Menopause is not an illness. It is an inevitable period within a female’s life where the body begins to stop production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. However, menopause does mean a woman’s body is more susceptible to aging and particular conditions without the protection these hormones can create. Therefore, it is important to stay healthy during and after menopause.
Quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet, low in fat and high in fiber with a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is essential for women’s health. Make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D, it is wise to begin taking these minerals as supplements even if you incorporate sources of them in your diet. Osteoporosis is common with menopause and increased calcium intake can prevent and slow the condition’s progression.
Consulting your doctor or health care professional about a healthy weight to maintain is necessary as you age and menopause signifies the importance of staying fit. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging or dancing at least 3 days a week is recommended for the upkeep of healthy bones.
It is important to consult your doctor on medicine right for you and your menopause. Pharmaceuticals for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis are important to consider as menopause increases the risks for these conditions and precautionary measures are important to staying healthy.
Some medication options you may wish to consider are:
- birth control. During menopause, certain oral birth control pills may be used to help with very heavy, frequent of unpredictable menstrual periods. They may also help with hot flashes.
- menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), or hormone replacement therapy (HRT): This type of medication can aid with menopause symptoms, also preventing bone loss that occurs with menopause. There are risks associated with HRT that may be more prominent for some women. It is important to remember that while HRT has been shown to increase the risks of some diseases, the benefits of HRT for some women may outweigh the risks of disease. Talk to your gynecologist about whether these medications will be helpful for treating your menopausal symtpoms.
Water-based vaginal lubricants (not petroleum jelly) or a vaginal estrogen cream or tablet can be utilized in order to relieve vaginal discomfort or dryness.
Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances that work in the body like estrogen but in weaker form. Regular ingestion of phytoestrogens may relieve some symptoms of menopause. They can be found in some cereals, vegetables, legumes (including soy) and various herbs. Over indulgence in phytoestrogens may carry risks and you should consult your doctor when considering using them.
Menopause also indicates the need for regular pelvic and breast exams, PAP tests and mammograms. It is also smart to be checked for colon, rectal and skin cancer. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice a lump in your breast of a mole that has changed.