Sunday, November 4, 2007

Here comes "The Change": Managing Menopause

There are a variety of symptoms you may experience leading up to menopause when your periods stop for good. Most are mild, and may involve both the mind and body. Some can be so mild that you hesitate to even mention them to your doctor. Anxiety, bloating, and weight gain, and most of the other not-quite-well symptoms can be attributed to other things.

The first acknowledgement that there's something new happening for some women is that they don't feel the way they usually do, and they don't react in the same way. Situations they might have ignored, or not even noticed, suddenly provoke sleepless nights, mood swings, and even panic attacks.

If you're in your early forties, or even in your thirties, and are experiencing symptoms which seem to have arrived out of the blue, go and see your doctor. They may be a sign that you're going through the perimenopause.

The dreaded hot flash

Host flashes are the most common perimenopausal symptoms, and can make you severely uncomfortable. Women experience them both at night and during the day. If they occur at night, they may even wake you. Although you feel hot, your core temperature is actually going down, as you perspire and as increased blood flows to the skin. Some women experience the flushes as cooling sensations and feel chilled.

You can manage hot flashes during the day by drinking more water, wearing layers of natural fibre-clothing, so you can remove a layer when you're too hot. At night, ensure that your bedroom is cool and that your nightwear and bedding are natural cotton.

Sleep disorders

Sleeplessness and restless sleep is common during perimenopause. The lack of sleep can make you tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate. Night sweats can wake you from a deep sleep, and lead to several hours of lying awake.

The challenge with insomnia is that when you'd been unable to sleep for a couple of nights, you can become stressed at the idea that you won't be able to sleep, and the stress keeps you awake. Try to create a bedtime routine, during which you go to sleep at the same time every night, have a warm drink of decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea, and listen to soothing music to lull yourself to sleep.


Headaches are often more common during perimenopause. If you've experienced headaches before and during your periods right throughout your life, you may find that the fluctuating hormones of perimenopause mean that you experience more headaches more often. Try herbal tea or herbal headache remedies to relieve your headaches.

The Challenge

The menopausal years can certainly hold some challenges, However, knowing what is behind the changes and taking control of your own health during these years can make all the difference in the world. The importance of reading all you can, asking your doctor pointed questions, and insisting on having a program tailored to your specific needs can't be overemphasized.

Focus on yourself for a change! This should be an exciting and uplifting phase of your life. Don't let troubling symptoms ruin it for you.

Dr. Martin Milner, ND is author of "The Menopause Revolution" As Medical Director for the Center for Natural Medicine Inc. he has helped thousands of women take control of their own health, balancing their hormones safely and naturally. Visit his site to find out more The Menopause Revolution

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