Home Remedies for Menopause


First, you notice some changes in your menstrual cycle. You're bleeding less and your period is a day or two shorter than normal. Then you begin to experience moments of intense heat and sweating that come and go quickly and unexpectedly. You're on the threshold of a new phase in your life. You're beginning menopause, the cessation of the menstrual cycle.

Every woman has heard menopausal horror stories -- everything from weight gain and loss of sex drive to thinning hair. Relax. Most of what you heard isn't true, and, for the menopause symptoms you do experience, there are some preventative steps you can take. In this article, we will offer you some home remedies for menopause, including:
  • Home Remedies for Menopausal Hot Flashes

    Hot flashes are probably the most common complaint from women who are going through menopause. Hot flashes occur when blood vessels expand, causing the temperature of the body to rise. On this page, we will offer some home remedies for dealing with hot flashes. Our recommendations will range from the simple -- dress in light clothing -- to identifying and avoiding your hot-flash triggers.

  • Home Remedies for Menopausal Sleep Disorders

    Many women who are experiencing menopause report that they have difficulty getting a good night's sleep. This could be partly due to the discomfort of hot flashes, but studies have shown that the changes of menopause also interfere with the area of the brain that controls sleep. In this section, we will show you some practical steps you can take at home to ensure you sleep through the night. We will offer you some advice if you need to seek professional help.

  • Home Remedies Menopausal Bladder Problems

    Menopause can cause drastic changes in your urinary system. As the levels of estrogen in your body begin to fall, the walls of the bladder begin to thin and need to urinate might increase. Other women complain of frequent urinary tract infections or problems with intercourse. On this page, we will provide you with some helpful tips to keep you and your bladder healthy.

  • Home Remedies for Menopausal Sexual Dysfunction

    Similar to the changes that occur in the bladder, menopause can also cause changes to the vagina. The membranes around the vagina become thinner and drier, sometime making sexual intercourse difficult. On this page, we will give you some tips to maintain a healthy sex life.

  • Home Remedies for Menopausal Birth Control Issues

    Most women assume that once they begin menopause they do not have to continue to worry about birth control. Because ovulation can be so erratic as a women approaches menopause, it is not uncommon to miss one or several periods. As a result, some women might suspect they have entered menopause and cease taking birth control when it still quite possible that they could become pregnant. Even worse, unexpected pregnancies later in life can be quite dangerous. In this section, we give you some home remedies to deal with this problem.

  • Home Remedies Menopausal Body Image Issues

    While most of the changes stemming from menopause are internal or undetectable to the naked eye, there are some physical changes that also accompany this time. Your skin, hair, and nails may all need special attention as you approach menopause. On this page, we will give you some tips to keep you looking your best.

  • Home Remedies for Menopausal Depression

    All of the major changes we have described in this article can add up to take a severe mental toll on a woman. It is not uncommon slip into a minor or major depression during the menopausal years. In this section, we will help you stay positive while you're going through menopause. We will tell you how to find a professional that is right for you, as well as some general tips for teasing out the silver lining.
For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies for Menopausal Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are probably the most common of the menopausal discomforts. They are primarily brought on by falling estrogen levels and have to do with rapid changes in the blood vessels. The vessels dilate, or widen, suddenly and blood rushes toward the skin, heating the body. Women sometimes ask, "Am I having hot flashes?" If you have to ask, don't worry! When the flashes are for real, you will know!

Mild flushing, a feeling of warmth which does not cause sweating or other disruptions, will simply make you aware you are warm when no one else around seems to be warm. Moderate flushing may bother you at work or while sleeping but does not interfere with your ability to function. Severe flushing will keep you from completing daily tasks or interrupt your sleep badly enough to interfere with your ability to function. Although some women do experience disabling hot flashes, most will only have nuisance flashes. For mild flushing, common sense and a little preparation is all you need.

Dress for August

Light, loose-fitting clothes can help keep your body temperature down.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Light, loose-fitting clothes can help
keep your body temperature down.

Perhaps the single most effective way to cope with hot flashes is to dress properly. You need to plan your wardrobe with flashes in mind. Layer your clothing so you can shed a sweater or suit coat when you feel the heat. Make your outer layers easy to remove; a cardigan will be less cumbersome to take off than a pullover.

In general, layers of loose clothing, such as blouses that button down the front, are better than turtlenecks, which can leave you trapped in a flash. If you plan your wardrobe right, you can use your layers to control your body temperature like a thermostat.

Carry a Personal Fan

When those big flashes strike, simply removing a sweater may not cut it. You need to cool down, not just keep from getting hotter. Try carrying a hand fan with you; there are several types. The traditional oriental folding fan is one. You can even collect several of these and coordinate them with your different outfits. A fan can be quite a fashion statement and quite a relief when your internal thermometer goes through the roof. You can also purchase a personal electric fan. These battery-powered fans come in several models and silently direct a stream of cooling air so that only you can feel it.

Remember, hot flashes are not dangerous; they are just a nuisance. The important thing is to keep yourself comfortable, and if that means shedding a sweater and fanning yourself while everyone else in the room shivers, then so be it. Very few people notice the flashes as much as you do. Don't sweat it.

Go Natural for Night Sweats

When hot flashes strike at night, they can be particularly bothersome. Oddly enough, sometimes you wake up because of the chill. During the flash, you kicked off the covers, and now that it has passed, you wake up cold with your pajamas and pillow damp. Welcome to night sweats.

Keeping a clean cotton T-shirt next to the bed to replace a damp top can help you get comfortably back to sleep without too much disruption. You may also want to keep an extra pillow with a cotton pillowcase handy so that you can switch pillows easily. It may add to the laundry, but sleeping on a damp pillow night after night can ruin the pillow.

Cotton is the best fabric for the T-shirt and pillowcase; it's more absorbent and more comfortable next to your skin. The "dry clean only" satins can wait a couple of years.

Keep the Thermostat Down in the Winter

Even when you've dressed for the occasion, it can be tough to cool down from a hot flash. What good does it do to remove a sweater and still be in a 75-degree room? Set the thermostat at home, and in your workplace if you can, at a lower temperature, and cooling down will be a breeze. If the air temperature is cool enough, your body's surface heat will dissipate more quickly, and the flash may pass without too much discomfort.

At night, most of us keep the thermostat low anyway, but for a woman with hot flashes, this practice is essential. Many women simply turn the heat off. A cool room temperature will allow you to kick off the covers and recover quickly from a nighttime flash. You may find that you get a better night's sleep, and you'll probably save money on heating bills in the process.

Keep It Cool in the Summer

Hot flashes are bad enough on their own, but when the summer heat is all around you, a hot flash can be almost unbearable. There seems to be no escape. You have to find a way to dissipate the heat. This is where the air conditioner comes in. Don't be afraid to set the temperature low.

Considering the money you're saving on heating bills in the winter, a little extra air conditioning in the summer is worth the indulgence. Even if you keep only one room well air conditioned, you're in good shape. At least you will have a sanctuary from the heat everywhere else. That room can be your escape.

Figure Out What Your Hot Flash Triggers Are

Alcohol, among other substances, can be a hot-flash trigger.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Alcohol, among other substances,
 can be a hot-flash trigger.

Many stresses can trigger hot flashes. Stress itself, climate changes, and various foods and medications may make you flash. There is quite a bit of trial and error here, and every woman should try to be alert as to what her personal triggers are. Unfortunately, avoiding some of them can be difficult.

Common hot flash triggers include alcohol, nicotine, spicy foods, caffeine, fatty foods, and chocolate. Individual triggers may also include certain kinds of cheese or certain flavorings.

Most women find that their flashing is worse during the summer, and you can consider a hot, humid day a trigger to be avoided. Stressful events and sleep deprivation can aggravate flashes, which is a problem, since sleep deprivation can also result from hot flashes, creating a vicious cycle.

Some activities can bring on a fierce hot flash or exacerbate a mild one. You may find that doing the laundry, for example, is a chore that is almost always accompanied by a flash; pulling hot clothes out of the drier or standing over a steaming iron can be nearly unbearable. Try passing this duty on to someone else.

If your triggers are not obvious, try keeping a hot flash diary. When you have a flash, record what you were doing, what you ate or drank recently, and even what you were thinking or worrying about at the time. If you are still menstruating, record the time of the month. A written record might reveal a pattern or uncover some likely suspects.

Relax When You Feel the Flash

Perhaps the most important coping technique for hot flashes is to relax! They are rarely noticeable to the people around you, and simply taking some slow deep breaths and consciously trying to relax will head off or at least minimize any embarrassment. Getting uptight will only make it worse and attract unwanted attention.

When possible, getting up, moving around, shedding that extra layer of clothing, or taking a cold drink of water will break the cycle of flushing. Don't be intimidated into inaction; take the time you need to feel more comfortable even if it is a little disruptive.

When dealing with hot flashes, try to keep the whole process in perspective. Many women outgrow hot flashes within a year or two of menopause. The flashes are not dangerous, only uncomfortable. A sense of humor can go a long way toward helping you accept this natural event for what it is.

We've already discussed how hot flashes can disrupt a good night's rest, but there are other sleep disorders that can be caused by menopause. In the next section, we'll offer you some home remedies getting the sleep you need.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies for Menopausal Sleep Disorders

Many women find their sleep quality deteriorates with menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats, which can wake you up many times each night, are partly responsible. However, menopause also brings real changes in the part of the brain that regulates sleep. Changing hormone levels affect your sleep cycles.

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage associated with dreaming, is particularly affected. Many menopausal women find that they dream less because of this lack of REM sleep, and when you don't get enough REM sleep, you don't feel rested in the morning.

Some women find it hard to sleep through the night during menopause due to hot flashes or night sweats.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Some women find it hard to sleep through the night during
menopause due to hot flashes or night sweats.

Regardless of the cause, the end result can be fatigue and irritability. You can improve your sleep quality in several ways; here are some tips that can help:
  • Set a regular sleep-wake schedule allowing sufficient sleep to feel well-rested.

  • Exercise regularly in the late afternoon or early evening, so you are physically tired at night. A long walk after dinner may be all you need.

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after early afternoon, and cut your overall caffeine consumption. Besides keeping you up, caffeine can make you feel stressed and even more irritable. If you love coffee, switch to decaf.

  • Set a bedtime routine that is relaxing. Maybe yoga or some other meditative exercise would help.

  • Try to settle stressful thoughts -- deal with them, write them down, do what it takes to set them to rest.

  • Avoid alcohol -- it is sedating initially, but in the wee hours, you will rebound from a "nightcap."

  • Avoid sleeping pills -- except in rare circumstances (traveling, severe temporary stress, or for an anxiety disorder for which you are under physician surveillance); they only work in the short term and can be very addictive.

  • Try a glass of warm milk or herbal tea with milk in it. Milk contains an amino acid, tryptophan, which is a mild, natural sedative that can help you get drowsy.
Sometimes, at-home treatments are not enough to counter serious sleep problems. Make no mistake, you cannot function for long without proper sleep. If the preceding commonsense steps do not help, you may want to look to more aggressive treatments for your problems; consider the following:
  • Get a general medical checkup. There are a number of serious problems, such as depression or thyroid disease, that are associated with sleep disorders. Don't accept a quick prescription for sleeping pills as the answer.

  • Consider a trial of estrogen replacement, particularly if you are having a lot of bothersome flashes at night.

  • See a sleep-disorder specialist. A specialized workup may reveal a problem, such as sleep apnea (a problem with breathing during sleep), which may not turn up in the course of a general physical exam.
Another common problem experienced by many women going through menopause is bladder problems. We'll take a closer look at this issue in the next section.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies Menopausal Bladder Problems

Menopause causes a lot of changes in your bladder and urinary system in general. The most noticeable change is that, as your estrogen levels go down, the wall of your bladder gets thinner. Many women notice that they are urinating frequently or that they leak a little when they cough or sneeze. Other women notice that everything in that vicinity feels a little lower and looser. Urinary tract infections and some irritation during intercourse are also common complaints. Do not despair! Most of these changes will be mild, and a bit of prevention can keep your bladder functioning normally for many years to come. Here are some tips that can help.

Prevent Bladder Infections

Drink plenty of fluids. Some insist that unsweetened cranberry juice is an especially good choice, because it may make urine more acidic. Also, urinate regularly every two to three hours, but go when your bladder is comfortably full. If you do not drink enough fluid, your urine will be more concentrated, and the ammonia in your urine will irritate your bladder and vaginal tissues, leading to a vicious cycle of frequent urination and constant pressure and urgency. A consistent flow through the system will flush out your bladder and prevent bacterial growth.

Drinking fluids, like tea, can help prevent you from developing bladder infections.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Drinking fluids, like tea, can help prevent you
from developing bladder infections.

Urinating right after intercourse is also helpful in flushing bacteria out of the urethra, the tube that goes into your bladder. Most women already know that it's important to always wipe from front to back, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded. Always wipe from the vagina towards the rectum, since bacteria that normally live in the rectum can cause vaginal and bladder infections. Women with hemorrhoids or frequent diarrhea must be especially careful, because it may be harder to keep the vaginal area clean. A little extra vigilance is important at midlife.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Muscles

Move those muscles! The muscles that strengthen bladder control need exercise, just like the rest of you. The muscle under the bladder, called the pubococcygeus muscle, can be exercised with the Kegel exercise. This is the muscle you tighten when you are trying to stop urinating in midstream. Tightening the muscle 10 to 20 times in a row, two or three times daily, can help prevent those embarrassing urine leaks. Also, get in the habit of tightening the pubococcygeus muscle every time you feel a cough or sneeze coming on; after a while, this will get to be second nature.

Exercises that involve strengthening the thighs indirectly help vaginal tone; these include bicycling, swimming, and other leg exercises. Jogging and high-impact aerobics, however, may actually make a weak bladder worse by increasing pressure on the bladder with repeated bounces and pounding.

Despite all of these precautions, women can have a number of serious bladder problems. Blood in the urine or persistent pain on urination can be a symptom of infection, cancer, or other chronic problems. Despite dozens of Kegel exercises, some women will have ongoing problems with incontinence, or their bladder will "drop" out of their vaginas (a condition referred to as prolapse).

Fortunately, most of these major problems can be treated with a combination of medicine and surgery. Newer approaches include physical therapy for the vaginal area. For many women, menopausal bladder problems may be treated as simply as using a lubricant for intercourse or a tiny amount of estrogen in the form of a vaginal cream, vaginal ring, or vaginal tablet. One major obstacle to the successful treatment of bladder problems is a widespread unwillingness to discuss the topic. Do not be too embarrassed to talk to your doctor about bladder problems; help is available.

There are also many sexual problems associated with menopause. We will offer some home remedies for this problem in the next section.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies for Menopausal Sexual Dysfunction

Along with the hormonal changes that affect the urinary tract and pelvic muscles come changes in the structure and thickness of the walls of the vagina. The mucous membrane and the skin around the vagina become thinner and drier, and the glands that react to sexual stimulation and produce lubrication can become less responsive. This can lead to irritation and painful intercourse. However, sex need not be a problem. In fact, many women say that they enjoy sex more after menopause, but you may need to take a little extra care in its practice.

Though there may be some sexual problems during menopause, they are nothing you and partner can't overcome together.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Though there may be some sexual problems during menopause,
they are nothing you and partner can't overcome together.

Take Your Time

With age may come some slowing of sexual responses. Talk with your partner about physiologic changes. Learn to understand each other's changing bodies and changing needs for more prolonged stimulation. Not only does aging affect women, but in men, aging can affect blood flow through the penis and diminish the strength and duration of erections. Many couples find that intimacy in general is more important than traditional intercourse. Take your time and vary your lovemaking. Try to enjoy each sexual experience thoroughly. There's nothing more important to do during the time for sex.

Consider a Lubricant

One change you may notice is that you find yourself feeling a bit dry during intercourse or that you are, overall, bothered by vaginal dryness, which can cause itching or burning. As estrogen levels fall, two changes in the vaginal lining may decrease lubrication. The cells themselves become thinner, making the skin thinner and more easily irritated. In addition, the glands and cells produce less moisture when stimulated.

For many women, this process is subtle and may not cause any problems. For other women, uncomfortable or painful intercourse can be a hidden reason for avoiding sexual contact, which can lead to marital problems. This cycle need not continue. Simply taking time for more foreplay may be enough. If not, a number of simple lubricants are available, all of which have their pros and cons:
  • Bacteriostatic gels, surgical lubricants: Some prominent brand names include KY Jelly, Koromex, Ortho II, and Astroglide. Incidentally, Astroglide was developed for the space program to help lubricate astronauts' skin inside space suits! Some gels are used as lubricants for vaginal exams and rectal exams in doctors' offices and are also widely available at drugstores.

    Surgical gels are an excellent choice for several reasons. First, they have the advantage of being sterile and "bacteriostatic," which means that they discourage bacterial growth. For women who experience recurrent infections, this first line of defense can be helpful. Second, they are not harmful to condoms. Petroleum-based oils can cause diaphragms and condoms to break down in a matter of minutes, leading to the possibility of pregnancy or infection, which can be a concern for women who have not completed menopause. One drawback is that some people are chemically sensitive (that is, allergic) to some of the chemicals in surgical lubricants.

  • Natural oils: Baby oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly, or any other simple, nonallergenic oil may be used as a sexual lubricant. These substances have been used as lubricants for centuries and have the advantage of being easily obtainable (and for the squeamish, less embarrassing to purchase). Some women like the skin protection of the oils better than that of water-soluble substances; oils can trap moisture and keep the skin more elastic. However, these oily substances have two major drawbacks: As discussed above, they can cause diaphragms and condoms to deteriorate, and the unsterile environment that they create may trigger vaginal infections.

  • "Plumping" substances: Replens, Gyne-Lubrin, Gyne-Moistrin, and several similar vaginal preparations can be very effective for relieving vaginal dryness. These creams and gels cause the cells of the vaginal wall and the skin around the vaginal opening to retain more moisture. These products actually counteract the thinning out of the cells. The plumped-up cells retain their moisture longer, and therefore, they can secrete more fluid when stimulated. The moisturizers can be applied directly to the dry, irritated external area with the fingertip, or they can be used internally with a special applicator. One advantage of these products is that their effect can be a lasting one; for some women, only a few applications a week is enough.

  • Topical (vaginal) hormone products: Estrogen products in the form of vaginal creams, vaginal tablets, or a "ring" both thicken the skin in the vaginal area and make the cells in the glands retain more fluid, much like the previously discussed plumping preparations. These substances are available only by prescription and are not sexual lubricants; their effects last long enough, though, that they can usually alleviate any dryness problems. Androgen (testosterone) creams have also historically been used to treat certain vulvar skin diseases and to improve libido (sexual interest and sex drive) and orgasm. In addition, topical cortisone products are helpful for some women who experience a type of vaginal thinning known as lichen sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition.

    Unlike other lubricants, hormone creams are absorbed by the cells and enter into the body; hence, they can occasionally cause side effects such as breast tenderness. However, the prescribed doses are usually smaller than those of oral, patch, or injectable hormones.
Be Less Conventional with Your Sex Life

Because of the physical changes that can affect your sex life, you may have to adjust your behavior to compensate. Make your sex life less conventional. Be creative! Let your imagination go! As a start, suggest sexual activities in different places in your house. Wear different lingerie. Initiate sexual activities at a different time of day than your lifelong routine. Say things you've never said before to your partner. Talk about sex.

After menopause, your sex life can take on new dimensions. You no longer have to worry about unwanted pregnancy and use of contraceptives. You probably don't have small children around to interrupt an amorous hour. Sexual activity can be more spontaneous. It can also be more exciting if you change some of your habitual behaviors.

Do you always have sex only at bedtime? Why wait until you are both tired? Make a "date" with your partner for an earlier time. Start talking about it after breakfast. Just talking about it may arouse your and your partner's interest.

Have you always had sex only in the bedroom? Sex in other places in the house may be even more exciting. Try a seduction in the living room after a candlelight dinner. If eating breakfast first thing each morning is your habit, get up a little earlier on a weekend. Serve breakfast in bed; follow that by some gentle caresses that lead to further sexual play. Who says you have to get up before noon?

Is a long flannel nightgown your style of sleepwear? Excite your partner with something that may be out of character for you. Lingerie departments feature all varieties of smooth, slinky bedroom garments that will make you feel very special and draw renewed attention from your partner.

Talk to each other about your sexual fantasies. Discuss acting them out. If acting out your own or your partner's fantasy doesn't offend you, try it. You will enjoy giving additional pleasure and receiving the additional stimulation that the heightened experience may provide. You may find it possible and enjoyable to incorporate the fantasy behavior into your repeated sexual routines.

To help you overcome your inhibitions, consider doing some things you may never have done before. This might involve renting an erotic video for both of you to watch together. Wear one of your new lingerie items while watching it!

If your usual homecoming routine is to rush into the kitchen and begin making dinner, vary your procedure. Give some attention to your appearance, making yourself as attractive as possible, and greeting your partner with an unusually long embrace and stimulating caresses.

With age, sexual needs may change. For example, if one partner has become heavier or has just recovered from an illness, changing positions during sexual activity may improve the experience. If one partner has always taken the top position, switching places may make intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable. Experiment with side-by-side positions if you have never done so.

Having sex once or twice a week may help preserve the shape, size, and muscle tone of your vagina. It may also help improve lubrication. If you have any concerns about discomforts during sexual intercourse, such as vaginal dryness, talk with your physician. Help is available. The physical changes at midlife involving hormones need not get in the way of enjoying a healthy sex life.

Just because you are going through menopause does not mean that you can completely forget about birth control. We'll cover the precautions you should take in the next section.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies for Menopausal Birth Control Issues

Many women assume that past the age of 40, they are too old to get pregnant. Some will be surprised! Fortunately, pregnancy is medically safe for a healthy woman, even at that age. However, many women over age 40 have medical problems that can make a pregnancy unsafe. Further, women over age 40 are likelier to miscarry or have a baby with a genetic defect. Finally, a lot of women simply don't want to be dealing with diapers and menopause at the same time! Continue to be careful; don't get complacent about contraception.

Many contraceptives are available. None is perfect, but a woman who doesn't want a surprise pregnancy needs to be sure that she or her partner uses some method of birth control until a year past menopause. That is, a year after her last natural period if it occurs in her early 50s; women whose periods stopped in their 40s need to have blood tests done to be sure they are indeed going through menopause. More than one woman has sought medical attention for "menopause" because of missed periods, weight gain, and fatigue only to discover her "menopause" had arms, legs, and a heartbeat!

Just because you've begun menopause doesn't mean you can forget about birth control.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Just because you've begun menopause
doesn't mean you can forget
about birth control.

Birth control methods that are appropriate for midlife women include:
  • Condoms: They are safe and offer good protection against many sexually transmitted diseases. They fail in three to eight percent of couples. They are a particularly good choice for single women who may have occasional encounters with new partners. The new "female" condom is a bit cumbersome but offers even better disease protection. If you are just beginning a new sexual relationship, remember the rules of "safe sex." With sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS rampant among both the heterosexual and homosexual populations, barring abstinence, condoms are the best way to protect yourself and your new partner.

  • Foams, sponges, and spermicides: These are chemical methods that use a substance that inactivates sperm. Although they have fairly high failure rates in young women, they can be an excellent choice for women in their late 40s. They offer some protection against diseases and vaginal infections, although some women will find them irritating, and allergic reactions can occur.

  • Diaphragms and cervical caps: These small cup-shaped rubber devices cover the cervix to prevent pregnancy and are a good method of birth control for couples who do not prefer to use condoms. However, they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Diaphragms and cervical caps require fitting with a physician and instructions. Cervical caps are not widely available in the United States.

  • IUDs: Intrauterine devices are small plastic inserts that go into the uterine cavity. Women with a history of internal pelvic infections or with multiple partners should avoid them, but they can be excellent for monogamous women. Failure rates are one to two percent. A copper-containing IUD, ParaGard, can be used for 12 years, tiding most women completely through menopause. Another intrauterine system, Mirena, contains the hormone progesterone, which can actually decrease menstrual flow and can be used for 5 years.

  • Birth control pills: The newer, low-dose pills can be a good choice for nonsmokers over the age of 40. Failure rates are less than one percent. The Pill cuts down on menstrual cramps, and heavy flow reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial (uterine) cancer. However, many women have side effects, and there is an increased risk of blood clots in women who use them.

  • Long-acting hormonal contraceptives: Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive, is effective for three months and can reduce heavy menstrual flow. However, it may cause weight gain and irritability. A variety of contraceptive implants are available, but they can cause irregular cycles. Long-acting injectable and implant progestins are highly effective but not widely used in the United States.

  • Sterilization: Female sterilization, or tubal ligation, is a highly effective birth control method and may be an excellent choice for women who have definitely decided not to have more children. It requires a minor surgical procedure and is permanent. A few women may experience pain or irregular periods as a result. Tubal ligation, during which the fallopian tubes are clipped, banded, cut, or cauterized, can be performed via an abdominal incision or laparoscopy. These methods require a general or regional anesthetic. Another option for female sterilization involves an office or outpatient surgical procedure during which a tube is temporarily inserted into the vagina to dispense small metal plugs that block the fallopian tubes. Male sterilization, a vasectomy, is also simple and highly effective.

  • "Morning-after" contraception: If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or sex during which another form of birth control failed, this pill is highly effective at preventing pregnancy. However, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Abstinence: In this era of AIDS concern, this is the choice of many women because it is 100 percent effective as a contraceptive.
Expect the Unexpected Period

Most women have a predictable menstrual cycle in their 20s and 30s. In their 40s and early 50s, all bets are off. As ovulation becomes irregular and eventually stops altogether, a woman's periods may become irregular, closer together, light, heavy, unpredictable, or absent. Most of the time, this is just a nuisance, because these unpredictable periods will almost always appear at inconvenient times -- while on vacation or when a special romantic weekend is planned. It is a good idea to keep track with a simple record of your periods.

Several patterns should prompt a visit to your doctor. Frequent, very heavy periods can lead to anemia and fatigue. Irregular spotty bleeding or bleeding with intercourse can be a sign of polyps or fibroid tumors or even cancers of the cervix or uterine lining. Any bleeding more than a year after menopause merits a thorough investigation by a doctor.

While there are many changes your body will undergo during menopause, the most upsetting change may be to your physical appearance. In the next section, we will explore body-image issues associated with menopause.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies Menopausal Body Image Issues

One of the most dreaded and inevitable changes with menopause is a change in body shape. An average woman will gain 10 to 15 pounds with menopause, usually around the midriff. This weight gain is due to a decrease in the metabolic rate of the body (your calorie-burning capacity) coupled with the fact that people become more sedentary and lose muscle mass as they get older. Traditional dieting slows the metabolic rate in an attempt to conserve calories, leading to fatigue and easier weight gain.

Midlife women must often make systematic lifestyle changes to keep themselves at a healthy weight. Exercise, exercise, exercise to increase your metabolic rate and build muscle mass. Then, eat a calorie appropriate, nutritious diet with lots of fiber. Your main goal should be feeling good about your healthy body; a woman who feels good about herself will look her best at any weight.

Take Extra Care of Your Skin

Take good care of yourself, and your skin will look better, too. For many women, wrinkles, age spots, and crow's feet in the corners of the eyes start appearing around midlife. Your skin will only be as healthy looking as you are. By following a healthy diet, drinking enough water, getting enough rest, staying out of the sun, and avoiding smoking you can actually prevent some of the years' wear and tear from showing on your face.

Dryness naturally accompanies aging and menopause. Moisturizers can help slow this process.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Dryness naturally accompanies aging
 and menopause. Moisturizers can help
 slow this process.

Dryness, particularly on the face, seems to come with age. Use moisturizers. Put a moisturizer under your makeup. Use a heavier moisturizer after you wash your face for the night. Keep the skin on your arms and legs smooth by using lotions. If you live in a climate with low indoor humidity during the winter, keep a humidifier going.

Many women who smoke notice more facial wrinkles than women who do not. If you are a smoker, stop smoking for your health's sake and also for your appearance!

If you have sun-damaged skin from earlier years of sunbathing, you can't easily undo that damage. However, you can prevent further damage by applying a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) when you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunshine. Be sure to reapply the sunscreen if you perspire a great deal or go swimming. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep your face shielded from direct sunlight.

Many women who are affected by hormonal changes notice unwanted facial hair. If the amount is sudden and dramatic, seek medical advice. There are several prescription drugs available that can counteract unusual hair growth. If it is not due to any medical problems, consider electrolysis or laser hair removal as an option for getting rid of it.

Take a careful look at the type of makeup you use. If you are doing your makeup the same way you have for many years, consider having a professional makeup consultation. Many department stores offer makeup consultations at no charge in the cosmetic sections. You may learn a few new ideas to incorporate into your daily routine.

Keep Your Hair Healthy

Your hair is like your skin: It is a mirror of your health. Healthy women usually have healthy hair. By following a good diet, drinking plenty of liquids, getting enough rest, and avoiding smoking, you may actually improve the quality of your hair.

Some women notice hair loss around menopause. Hair loss can be caused by a medical condition, such as low thyroid or anemia, or simple bad habits, such as overusing irritating chemicals in hair dyes or repeatedly pulling hair into tight buns or ponytails. But the vast majority of hair loss in women is caused by genetics. The same genes that cause male pattern baldness also cause gradually thinning hair in women, especially during menopause.

Talk with your doctor about the hair loss to determine is there is an underlying medical condition or if prescription or over-the-counter medication would be appropriate to treat hair loss. Discuss hair and scalp care with a knowledgeable beautician. Fortunately, a good hair cut and style can usually disguise thinning hair.

Color Your Hair for a Change

While streaks of gray are not directly related to menopause, feeling good about your appearance can be a real boon when dealing with other effects of estrogen loss. There are many types of products on the market -- temporary, semipermanent, and permanent. If you'd like to see what a new color might do for you, experiment with one that washes out, or try a coloring agent that washes out in four or five shampoos. While it is helpful to have a professional colorist for both types of temporary colors, the pro is especially important if you're going to use a permanent color. A good thing to keep in mind is that as you age, your complexion changes as well, and the deep, dark hair color or bleached blonde of your youth may not work as well right now. Your hairdresser can be enormously helpful in guiding you to the right shade (or shades) that will work for your skin tone. If you've been thinking about a fabulous new look, you couldn't have chosen a better time.

Keep Your Nails Healthy

It's not just your skin and hair that need special attention at menopause. Your changing estrogen levels also affect your nails. You may notice that your fingernails are not as easy to keep beautiful. They may seem more brittle than before and may break a little more easily. Don't despair; with a little extra care, you shouldn't have a problem.

Keep your hands clean and protect your nails. Wear gloves when you do the dishes or come in contact with any strong cleansers. You should also wear gloves for tasks such as gardening. Keep hand lotion on your nightstand, next to your sink, at your desk, and in your purse. Remember to moisturize your nails and cuticles often, and avoid applying and removing polishes over and over again. Why not make a manicure or pedicure part of your hygiene routine? Manicures and pedicures can be very relaxing, and with all the pressures that midlife can bring, you could use some pampering.

Coping with the various challenges of menopause can really take a toll. Aside from the hot flashes and sleep disruptions, the biggest obstacle may be emotional. In the next section, we will learn how to relive menopausal depression.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedies for Menopausal Depression

Because menopause is a time of many changes in your life, you may find yourself feeling a little adrift. One way to help yourself cope with these changes is to talk about them with other women who are experiencing similar feelings and symptoms. This may mean sharing with a few friends who are also going through these changes, or it may mean finding a more formal setting.

It is important to stay positive while growing through menopause and embrace the changes you are going through.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
It is important to stay positive while
growing through menopause and
embrace the changes you are
going through.

If you have a concern about your own physical or mental health and don't have friends going through the same thing, find a support group. Support groups exist so that you don't have to feel alone with your worries. There are other women just like you. You will be able to meet with them and share your ideas and concerns in a supportive way. Support groups are run by many local hospitals and community centers. They bring together individuals who help each other by sharing experiences, giving advice, and providing emotional support for each other.

Sometimes physicians recommend that patients join support groups, because getting help and support with many confusing issues can make medical therapies work better. In fact, a California researcher found that women with breast cancer who participate in a regular support group make better recoveries than those who do not. Part of the aim is to keep spirits up and provide exposure to outside interests.

An additional benefit of belonging to a support group centered on a particular issue is that you can stay up-to-date on research into new treatments. Many support groups collect and circulate articles from popular and scientific publications and bring in experts to discuss their latest research. You may also be able to exchange special strategies for coping with hot flashes or sleeplessness. Besides the specific information you can pick up, just knowing that you are not alone can be a powerful therapy. Don't be afraid to seek out others who will understand you and your feelings. Find a support group; talking about it can help.

See a Professional If You Need One

Millions of women can deal with their stress in healthy ways -- prayer, meditation, humor, exercise, circles of friends, and family members to share life's burdens. However, there are times when the normal support systems fail, and for some women, there are not a lot of support systems to start with. If you find yourself at an impasse, trapped in a situation you do not know how to solve, you should consider seeing a professional. Here are some tips about finding appropriate professional care and what type of help you should seek -- at a price you can afford!

Let's discuss types of professionals with an emphasis on the mental health field:
  • Psychiatrist: A doctor with a medical degree who has also had training (a residency) in psychiatry. In most states, only physicians can prescribe medications. A psychiatrist may or may not be experienced in psychotherapy. Some only deal with medications and severe psychiatric problems; others deal mainly with talking therapy.

  • Psychologist: Usually a person with a Ph.D. degree. Psychologists also have a wide range of specialties; be sure that the person you want to see does the type of work you are interested in. Psychologists are particularly appropriate for individuals who need help sorting out personal issues and relationships.

  • Psychiatric social worker: An individual with a master's degree and special training in psychological issues. They are particularly important sources of information for women whose stresses are largely due to extraneous social factors -- caring for aging parents or dealing with the social stresses resulting from an illness.

  • Other physicians: Many family practitioners and other general doctors counsel patients in a variety of areas. Your family or personal doctor can be an excellent source of referrals to reputable mental health professionals and may be helpful in counseling as well.

  • Clergy: The clergy can also be excellent sources of counseling and referrals. Many people feel more comfortable with pastoral counseling because of the added spiritual dimension.
Many other excellent professionals (for example, marriage and family counselors, sex therapists) are not discussed here but are worth looking into if you have a specific problem. The critical issue is to do some homework on who would be the most appropriate professional for you to see. Ask your doctor, clergyman (or woman), and any personal acquaintances, such as a friend who is a nurse, for referrals. Professional organizations and hospitals usually maintain referral services. Your insurance carrier may have a list of individuals who meet their screening and coverage criteria.

Once you have started seeing someone, be sure it is a "good fit," that you feel comfortable with the individual, and that you find the relationship beneficial for you. If you have any concerns about the appropriateness of treatment, get another opinion. Your mental health is too valuable to lose!

Don't Let 'Em Get You Down

Are there days when family life, job situations, and maybe hot flashes all conspire against you? Don't let 'em get you down! You can cope with menopause and the rest of your life, too!

It's natural to feel down at times. Human nature dictates that you can't feel terrific all the time. All aspects of our lives become intertwined in our heads and result in mood changes. Stress that starts at your workplace can affect your home life, and the reverse is also true.

You've probably noticed that different women cope better than others with the stresses of midlife. Are you a woman who is like a duck with smooth feathers? Do you just let things "roll right off, like water off a duck's back?" If you are, circumstances probably don't get you down very often. However, if you are a worrier and fret that everything you do must always be perfect, you probably have lots of down moods.

For many women, stress increases when they feel a lack of support from those around them, whether the issues are of major significance, such as where to house aging parents, or small matters, such as where to seat a son-in-law's parents at the holiday table. Concentrate on being one of those women who can juggle lots of balls in the air and not worry if one or two of them drop once in a while.

Happy events can bring on stress and get you down, too. Even events such as planning a son or daughter's wedding, starting a new job, or planning a trip can make you feel overwhelmed. Caring support from those around you can help get you through these difficult times. Seek out this help. How you respond to stressful events in your life makes a big difference in your mood. Stressful events can be brought on by physical symptoms, such as hot flashes or side effects from medications, or by less tangible things, such as difficulties in getting along with significant people in your life or feeling trapped. Stresses may be circumstances involving your aging parents or grown-up children.

Does family life get you down? Around menopause, you may be part of the "sandwich" generation. Are you involved in your adult children's and grandchildren's lives and still find yourself caring for aging parents? Many find that as soon as their children have grown up, their parents' needs increase, and an increasing amount of time and energy is spent on caring for their parents. Population experts say that today's middle-aged women will spend more time caring for aging parents than they did raising their own children. Many women have financial concerns, too. Many women control the family purse strings, shouldering that responsibility, as well.

How can you keep your mood up most of the time? You can easily do several things for yourself. One of the most important is to eat regular meals. Crash diets or fad diets can lead to anxiety and depression. Well-balanced meals provide a slow release of necessary nutrients throughout the day. A steady release of energy can keep you on an even keel. Accept yourself with the shape you have. Of course, if you are overweight, you might feel better if you lost some of those excess pounds.

Most of all, you must learn to be comfortable with your changing body and changing roles. In fact, for many women, the years surrounding menopause can be the best years of their lives, as they enjoy their adult children and grandchildren or new interests and hobbies. The more positively you look at menopause, the more positive the experience -- and life -- will be.

The symptoms of menopause can be inconvenient or uncomfortable, but they are rarely medical emergencies. Fortunately, there are many effective home remedies you can use to make your transition easier.

For information on the topics covered in this article, try the following links:
  • To see all of our home remedies, visit our main Home Remedies page.
  • Menopause that befalls women in their forties or fifties, and causes such unpleasant symptoms as hot flashes and insomnia. Learn how to alleviate these conditions in Herbal Remedies for Menopause.
  • To learn more about menopause and how it affects the body, read How Menopause Works.
  • Osteoporosis is another common ailment that develops in later years. To learn how to cope with this condition, read Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
About the Consultant:

Dr. Linda Hughey Holt practices obstetrics and gynecology with a special focus on menopause. She is the co-author of several books on women's health, including The American Medical Association Book of Woman Care. She attended Yale University and obtained her medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is a founding partner of the Midwest Center for Women's Healthcare, an associate clinical professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Additional information on Dr. Holt is available at
www.midwestcenterforwomenshealth.com.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.