Menopause Treatment

Menopause Treatment (<i>cont'd</i>)

Strategies for coping with vaginal dryness and frequent urinary infections:

  • consider using vaginal creams or gels (prescription or nonprescription) to help with vaginal dryness during different times of your cycle or regularly vaginal estrogen is available as creams, rings, or tablets if moisturizers and lubricants are not enough. These are prescription medications.
  • drink plenty of water to help your body stay hydrated
  • use moisturizing lotions
  • exercise to maintain muscle tone

practice Kegel techniques to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder and urethra to help limit urine leakage. Kegel exercises help firm up the vaginal canal, control urine flow, and enhance orgasm. The exercise is a matter of tightening and relaxing the muscles you use to stop urination. Do at least five Kegels in a row several times a day:

Tighten a little — count to five.

Tighten a little more — count to five.

As hard as possible — count to five.

  • Relax in reverse steps, counting to five at each step.

5. Heart palpitations: Some women in their late 40s are frightened by their hearts pounding in their chests for no apparent reason. This symptom, called a heart palpitation, is caused by the heart beating irregularly or by missing one or two beats. Though this symptom can be associated with several types of serious heart-related conditions, it is also common during the transition to menopause, and typically is not related to heart disease. For example, a woman's heart rate can increase eight to 16 beats during a hot flash, according to the North American Menopause Society.

If you think you are experiencing heart palpitations:

  • consult with a health care professional immediately if you have any of these symptoms that could indicate a heart-related problem: shortness of breath; pounding or irregular heartbeat; dizziness; nausea; pain in the neck, jaw, arm or chest that comes and goes; or tightness in the chest
  • ask your health care professional to rule out conditions that may cause heart palpitations, such as thyroid disorders
  • ask your health care professional what options are appropriate for relieving heart palpitations such as decreasing caffeine and whether medications are needed

6. Forgetfulness and/or difficulty concentrating: During early menopause, many women are troubled to find they have difficulty remembering things, experience mental blocks or have trouble concentrating. Not getting enough sleep or having sleep disrupted can contribute to memory and concentration problems. Stress associated with major life changes — such as children leaving home and caring for aging parents — can also interfere with sleep. More research is needed, experts say, to determine the cause of these symptoms during the transition to menopause. However, though they can be upsetting, memory-related issues at this time in your life rarely are associated with serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

Strategies for coping with memory problems and lack of concentration:

  • recognize that these symptoms may be caused by menopausal changes in your body and don't put pressure on yourself to rely on past strategies for remembering things; develop daily reminder lists or messages to help get you through periods of forgetfulness
  • practice stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga and meditation and try to be physically active on a regular basis

Some women go through menopause with little to no discomfort. If you find you need relief for uncomfortable symptoms and the strategies you've tried don't help, ask your health care professional about medical options. There are a variety of medical strategies used to relieve different symptoms. A few are described below:

Oral contraceptives: Oral contraceptives can help ease symptoms associated with early menopause, including irregular periods and mood swings, among others. Typically, oral contraceptives are recommended to women who are still having periods. For many women in their 40s, oral contraceptives provide the added benefit of preventing pregnancy. Still, taking oral contraceptives close to menopause can make it difficult to determine when you have stopped menstruating. Women who smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of gall bladder disease or blood clotting disorders should not use oral contraceptives. Discuss your health history with your health care professional and ask for guidance on this treatment option.

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