Here are five solutions for five symptoms common to midlife women. (Remember, you should always discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider first. There may be other treatments or potentially harmful side effects. Together, you can decide which options are best for you.)
Some women find that hormone fluctuations in perimenopause create a feeling of being out of control. Reports of increased irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and blue moods are not uncommon. Relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, including deep-breathing exercises and massage, a healthy lifestyle (good nutrition and daily exercise), and enjoyable, self-nurturing activities may all be helpful. Some women try to treat their menopause symptoms with over-the-counter products such as St. John’s wort or vitamin B6.
Discussing mood issues with your healthcare provider can help you identify the cause, assess for severe depression, and decide on the most appropriate intervention. For depression, prescription antidepressant medications may be indicated to correct a chemical imbalance. Although several weeks are usually needed to experience the full effect of one of these drugs, many women show a marked improvement with these medications with relatively few side effects. Some antidepressants have also been found to treat hot flashes. Antidepressant therapy is most effective when combined with counseling or psychotherapy.
While it is defined as the persistent, involuntary loss of urine, most women would say urinary incontinence is an unfortunate, unwelcome, unwanted annoyance. Luckily, there are strategies to help improve the various forms of incontinence without medication or surgery. Try drinking adequate water to keep urine diluted (clear and pale yellow), and avoid foods or beverages with a high acid or caffeine content, which may irritate the bladder lining. These include grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, coffee, and caffeine-containing soft drinks. Also try Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and reduce incontinence episodes.
To get relief from night sweats (hot flashes that occur during sleep), try different strategies to stay cool while you sleep:
Establish a regular sleep schedule and sleep routine:
Menopause contributes to sexual function changes through the decreases in ovarian hormone production and may lead to vaginal dryness and a decline in sexual function. To counteract these changes, try:
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