Making It Through Menopause

  • Woman in pool
    Getting Used to the New
    Remember the day you got your first period? It was closely followed by the realization that you'd be dealing with about 40 years of possible cramps, bloating, and chocolate cravings every month. It took some adjusting. But eventually getting your period became a part of your life's routine. The same can be said of menopause. The time when your period stops for good requires an adjustment of your psyche and your body. But it's also a time you can be ready for if you know a bit more about what to expect. If you can make it through puberty, you can make it through menopause!

  • Mature Woman Experiencing Hot Flush From Menopause
    Hot Stuff
    "Is it hot in here?" That's something you may find yourself asking often throughout menopause. Hot flashes are a common occurrence for many women.  You'll recognize these sensations as a sudden feeling of heat through your body; your neck and face also may become flushed. Some women will even get red blotches on their chest, back, and arms. Hot flashes can range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes and may even wake you from your sleep.

  • Patient and doctor
    How You Can Cope
    Since hot flashes may be related to changing estrogen levels, you may want to talk with your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is an option for you. Some women even find that the active ingredients in certain antidepressants ease their symptoms. While experiencing menopausal symptoms, dress in layers you can take off if you get warm, avoid hot places when you can, pass up spicy foods, and have a cold drink of water when a hot flash comes on.

  • Know Your Depression Risk
    Know Your Depression Risk
    Did you know midlife is often considered a time when women are at greater risk for depression? Some women report mood swings, irritability, and anxiety in the years leading up to menopause. It's not entirely clear why this is, but it could be related to hormone changes or menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and trouble sleeping.

  • Senior woman sleeping
    Make Time for You
    If you find that your mood is affecting your quality of life, make sure you are taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity for 30 minutes on most days of the week. You may also find talking with friends who are going through menopause or finding a support group helpful. As with hot flashes, you can talk with your doctor about hormone replacements or antidepressants, which might reduce symptoms that cause moodiness.

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    Experiencing Less Drive?
    Menopause also may affect your sex drive. You may find yourself less interested. Furthermore, changing estrogen levels can cause your vaginal area to become thinner and drier, making sex uncomfortable. 

  • Mature couple laying in bed after
    The Good News
    The good news is there are some things you can do to get your sexual desire back, including talking more with your partner, finding a more pleasing and relaxing time for sex, or even seeking counseling. You may also look into using a water-based vaginal lubricant or a vaginal estrogen cream to help ease discomfort. And remember, you may feel freer after menopause, since you can no longer become pregnant after one full year without your period. 

  • Healthy senior woman
    The Risk for Heart Disease
    One of the unfortunate parts of menopause is that you are at an increased risk for heart disease. It may be due changing estrogen levels, but it's also simply a fact of aging. You also may gain weight or have higher blood pressure as you age—either of which ups your heart disease risk.

  • doctor-reviewing-xray-in-hospital
    The Risk for Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis is another common health problem that can start to develop at menopause. Estrogen helps protect you from bone loss, which means when your estrogen levels lessen with menopause, you are more susceptible to weaker bones that break more easily.

  • Balanced breakfast
    How to Fight Back
    Now for the positive news: There are steps you can take today to help fend off heart disease and osteoporosis. Start eating that healthy low-fat, high-fiber diet you always hear about, and do weight-bearing exercises like walking or jogging at least three days a week. And make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet—whether through foods or supplements—to give your bones the boost they may need. If you smoke, stop—it's never too late to reap the benefits of kicking the habit.

  • senior couple embracing and smiling
    Ease the Transition
    Menopause isn't referred to as the change of life for no reason. Your body is entering a new phase, and you will feel it both physically and emotionally. But remember—it's a normal part of life. Making smart lifestyle choices and working with your doctor can help ease the transition into this new phase of life.

Making It Through Menopause

About The Author

  1. Menopause and Mental Health. Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Menopause. Hormone Health Network.
  3. Menopause. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging.
  4. Menopause. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Jul 9
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.