have seen one of the PBS Scientific American Frontiers episodes with old gray-haired, slow-moving mice next to the sleek, brown, active ones that were really the same age but had longer telomeres. Now, a just-published telomere/exercise study in the NAMS journal Menopause shows you can take a sip from this fountain of youth with regular exercise, which helps keep telomeres long. The postmenopausal women in the study who exercised regularly not only had longer telomeres than women who didn’t exercise, they also had higher levels of adiponectin, which is known to be anti-inflammatory and to help put the brakes on type 2 diabetes and hardening of the arteries. So keep exercising and live long and healthy!

    Go comment!
  • Chill out: tips to treat your hot flashes

    by Margery Gass | Sep 13, 2012
    Keeping your body cool can help keep hot flashes at bay. Here are just some of the cool tricks:
    • Keep ice water handy to sip.
    • Turn down the thermostat.
    • Use a ceiling fan or air conditioning.
    • Dress cool—wear cotton, linen, or rayon, and avoid wool, other synthetic fabrics, and silk.
    • Stick to open-necked shirts.
    • Dress in layers so you can take something off if you’re feeling warm.
    • At night, take a cool shower before bed, wear cotton nightclothes or loose fitness clothing designed to wick away moisture, and keep an ice pack under your pillow.
    • Get a bigger bed if you and your partner are on different “heat planets.”
    Go comment!
  • Menopause mind fog—it’s real, it’s normal, and it’s temporary

    by Margery Gass | Sep 12, 2012
    Mood, memory, and menopause really are linked. A memory study recently published in the NAMS journal Menopause showed that women approaching menopause who thought they were having memory problems really did perform worse on tests of attention, working memory, “encoding” (the process of making a memory), and verbal skills and they had more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance than women who said they didn’t have a lot of memory problems. The women who had lower levels of estrogen were the ones who struggled especially with memory encoding. But take heart, the fog will lift. A National Institutes of Health-funded study of thousands of women as they went through menopause showed that the memory problems are worse right before menopause and improve after menopause.
    Go comment!
  • Which hormones are better?

    by Margery Gass | Sep 11, 2012
    There’s been a lot of talk about how “bioidentical” hormones and transdermal hormones (in skin patches or gels) may be safer options than the oral pill hormones used in the Women’s Health Initiative Studies. There’s been some research, too, hinting that transdermal estradiol (a bioidentical hormone in FDA-approved forms such as patches, creams or gels) and micronized progesterone (also bioidentical and government approved) might cause fewer blood clots. But we won’t know for sure until we see results from large-scale randomized trials, which may not be done anytime soon. Do different formulations of hormone therapy have different effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, progression of atherosclerosis, memory, or quality of life? The Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) will answer many of these questions. Stay tuned because the results are coming soon. In fact, the first results from the trial will be presented at the NAMS Annual Meeting in Orlando in October.
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MenoPause: the blog!

Posts to our Blog are written by NAMS staff members and Dr. Margery Gass. All posts are reviewed and edited by Dr. Gass. We strive to bring you the most recent and interesting information about various aspect of menopause and midlife health. We accept no advertising for our website. We want you to have accurate, unbiased, evidence-based information. 

Margery L.S. Gass, MD, NCMP
NAMS Executive Director

An internationally recognized leader in the field of menopause, Dr. Gass became Executive Director of The North American Menopause Society in 2010. Dr. Gass has been an investigator on numerous research projects, including serving as a principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative, and has published and presented on a wide range of topics related to menopause, including osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, and hormone therapy.

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