- Women's Health
Menopause: Symptoms and home remedies
Most Common Symptoms
Women usually enter menopause around 52 years of age. About 75% of women will experience some signs of menopause related to decreased estrogen. The symptoms can range from mild to severe enough to seek medical attention.
Studies show that hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. It is believed that the decrease in estrogen somehow effects the bodys temperature regulation control center in the brain. The surface of the blood vessels dialate and causes sensations of heat and reddening of the skin. The body tries to regulate this response by sweating, which causes drenching.
Hot flashes can happen at anytime and as much as 50 times a day. Not all women have all of these symptoms of menopause, but these are among the most common symptoms:
Sweats, including night sweats. Waking up soaked in the middle of the night:
Sweats, especially night sweats are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Night sweats can be so severe that you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night soaked with sweat.
To minimize the effects of night sweats, use a small fan at the head of your bed. Point it directly toward your face to keep it cool during the night. You may also want to put a towel on your pillow so your sweat doesn't soak through.
Irregular menstruation. Your menstrual cycle can taper off then become a hard flow:
Wear a pad in your panties at all times to protect you from "accidents" in your panties. Posey pads are available at your local drug store and provide you with protection while also being comfortable.
Hot flashes, ranging from mild to severe:
Ice packs, wrapped around your neck can provide coolness and minimize the affects of hot flashes. You can also purchase a wrap at your local drug store that is made to go around your neck and provide coolness. It is filled with tiny beads that stay cool.
Depression and mood swings. Anxiety because of uncontrolled symptoms:
Deep breathing, done at the beginning of an anxiety attack can minimize these symptoms. Depression is common, but if it is uncontrolled or gets worse, see your health care provider. Your health care provider will evaluate you depression and offer treatment options.
Increases chances of developing osteoporosis (thinning of the bones):
Make an appointment with your health care provider. Your health care provider can order a bone scan (Dexa scan) that takes "pictures" of your bones and tests for osteoporosis. If you test positive for osteoporosis, your health care provider may put you on medication that treats or reverses osteoporosis.
There are many things you can do on your own to combat insomnia such as turning all lights off, providing a quiet environment, meditation before bedtime and a warm bath. There is also over the counter medication that is safe to use for insomnia. If all else fails, see your health care provider for treatment. There are prescription medications that are very effective for insomnia.
Heart palpitations are common in menopause and can be treated at home with calming remedies. Deep breathing, meditation and relaxation are all affective remedies for calming down the heart that beats erratically due to menopause.
Drying and wrinkling of the skin because of lack of estrogen:
A good skin care routine can fight wrinkling and drying of the skin because of lack of estrogen. Exfoliation should be done every week and a good anti-wrinkle cream should be applied nightly.
Weight gain and bloating because of water buildup:
Decreasing your fluid intake will help a little with bloating, but generally this is something you just have to live with unless you want to try a prescription medication. See your health care provider for evaluation and treatment of bloating and weight gain due to menopause.
Shrinking and sagging of your breasts:
Use a pair of hand weights, about 5-10 pounds. With a weight in each hand, put both hands out straight to the side of your body. While bending your elbows, move your arms so the weights meet together in front of you. Return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12. Do these 5-7 days a week.
With a weight in each hand, straighten your arms over your head. Bend your elbows toward your head, then raise them back up over your head. Do 3 sets of 12. Do these 5-7 days a week. These exercises will help keep your breast firm and prevent sagging.
Vaginal dryness and itching. Increased risk of infection:
You can purchase a feminine anti-itch cream at your local pharmacy. Wearing underwear increases your risk for infection, so try to go without underwear whenever possible with a dress instead of pants.
Headaches or migraines:
Push on each side of your forehead with your fingertips. Push fairly hard until you feel relief. Keep a migraine medication, which you can purchase from your local drug store, available at all times if you are prone to migraines during menopause. Take the recommended dosage as soon as you feel a migraine coming on.
Thinning hair and hair loss:
There are special shampoos available to combat hair thinning and loss. Propecia is also available for women for thinning hair and hair loss. Use a thickening shampoo if you already have thinning. This will make your hair look thicker.
Increased facial hair due to lack of estrogen:
Waxing is the best way to get rid of facial hair at home. To permanently rid yourself of unwanted facial hair, make an appointment with an electrolysis tech. Electrolysis is a treatment that permanently removes unwanted facial and body hair. It may take several treatments to get permanent results.
Brittle nails and slower growth of nails:
Increase your intake of Biotin and vitamin A. These two vitamins increase nail strength and treats brittle nails. Increasing your intake of milk, eggs and animal liver can also work to treat brittle nails and increase their growth.
If you are having symptoms of menopause that are bothersome and do not go away with the above remedies, make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss your options for treatment. Menopause doesn't have to be bothersome and uncomfortable. There are medications available, such as estrogen, that your health care provider can prescribe to treat the symptoms of menopause.