Return to Index
Managing Symptoms of Menopause
The following tips may be beneficial for these common symptoms of menopause .
Hot flashes are the most common symptom in women going through menopause. Here are some ways you can stay cool:
- Wear fabrics that breathe, such as cotton.
- Dress in layers so you can easily remove some of the layers when you are warm.
- If you feel a hot flash coming on, drink a glass of cold water.
- If troubled by night sweats, keep an ice pack by your bed.
- Consider investing in mattress pads or bedding that is designed to keep you cool.
- Decrease your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid spicy foods and hot drinks.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
- The herb black cohosh is also widely used to treat hot flashes. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.
Vaginal Dryness and Urinary Problems
Physical problems are not limited to hot flashes. Your body undergoes lots of changes. Contrary to popular belief, you can maintain an active sex life. Try these tips:
- Use a vaginal cream or lubricant (avoid petroleum jelly) to help reduce pain from dryness during sexual intercourse.
- Urinate before and after sexual intercourse to help prevent bladder infections.
- To help prevent urinary tract infections, drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder frequently.
- Try Kegel exercises daily. These exercises, which tighten and relax the muscles you use to stop urination, strengthen the vaginal muscles, enhance orgasm, and help prevent incontinence.
It is not uncommon to feel anxious, irritable, or depressed. The following suggestions may help you:
- Communicate openly with your partner about your symptoms and ask for support.
- Join or even start a support group specific to menopause or other life changes you are experiencing.
- Find and share support with friends who are going through the same experience.
- Seek counseling to learn new methods to cope with stress.
- Identify which sources of stress you can eliminate from your life.
You may gain weight during this period, but it is something you can control. Proper diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and make you feel better.
- Engage in an aerobic exercise. Talk with your doctor first about how long to exercise and how often.
- Find ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Decrease your intake of saturated fat and calories, and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Menopause symptoms can be managed. Symptoms differ from person to person. Talk with your doctor about your options.
National Women's Health Resource Center
The North American Menopause Society
Women's Health Matters
Menopause. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq047.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130718T1434007150. Published February 2013. Accessed April 14, 2015.
Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 10, 2015. Accessed April 14, 2015.
Menopause relief and symptom treatments. US Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/. Updated September 22, 2010. Accessed April 14, 2015.
Montemuro, S. Relieving the symptoms of menopause: From herbs to hormones. BCMJ. 2001;43(8):452-457.
Teoman N, Ozcan A, Acar B. The effect of exercise on physical fitness and quality of life in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2004 Jan 20;47(1):71-77.
Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 6, 2015. Accessed April 14, 2015.
1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Borrelli F, Ernst E. Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga racemosa): a systematic review of adverse events. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;199:455-466.
1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Kaszkin-Bettag M, Ventskovskiy BM, Solskyy S, et al. Confirmation of the efficacy of ERr 731 in perimenopausal women with menopausal symptoms. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15:24-34.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2015
- Update Date: 04/14/2015