Surviving Menopause

Surviving Menopause

Menopause is a time of change for women, and it can also be a difficult transition for their husbands and significant others. Knowing what to expect can help you and your partner survive the changes without letting them break you apart.

Mood swings, insomnia and other symptoms are common during this phase of a woman's life. These symptoms can be debilitating and affect a woman's quality of life.


Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and night sweats. It also can help protect against osteoporosis.

Doctors can prescribe a low dose of estrogen alone or in combination with a hormone called progestin, which is often prescribed to reduce the risk of bone fractures. They may also prescribe a suppository, patch, cream, vaginal ring or gel.

Before you start or stop taking HRT, talk with your health care provider about the benefits and risks. They will consider your age and health history to determine whether the benefits of hormone therapy outweigh the risks.

Mood Swings

Mood swings are an extremely common menopause symptom and may be linked to fluctuations in hormone levels. These changes can affect the creation of serotonin, which is important for regulating mood and emotion.

Some women don’t notice any symptoms, while others are overwhelmed by a roller coaster of emotions. Feelings of depression, irritability, aggression, and fatigue are all very common.

If you have been experiencing these feelings since menopause, it is important to seek help. Your gynaecologist can prescribe antidepressants, which can lift your mood and improve your sleep.

Good sleep hygiene can also help you manage your mood swings, as getting too little rest can make you irritable and anxious. Try to develop a routine that promotes sleep, such as avoiding electronic devices in the bedroom and maintaining a cool room temperature.


If you're in menopause and struggling with sleep, you're not alone. About 25 percent of perimenopausal women have trouble falling asleep and over 50 percent don't feel rested most days.

Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your sleep. The first step is to determine what's causing the problem.

Medical conditions, pain, medication, and life circumstances can all contribute to insomnia.

A doctor may also want to check for other health problems that could be contributing to your sleep problems, like depression or anxiety.

If your sleep problems are chronic, they could be caused by a medical condition called sleep apnea. If your doctor suspects that you have this condition, he or she may recommend a sleep study (polysomnogram).


Weight Gain

When a woman is in menopause, weight gain often is the result of hormone changes and loss of muscle mass. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, managing stress and exercising are key to combating the effects of menopause on your body.

Women who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases. To help manage this, get regular exercise that includes resistance training. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, fibre, phytoestrogens and healthy fats.

Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common symptom of menopause. It can vary in intensity and affect different joints, but is usually worse in the morning when your body hasn’t been moving all night and then eases as you move during the day.

As with many other menopause symptoms, there are some ways to cope better – by taking some simple steps. A combination of low-impact exercise, hydration and anti-inflammatory foods and supplements can all help reduce the aches and pains you feel during this time.

The decline in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can contribute to osteoarthritis, where the protective tissue between your bones wears away. Osteoarthritis is more common in women and can lead to further health problems such as bone fractures and osteoporosis if left untreated.

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