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Thirdage.com Coping With Menopause

Thirdage.com Coping With Menopause

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Published by: karendelarosa06277 on Jan 04, 2010
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 Thirdage.comCoping With Menopause
Posted November 2, 2009 12:03 PM
Posted in hormone replacement therapy,hormones, hot flashes, HRT, menopause,menopause symptoms What to do if menopause makes you miserable?Start with a visit to your doctor. If you don't have one you really trust, fix that problem before you try to tackle the rest,women's health experts recommend.A good doctor will do an exam to make sure menopause is what is causing your symptoms, take stock of which ones aremost bothering you, and help you weigh the benefits and risks of treatment options with your medical history in mind. For example, women bothered most by sleep problems may find a non-hormone solution. Ditto for vaginal dryness.Hormone therapy -- taking estrogen, progestin or both -- works. It tames hot flashes, improves sleep, keeps bones strongand prevents vaginal dryness. It also can raise the risk of cancer and heart problems. However, studies show that the risk issmall to an individual woman who starts on the pills at normal menopause age and uses them for fewer than five years.Experts suggest:1.If you use hormones, use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible, and try to quit or cut down every fewmonths.2.Ask about ways to use hormones other than taking pills, such as estrogen patches that can be cut to adjust thedose, or estrogen-secreting vaginal rings. Some preliminary research suggests these modes may be safer than taking pills.3.Do not take hormones to try to prevent heart disease or dementia. If you take them to keep your bones strong,talk with your doctor about possible alternatives.4.If you were taking birth control pills for symptoms during the transition into menopause, check with your doctor about whether to continue. Many oral contraceptives contain far more estrogen and progestin than traditional hormonereplacement therapy does.5.For hot flashes, try to figure what triggers one, such as hot drinks, spicy foods, alcoholic drinks, stress, hotweather, or a warm room. Dress in layers, and keep your office and home cool.6.Eat a healthy diet to keep bones strong, maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise and don't smoke.7.To sleep better, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, eat regular meals at regular times, and not lateat night. Limit caffeine. Avoid nightcaps: Alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it interferes with sleep patterns.
8.Creams can help with vaginal dryness.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Source: , Associated Press
Many women find that going through menopause does not impact their sexlife. Some even find it even more exciting than ever because they are nolonger concerned about becoming pregnant. For many women, though,some of the physiological effects of menopause does impact their enjoymentof sex. It is important to understand that these effects can be treated, andsex after menopause can be very fulfilling and enjoyable.Symptoms of Menopause that Affect Sexual EnjoymentDuring menopause, there are certain physiological changes that caninterfere with the enjoyment of sex. Due to loss of estrogen, thesesymptoms include:*Hot flashes that can occur at any time, causing discomfort and irritability
* Night sweats that interfere with a woman's sleep, thereby decreasing her desire for sex
* Vaginal dryness* Vaginal dryness* Loss of androgens (including testosterone) that can lower a woman'ssex drive or libidoIt is likewise important to note that a woman's desire for sex can be affectedby other physical changes related more to aging than to menopause. Thesechanges may include:
* Decreased blood flow to the pelvis - ovaries no longer need as muchnourishment, and the reduced blood flow causes the vagina
to become smallerand less elastic* Walls of the vagina may become thin and tender, causing intercourse tobe very painful* Problems with urine leakage or increased urinary frequency due toweakening of pelvic muscle support
TreatmentFor both menopause-related symptoms, as well as symptoms of aging, thereare steps you can take to ensure an enjoyable sex life beyond menopause.*Healthy living - exercise and a healthy diet can make a difference inyour overall sense of well-being and dealing with some symptoms, like hotflashes* Hormone Replacement Therapy - can reduce the incidences of hotflashes and night sweats, as well as treating vaginal dryness* Various over-the-counter and prescription medications and sextechniques (be sure to discuss with your health care provider)* Compensate for vaginal dryness through the use of over-the-counterwater-based gel lubricants (such as K-Y Jelly, Replens, or Astroglide) duringintercourse* Continued sexual activity can also help to prolong and maintain vaginalhealthDo Seek AdviceOften, sexual problems that are easily treatable are dismissed by manywomen as just a part of aging. If continued sexual fulfillment is important toyou, be sure to discuss any problems you are experiencing with your partnerand your health care provider.
Many women find that sex after menopause can actually be more enjoyableand fulfilling than in younger years. Find out what to expect and how toeasily plan for some of the inevitable changes.Menopause does not signal the end of female sexuality. In fact, manywomen find that intimacy is enhanced in midlife.Several years ago Judy Grant, a 52-year-old lawyer, realized she was nolonger getting her period, her vagina was drier than usual, and sexualarousal was taking longer. She began to worry that her sex life would soondisappear.

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