How To Deal With The Symptoms Of Menopause

After a lifetime of dealing with all the ups and downs of periods, there’s new territory to explore once your hormone levels begin to decline: menopause. This natural biological process is triggered by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can start happening as early as age 40. Menopause is defined as 12 months of not having a period naturally, but a perimenopausal phase can start several years before a woman’s period ceases. If you’re anywhere in this process, you may be experiencing a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. These often include:

  • irregular periods
  • loss of libido
  • mood swings
  • fatigue
  • hair loss or thinning hair
  • hot flashes
  • sweating
  • racing heart
  • headaches
  • dizziness or vertigo
  • vaginal dryness or soreness
  • painful sex
  • trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory lapses
  • brain fog
  • weight gain/bloating
  • incontinence
  • brittle nails
  • changes to body odor
  • depression/anxiety/irritability
  • breast pain
  • joint or muscle pain and tension
  • digestive issues
  • osteoporosis

Many of these symptoms can disrupt your daily life and leave you feeling miserable. They might be more bearable if this was a temporary thing, but many women live with menopause for ten or more years! The good news is, there are plenty of ways to manage the associated symptoms in a way that doesn’t affect your quality of life. McTammany Health Services will work with you to get your menopause under control so you can feel like yourself again! Let’s take a look at how we can help you achieve that.

Implementing various lifestyle changes 

There are many ways to manage menopause symptoms, and we prefer to take a comprehensive approach with every patient. Depending on your health history and the severity of your symptoms, we’ll often start by recommending lifestyle changes. We’ve outlined several of these below. 

Regular physical activity & a healthy diet

Adding regular physical activity into your routine can minimize many menopause symptoms and help you maintain a healthy weight. Your diet plays into this, too. Try to base your meals and snacks around a variety of foods that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.  If you smoke, consider quitting since tobacco use can also make menopause symptoms worse.

Stay cool by staying prepared

Hot flashes and night sweats can be disruptive. Stay prepared by layering your clothes and sleeping with a fan on. Stimulants like coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and spicy foods can make your hot flashes worse, so cutting back on them will help keep you cool. You can also keep washcloths in the freezer for a quick blast of cooling relief!

How To Deal With The Symptoms Of Menopause

Explore stress relief techniques

Stress can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms of menopause. Managing your stress can also help you manage those symptoms! Try incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation into your day to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Some women find deep-breathing exercises helpful. Research has shown that a technique known as paced respiration can significantly decrease the frequency of hot flashes. 

To perform paced respiration, focus on taking slow, deep, full breaths while gently expanding and contracting the abdomen. Aim for a rate of about six to eight breaths per minute. Practicing this technique twice a day for 15 minutes each time can be beneficial, and you can also use it anytime you feel a hot flash coming on. 

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep issues like insomnia and night waking are common among menopausal women. Erratic hormone levels can throw your body off, so you may not be able to combat this completely. However, a consistent sleep cycle will still help improve your overall health and your mood. Our bodies tend to thrive with structure and routine, and a regular bed and waking time will regulate your circadian rhythm. This internal clock governs your sleep cycle, and getting it back on track can help reduce the severity of some menopause symptoms.

Additional benefits to lifestyle changes

Positive lifestyle changes can have many other benefits, as well. As you get older, the risk of developing many health conditions may go up. Regular exercise and healthy eating can help prevent some of these conditions, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.

Hormone therapy for menopause symptoms

Lifestyle changes make menopausal symptoms more bearable for many women, but this won’t be the case for everyone. If your menopause symptoms are so severe that they’re interfering with your day-to-day life, there are several classes of medication that can help ease your discomfort. The most effective of these is hormone replacement therapy. 

Some hormone treatments contain both estrogen and progesterone. This may be referred to as combination hormone therapy (HT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), both of which can help lessen vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Hormone therapy is available in various forms, including oral tablets, topical creams, patches, gels, or spray. 

Our BioTE hormone pellet therapy can also be very effective at increasing your energy levels, restoring your libido, and stabilizing your moods. This all-natural treatment can provide relief from menopause-induced anxiety and depression, and increase your mental clarity and focus.

When preparing a treatment plan for menopausal women with BioTE pellets, we will first complete a full set of labs to show us their estrogen levels. This allows us to see the extent of the deficiency and tailor their BioTE therapy using these results. We can bring the patient in for pellet insertion on the same day we receive their lab results! Each treatment typically lasts about four months. Although insurance does not cover BioTE treatments, any booster injections needed are provided free of charge. 

There are some risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular complications associated with long-term hormone therapy, but the benefits often outweigh the risks for women struggling with serious symptoms. If you’re interested in hormone replacement therapy, you should make an appointment to discuss your options with us. 

Should you begin hormone therapy with us, we’ll generally recommend taking a low dose for the shortest period of time needed to minimize symptoms. This helps to reduce the risk of side effects. We’ll also maintain regular appointments with you to ensure you see results.

How To Deal With The Symptoms Of Menopause

Feel like YOU again with menopause care from McTammany Health Services

One of the most common misconceptions about menopause is that women just have to suffer through it. Fortunately, this is no longer the case! There are options for making this transition easier on your mind and body, and we’ll be happy to help you understand them. You can trust our expert team to find the right balance of treatments to neutralize the worst menopause symptoms. Get in touch today to schedule a visit with our office and take the first step towards feeling like yourself again!