The effects of menopause are different for everyone. If you’re one of those women who experience almost no noticeable symptoms (apart from of course a gradual decrease in the frequency of your periods) you’re in the lucky minority. However, for many there is a broad variety of associated issues. These range from minor inconveniences to serious health risks. At the less dangerous end of the spectrum are problems such as vaginal dryness, headaches, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, a faster heartbeat and a raised temperature, often accompanied by sweating and hot flashes – problems which are far from life-threatening but can severely impact your day-to-day routine.
If you are experiencing any of these, the temptation can be to immediately turn to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The possible side effects of this, however, are still subject to debate amongst doctors, and in the interests of your own peace of mind it’s best to avoid HRT unless symptoms are extremely severe. Fortunately, HRT is not necessary for many; in fact, there are countless useful solutions to the less severe symptoms that don’t even require a prescription.
One of the most common complaints resulting from menopause is vaginal dryness and an altered sex drive. For many women, these symptoms represent one of the most daunting aspects of menopause: the perception that it somehow signifies an end to their existence as sensual beings. This could not be further from the truth, and it is entirely possible for you to enjoy intimacy well into menopause and beyond.
Declining libido can be a vicious circle, with the physical dryness itself resulting in embarrassment and reluctance to get close to your partner. However, with the aid of a feminine moisturizer to bolster your confidence you may find there is no need at all to change any of your usual intimate habits. Most pharmacies now stock a range of this type of product, which will provide an immediate solution, easing daily discomfort and facilitating intimate activities.
While this is a quick fix for one of the main issues associated with menopause, many of the other symptoms require a more long-term approach. A healthy, low-fat diet – while beneficial at every stage of life – is particularly important as you undergo menopause, as is getting plenty of exercise. A study published in the ‘Journal of Women and Aging’ in 2008 suggests that aerobic exercise may be able to provide many of the same results as hormonal therapies without any of the risks.1 Along with the fact that it reduces weight gain and insomnia, it can also make you less likely to fall victim to heart disease or strokes – which are more common after menopause.
As well as trying supplements, eating well and keeping fit, staying cool is a simple way to make your menopause easier by beating hot flashes. Try dressing in loose-fitting clothing, avoiding alcohol and spicy foods and keeping an ice pack to hand around the house. Remedies such as natural progesterone cream and black cohosh can also be indispensable in keeping hot flashes in check.
While these non-medical solutions may not be enough for everyone, they can have a surprisingly large impact on your symptoms. There’s no denying that menopause can be an unsettling time, but, with the right approach, the changes in your body needn’t mean a drastic change in your habits.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.