You’re in your 40’s and you’re already going through menopause. Maybe you see the signs over time, or maybe it becomes clear one day. No matter how it happens, it can be unnerving, frustrating, and confusing to be going through this “change of life” when you feel like you’re just getting started. But just like puberty, you will come out the other side – and this time you’ll thrive! But until that point, how do you deal with this unexpected change while it’s happening? We’ll discuss some of the feelings, symptoms, and thoughts other women have had, and what you can do to come out swinging!
No matter what time your menopausal symptoms begin, you’re going to feel stressed. But those that enter menopause a little earlier than most report greater feelings of stress than women who experience menopause at a more “conventional” time. This could be related to having younger children, more career responsibilities, or the feeling like you’re running out of time. How can you manage your stress level without driving yourself insane?
- Exercise: Even if you didn’t have a dedicated work-out routine previously, beginning one during menopause will boost your energy and keep those pounds from creeping up.
- Meditate: In just 15 minutes a day, you can reduce stress levels, learn about gratitude and awareness, and how that fits into your new life. Meditation is not about being perfect, it’s about being present.
- Evaluate Your Needs, Wants, and Goals: When life changes, so do your priorities. It’s often helpful to sit back and reevaluate your new life goals, as well as getting rid of the things that hinder them. At this point in your journey, choose only things that will serve you and bring you joy.
- Medication: Sometimes, medication is the best way to calm your mind and physically make you feel better. Speak with your medical provider about all of your options and decide with them if that’s the best route for you.
One symptom many women don’t realize is related to menopause is sudden issues with memory. It’s annoying, perplexing, and doesn’t help your stress levels one little bit. While, yes, memory problems are also associated with age, research also indicates that your memory changes when there is a dip in estrogen. What are some of the steps you can take to keep your memory in tip-top shape?
- Make A List: Remembering when it’s your turn for car-pool can be as simple as writing it down! Keep a list of your daily tasks so you have an easy way to keep track of your day. Some find it helpful to put pen to paper, while others keep running list on a phone app.
- Sleep Better: Easier said than done, right? We get it. But, taking the active measures to get a restful night’s sleep is the first step in actually getting a restful night’s sleep. Check out our previous article regarding sleep advice.
- Get Your 5 A Day: Studies show that eating better can actually boost your brain power. Try to eat a varied and colorful palette of vegetable and fruits, as well as cutting down on memory blockers like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.
- Estrogen Supplements: If a dip in Estrogen is the cause of your memory issues, balancing your levels may be a helpful way to get rid of them. Just like with any medication or supplement, there may be risks involved with taking Estrogen. Speak with your medical professional before supplementing with estrogen to discuss the benefits as well as the possible side effects.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Lots of women hit their sexual “peak” in the mid 30’s-mid 40’s. So when early menopause hits and your libido goes down, it often can feel like something important has been taken away from you. Aside from the psychological effects, the physical effects of dryness and incontinence can make it difficult to feel like yourself. While it’s true it might take some time for you to feel back to normal, there are plenty of relief options for you while in the throws of your menopausal symptoms.
- Lubricant Is Your Friend: Even if you’ve never needed it in the past, vaginal lubricant will quickly become your number one self-care item. Use generously during sexual intercourse, and a little bit during the day to keep you feeling a little more “natural.” Many women find water-based lubricants more natural feeling, while some prefer the longevity of silicone or oil-based lubricants.
- Vaginal Estrogen: Unlike pills or patches, vaginal estrogen effects only the area in which is needed. It could take around 3-4 weeks for the full effects to kick in, but many find it’s the most effective and efficient way to feel better long-term.
- Kegel Away: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles isn’t only for those that have gone through vaginal childbirth. During menopause, your vaginal walls begin to lose their elasticity. Doing these exercises every day will improve your sensitivity during intercourse, and help the physical discomfort you may be feeling. Those with extreme cases may seek pelvic floor physical therapy with a professional.
No matter when your menopausal symptoms come, Miami Center of Excellence is here to treat you with the kindness and sensitivity you deserve. Give us a call today at (305) 515-5425 and we’ll discuss your treatment options and how quickly you can go back to being you again!