As menopause approaches, hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain may become more common. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease unpleasant symptoms. Dr. Sharon Diamond, your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist answers a few questions about menopause management.
Why does my friend have fewer symptoms than I do?
Menopausal changes don't affect everyone the same way. Some lucky women experience very few symptoms, while others seem to be hit with everything on the list of possibilities. Some women’s difficulties are of short duration, while others have issues for years. Although your friend may be able to control hot flashes easily, that may not be the case for you. Keep in mind that you are unique and your menopausal symptoms won’t be exactly like anyone else's.
How can I control hot flashes?
Hot flashes can make your life very difficult. These personal heatwaves can quickly drench you in sweat as your face and chest become unbearably hot. They may interrupt your sleep numerous times a night or embarrass you with facial reddening in the middle of an important meeting. You can manage your hot flashes by:
- Dressing in Layers: When a hot flash hits, remove the top layer of your clothing to reduce heat buildup. Wearing cotton or loosely woven fabrics can also help. Unfortunately, silk or cashmere can also worsen flashes.
- Exercising Regularly: Exercising often not only helps to decrease hot flashes, but also helps you avoid the weight gain that can occur at this stage of your life.
- Improving Your Diet: Now more than ever, it's important to reduce junk food in your diet. Make sure your diet contains a healthy mixture of lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, whole grains and fibers, and if you are not lactose intolerant, dairy. Eating a healthy diet can reduce hot flashes, help you avoid packing on extra pounds and keep your heart strong. Since a woman’s metabolic rate tends to slow after menopause, exercising regularly and watching your diet become even more important.
- Finding a Stress Buster: If stress triggers your menopausal symptoms, meditation, yoga and other activities can help you feel more relaxed. In addition, acupuncture has been found to help some women with resistant symptoms.
What can I do if nothing I do helps?
Sometimes, the changes in your body can be overwhelming, with nothing you do seeming to help. If peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms are affecting the quality of your life, and you have no medical contra-indications, hormone replacement therapy may be appropriate. Your Upper East Side gynecologist can evaluate you and your complaints and concerns. Together you can decide if a regimen of low dose bio-identical hormones is right for you to help with symptom reduction.
Do you need a little help with menopause management? Call Dr. Diamond, your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist, at (212) 876-2200 to schedule an appointment.