How to Deal with Menopause Symptoms

Four Methods:Easing Physical SymptomsRecognizing Psychological SymptomsTreating Menopause SymptomsImplementing Lifestyle Changes

Menopause refers to the cessation of menstrual cycles and to the permanent end of fertility. It affects every woman differently, with some women experiencing no symptoms and others being affected significantly. By recognizing the symptoms, both physical and psychological, knowing when to treat them, and learning coping strategies, you can more effectively weather the symptoms of menopause.[1]

Method 1
Easing Physical Symptoms

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    Prepare for irregular periods. Irregularity in periods could range from your periods lasting fewer or more days, having more or less periods as a whole, or having a heavier or lighter flow.[2]
    • You should carry feminine supplies with you all the time in case your period comes unexpectedly.
    • Consult with your doctor if you notice “spotting” but have not had a period for a year. This could be caused by another health condition.[3]
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    Look out for hot flashes. These refer to a sudden feeling of heat across your body. Your face and neck could become red, and red blotches could appear on your upper body. They’re often followed by shivering and sweating.[4]
    • Prevent hot flashes by using a fan, sipping ice water, and wearing light clothes.[5]
    • Remove layers of clothing when you feel a hot flash coming on.[6]
    • Hot flashes can be triggered by consuming spicy foods, alcohol, or coffee and by wearing tight clothing. Avoid these in order to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes.[7]
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    Note if you have difficulty sleeping. If you are finding it hard to sleep through the night or are experiencing night sweats, these could be signs of entering the menopausal transition.
    • Being physically active is a good way to get a good night’s sleep. Exercise in the morning or during the day, but refrain from exercising close to bedtime, as this could actually keep you awake.
    • Drink a warm beverage such as chamomile or warm milk before you go to sleep. This can provide comfort and can relax you. On the other hand, alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime could keep you up.
    • To get a better night’s sleep, you should avoid large meals and should not work right before you go to sleep.
    • If you wake in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again, do something relaxing like reading a book or listening to calm music until you’re sleepy.
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    Notice any vaginal and/or urinary problems. These could vary from finding it hard to hold urine long enough to reach the bathroom to sex becoming less comfortable due to lower estrogen levels. Vaginal or urinary tract infections could become more common during menopause.[8]
    • If sex is uncomfortable, use a water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant, which should make sex less painful. You could also use an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer like Replens for this same purpose.[9]
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    Keep track of weight changes. During menopause, your waist could become larger. You could also gain fat and/or lose muscle.[10]
    • Establishing a regular exercise routine of moderate impact could help you stay in shape while also improving your mood and being conducive to getting a better night’s sleep.
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    Notify your doctor if you have stiff joints and muscles. While these may just be a sign of aging, they could also be due to the reduced production of estrogen levels during menopause and/or osteoporosis. A doctor could make this diagnosis as well as help you establish a treatment plan suited to your specific needs.[11]

Method 2
Recognizing Psychological Symptoms

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    Prepare for mood changes. A symptom of entering menopause is experiencing mood swings, which could stem from stress or feeling tired overall. Take note if you feel crabby or have crying spells, as these are potential symptoms.
    • Get enough sleep, reduce stress, and stay physically active. These are ways to regulate your mood and keep a positive outlook.
    • Mood swings are not the same as depression. If you suspect you might have depression, consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
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    Accept changing feelings about sex. Sex might be more uncomfortable, which leads some women to be less interested in it. Some women might also feel less aroused. On the other hand, some women may feel more empowered sexually after menopause.[12]
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    Look out for forgetfulness or trouble focusing. Cognitive changes have been proven to take place during menopause, so if you have a feeling of “brain fog,” take note and discuss it with your doctor. It could be a sign of entering the menopausal stage.[13]
    • Try mental exercises and puzzles. You can look up free exercises by doing a quick Google search or renting a mental exercise book.
    • The importance of sleep and regular exercise cannot be underestimated. These are ways to improve mental clarity.[14]

Method 3
Treating Menopause Symptoms

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    Seek hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Taking hormones to replace estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can be beneficial for menopausal women. HRT can alleviate peri-menopausal symptoms and could even prevent osteoporosis.[15]
    • Be aware of the risks of HRT and consult with your doctor prior to deciding to pursue this option. HRT can increase your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, and stroke.[16]
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    Try complementary or alternative medicines. While the efficacy of some of these in providing relief from menopausal symptoms is contested, you could still try an alternative therapy to manage your symptoms:[17]
    • Black cohosh has been proven to be effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms. It has not, however, been shown to improve symptoms. If you would like to use this herb to relieve symptoms like hot flashes, do so only in the short-term (6-months maximum), as long-term efficacy and safety are still contested.[18]
    • Phytoestrogens may be helpful in providing relief from menopausal symptoms. They are estrogens that occur in some plants and have the effect of slowing cell growth and preventing inflammation. They are found in a variety of foods and are also widely available as supplements. You may want to moderately complement your diet with phytoestrogens and keep track of any symptoms which are alleviated.
      • While the safety of phytoestrogens which occur naturally in food is practically uncontested, this is not the case for non-food phytoestrogens. The risks of long-term use of non-food phytoestrogens are unknown.[19]
    • Try herbal preparations. There are a number of herbs which you could try using to alleviate menopausal symptoms, though the efficacy of these is unknown. These include evening primrose, ginkgo, red clover, chaste-tree berry, and ginseng.[20]
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    Know when to seek medical advice. Consult with your doctor if you experience any unusual pains or sensations or if you find any of your symptoms to be unbearable. Furthermore, if symptoms such as hot flashes or mood changes are interfering with your day to day life, see your doctor.[21]
    • You should see your doctor for a full physical exam (including a breast exam, a pelvic exam, and a mammogram) once a year.

Method 4
Implementing Lifestyle Changes

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    Eat well. Maintaining a balanced diet is an important part of dealing with menopause symptoms. A healthy diet can boost your energy levels and improve your mood.[22]
    • Refrain from drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. These can disrupt your sleep.[23]
    • After menopause, you will need to increase your calcium intake so as to maintain good bone health. Consult with your doctor to see if are getting enough calcium or if perhaps you need a supplement.[24]
    • Consume a diet full of phytoestrogens. These include beans, soy products, peas, lentils, and whole grains and seeds.[25]
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    Exercise. Regular exercise will help you keep your weight down as well as elevate your mood, improve your sleep, and strengthen your bones. Aim for at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Try weight-bearing exercises as well to improve strength.[26]
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    Manage your stress levels. To reduce discomfort from some of the common symptoms of menopause, try introducing a stress-reduction strategy to your day to day life. This could range from yoga to meditation or other mindfulness techniques.
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    Join a support group. By exchanging experiences and promoting a conversation, support groups can positively affect the way you understand and accept the physical, psychological, and social changes induced by menopause. Always remember: you are not alone in this journey.[27]
    • You can find a support group by doing a Google search of menopause support groups in your area or by asking a local women’s clinic for further information. You could also join an online support group such as MD Junction.[28]


  • Complementary medicine strategies such as biofeedback, acupuncture, and massage have not been tested for effectiveness. If you do decide to pursue these therapies, consult with a complementary medicine specialist for further information and to develop a plan that works for you.

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Categories: Women’s Health