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Menopause Guide

Alison Beaver

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ask: I am 56 years old -

By cindy1953
 
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I am tired, bones ache and do not want to do any thing - i know I am going thru menaopause but is there something you can take or do - i do exerise

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Cindy,
The best thing you can do is try to eat healthy, continue to exercise even if it is just walking, and get plenty of rest. I took menopause support supplement made by Nature Made and it helped me. If these symptoms continue you can talk to your doctor about HRT, which will help with this transition period.

I can not take HRT and was having a terrible time with hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia. It was my primary and not the GYN that was the most help. I took Paxil for 3 months and it really helped settle everything down for me. I also found walking my dogs helped me to de-stress and relax.

Reta

March 31, 2010 - 1:24am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi Cindy

Thanks for your question and welcome!

Being 56, you may be well in the throes of menopause but it shouldn't make you feel quite so worn out, exhausted and experiencing such bone pain.

However, your symptoms are not uncommon, although usually not so severe. But some women do have a really tough time during menopause and you may be one of them. Here's a list of general symptoms :

Irregular menstrual periods
Hot flashes and night sweats
Disturbed sleep patterns, insomnia
Anxiety
Significant mood changes
Depression
Dry skin
Irritability
Vaginal dryness and pain with sexual intercourse
Difficulty concentrating
Trouble remembering things
Diminished interest in sex
Frequent urination or leaking of urine
Headaches
Achy joints
Fatigue
Early morning awakening

Cindy, how many of these would you say you are experiencing?

There are a lot of treatment options for the symptoms of menopause (not menopause itself since this is a natural process!) :

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
A number of different types of hormones are available. They include natural, synthetic, and plant-derived estrogens and progesterone; combinations of estrogen and progesterone; or the addition of small amounts of male hormones. Hormone preparations are available as tablets, gels, skin patches, vaginal rings, vaginal tablets, injections, and pellets inserted into the skin. There is now significant scientific evidence that the global health risks associated with combined estrogen and progestrogen HRT on a long-term basis (>3-5 years) outweigh the benefits for many women. The average age of the women in these research studies is over 60 years old. Use of combined HRT at the time of menopause (around age 50) is believed to pose less risk. Furthermore, most of these studies used conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone. Other evidence suggests that use of estradiol and natural progesterone may pose less risk.

Phytoestrogens
A high intake of phytoestrogens (or plant estrogens) may help menopausal women. They may reduce the risk for diseases associated with estrogen. Phytoestrogens are found in soybeans, black cohosh, whole grains, legumes, tempeh, and flax seed. They are also found in concentration in capsule form.

Healthful Diet
A healthful diet during menopause can improve a woman's sense of well-being. It may also reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. The diet should be low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium, and vitamin D.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol may reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and loss of calcium.

Quit Smoking
Giving up smoking can reduce the risk of early menopause, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Regular Exercise
Regular exercise may reduce hot flashes. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, and resistance exercises such as lifting weights help strengthen bones and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Stress Management
Stress management may help ease tension, anxiety, and possibly other menopausal symptoms. Deep breathing, massage, warm baths, and quiet music are examples of relaxation techniques.

Over-the-Counter Products
Moisturizers and lubricants are used to help vaginal dryness.

Nonhormonal Medications
Certain blood pressure medicines taken in lower doses than are used to treat high blood pressure have been somewhat helpful in relieving some menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. These medicines include clonidine (Catapres) and methyldopa (Aldomet).

SSRI medications (serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac , Paxil , and Effexor ) have been shown to have modest impact on hot flash severity scores. These medications should not be used if you are taking tamoxifen to reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Please read more on our Menopause page here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/menopause#definition

Can you tell me if you know your hormone levels, Cindy? Have you been tested for those levels, as well as osteoporosis?

It's great to see you are exercising - keep that up!

What about your diet? Do you eat fresh, unprocessed foods as much as you can? Do you take any supplements?

Let me know if this information helps you and also update us on any medications you may be taking and if your hormone levels have been checked as well as your bone density.

I hope to hear from you soon!

March 30, 2010 - 1:14pm
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