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Coping with Menopause

Many women are afraid of menopause. So many of their predecessors, including their mothers, have acted as if menopause was a severe torture – particularly the mood swings and hot flashes.  Some are afraid of facing the loss of their ability to reproduce; fearing that they will be less of a woman after menopause.  If you have any of these fears, then this article is written for you.

Most people think of menopause as the time period when women begin experience certain symptoms, such as irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes. In reality, these symptoms occur during a woman’s peri-menopausal life cycle. Hot flashes may last for many years after you have been in menopause as well.

What are  symptoms of peri-menopause?

  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Depressed mood
  • Bone loss
  • Irregular periods
  • Sex life changes
  • Bladder control issues
  • “Brain fog”

What is Menopause?  Menopause occurs at around age 51 for women and is the time period in a woman’s life defined as one year after the occurrence of her last menstrual cycle. It happens when the ovaries stop producing estrogen.

What are some of women’s fears regarding menopause?  Many women fear that they are losing part of their femininity, or that they are no longer capable of having a sex drive or healthy sex life after menopause. Some women fear that their skin will change once they get to menopause. Some women are worried that they will no longer be sexually attractive and REALLY old at this time in their lives.

The reality of menopause is that there is no absolute end result other than an inability to conceive children of one’s own.

What can you expect during menopause?  Hot flashes will continue before, during, and after menopause.

Should you use hormone replacement therapy?  This is a serious question to consider.  I, personally, would not recommend using estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy.  However, I am not a medical doctor, and would advise anyone to seek the advice of a medical professional for further information.

There are some remedies for treating symptoms that do not involve estrogen replacement therapy. You may feel more comfortable trying some holistic treatment methods for managing your menopausal symptoms; these may or may not be effective for you. There are many suggested on the internet – ginseng, black cohosh, vitamin D, St. John’s Wort, acupuncture, meditation, and other holistic interventions.

Here are additional suggested holistic methods for coping with menopause/peri-menopause symptoms:

  • Progesterone cream – Natural progesterone cream is often extracted from the Mexican Yam root, and is a topical remedy for pre-menstrual syndrome, peri-menopause, and menopausal symptoms. Progesterone cream brings temporary relief from the lowered levels of the hormone naturally produced in a woman’s body.
  • Exercise – Exercise is one of the most beneficial activities a person can do to feel better and take care of themselves.  I would recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, every day.
  • Sleep – Sleep is the healthiest psychological tool a person can use to have emotional health. Try to get at least 6 to 8 hours each night.
  • Water – Drinking water has many benefits. Water helps you feel refreshed; after all, over 60% of the human body is comprised of water. The human brain is comprised of 73% water; therefore, drinking water helps your brain function improve. Because of this, your energy level improves. Water flushes out toxins and fat by-products; it improves metabolism and boosts your immune system. The benefits of drinking plenty of water are many.
  • Deep Breathing – This technique is useful for almost any ailment. When you start to feel a hot flash coming on, or some other scary symptom, simply stop and breath. Breath long, slow, deep breaths. Count to ten as you inhale and count to ten as you exhale.
  • Fans – Buy yourself a “menopause” fan. Keep fans on around your house and at your work place. At night, keep the temperature down and make sure you always have a fan going. This will bring constant soothing when experiencing hot flashes.
  • Healthy Diet – Make sure you eat plenty of healthy foods. Eating the right diet will give you a sense of well-being. It is also recommended that you eat foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, and iron. Avoid foods that are unprocessed and contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.

How can you feel positive about menopause?  

Know your worth. One thing to realize is that our society is obsessed with youth and going through menopause puts us in a category that definitely does not include youth.  Menopause brings you the opportunity to purify your value system.  You are not more valuable in your youth than you are as you get older. You are always valuable. Learn to embrace your worth. You are more than your age.

Instill within yourself a positive attitude. No matter what age you are, or what you’re going through, having a positive attitude is essential for a good life at any age. Invest in mental and emotional well-being by being committed to maintaining a positive attitude. This does not mean that you should pretend that “everything is all right,” when it isn’t. Live in truth, just try to find the silver lining in tough situations; and going through menopause is a normal phase of life; it is not a tough situation.

Live one day at a time.  Going through menopause is a process and it doesn’t happen over night. You might as well take it one day at a time;  embrace each day as it comes, and enjoy it.

Manage your symptoms. When you do start experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, understand that they will not last forever. Don’t scare yourself. Feel them, embrace them, and accept them. Rather than resisting your symptoms with fear, allow yourself to have them and understand that they will ebb and flow.

Enjoy your freedom.  Once you enter menopause you no longer have to worry about the complications pregnancy and child-rearing cause. Don’t get me wrong, I love children and motherhood; but, the truth is, after menopause you are free from having to worry about birth control issues. In addition, if you struggled with PMS – those days are over. You are free to live without the ups and downs of hormonal fluctuation for the rest of your life.

 

References:

Leach, J. (2017). 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Water.  Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water#section1

The North American Menopause Society. (n.d.) Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes.  Source:  https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes

The Women’s College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. May 2015. The Menopause Years. Source:  https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq047.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20180818T2336418864

Coping with Menopause

Sharie Stines

Sharie Stines, PsyD, CATC-V, is a therapist and life coach specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma, and helping people overcome the damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma, and dysfunctional relationships. She has conducted extensive research, taught classes, and provided counseling to narcissistic and borderline families, and people struggling with attachment-based parental alienation. Sharie is a writer, a consultant, and a counselor.


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APA Reference
, . (2018). Coping with Menopause. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thriving-after/2018/08/coping-with-menopause/

 

Last updated: 27 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Aug 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.