Accepting Where You are: Learning to Accept Your Peri/menopause Symptoms
The hormonal changes that occur during the transition to menopause are often accompanied by physical and mental changes to the body. These changes range from minor symptoms occurring for a short period to long-lasting and uncomfortable ones that may make going about your normal daily activities more challenging. Fortunately, there are some strategies that you can apply to make the transition smoother and adjust to life during and after menopause.
Dealing with Emotional Changes During Menopause
The hormonal changes experienced in peri/menopause and menopause can significantly affect your mood and emotions, causing feelings of depression, grief, and anger. There are various ways you can deal with these feelings.
Accept Your Grief and Anger
You might be tempted to suppress your changing moods and emotions in order not to inconvenience those around you. However, doing this increases your risk of depression. Instead, listen to your body and accept your feelings as normal and natural. Be open with family and friends about what you're going through so that they can better understand as well.
Learn Your Triggers
Certain lifestyle habits could be triggering feelings of anger, grief, or depression, too. These may include smoking, dehydration, irregular sleeping patterns, and high caffeine intake. You can identify your triggers by keeping a journal and making changes based on spikes in these feelings that you experience.
Mind and body therapies such as yoga and meditation have numerous benefits to women experiencing menopause. These mindfulness practices and deep breathing techniques can help you achieve better sleep and cut back on night-time hot flashes.
Seek Social Support
Establishing a social support network is another wise move you can make if you are experiencing emotional changes due to menopause. Talking to a group of people who may be experiencing similar changes can help you develop a positive stress response.
Counseling and therapy can help you deal with the emotional changes that you are experiencing. If you feel like your mood swings, anger, grief, or depression are getting in the way of your normal life, speak to a professional to learn about some specific coping mechanisms you can try.
Dealing with the Physical Symptoms of Menopause
Vaginal dryness and hot flashes are two of the most common symptoms that many women experience during menopause. However, you may also experience other symptoms such as urinary complications, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and sexual dysfunction. There are several strategies you can apply to deal with these and other physical changes.
Hot flashes may last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, tending to occur more often in the first year after the last menstrual period. Depending on their effect on your normal day-to-day activities and their severity, there are several steps you can take to deal with hot flashes. They include:
- identifying common triggers and adjusting to avoid them. Hot flashes are often caused by triggers such as stressful situations, spicy food, caffeine, alcohol, and hot temperatures or beverages. You can identify your triggers by monitoring your patterns and applying the appropriate measures to reduce them.
- Drink enough water. Water helps to regulate your internal temperature while replenishing your body.
- Breathe deeply and slowly. Controlling your breathing at the onset of a hot flash can help to lessen its severity and reduce its duration.
Decreased estrogen during menopause can cause vaginal secretions to lessen and the vaginal lining to become thinner. These symptoms can have a significant disruptive effect on your sex life. You can manage this symptom by using lubricant. An over-the-counter lubricant can help ease vaginal dryness and help prevent damage to the thinning vaginal walls during sex.
Although memory loss is a natural part of aging, it is possible to experience transitory memory loss due to decreased estrogen levels experienced during menopause. Some suggestions for relief include:
- Exploring memory strategies. Consider exploring techniques such as associating one thing with another or using acronyms to remember lists.
- Manage your diet. Cut back on foods such as caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, which may be diminishing your ability to remember. You can also incorporate more vegetables, colorful fruits, vitamins, and antioxidants in your diet.
- Implement external support. Use external factors such as your cellphone notebook to store and easily access important information. You can also place important items such as keys at the same spot to avoid losing them.
If your menopause symptoms persist, your primary physician may prescribe medication such as Vaginal Oestrogen, hormone therapy, or antidepressants.
Learning to Accept Where You Are
While finding the right treatments and coping mechanisms is important, it's also important to learn to accept the new changes you're experiencing. While these changes mark an end to one era of your life, they also mark the beginning of another; one that may be filled with new adventures, grandchildren, travel, and other surprises!
Peri/menopause and menopause can be challenging and confusing periods for many women. However, you can apply the strategies mentioned above to deal with the symptoms and continue living your normal life.