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Say 'Aaah' | StayWell

Change of Life

May 03, 1999|BARBARA J. CHUCK

Menopause is a stage of life for all women, with most reaching it in their 50s. In the months or years before this time when menstruation ceases, women may experience hot flashes, night sweats and trouble sleeping; mood swings and fatigue; unpredictable periods; decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness.

There are, however, ways to alleviate some of these effects, including:

* Understanding that you are not alone. Mood swings are common. Discussing thoughts and feelings with friends, exercising and doing other things you enjoy can help lift the spirits.

* Choose cotton clothing and cotton sheets for nighttime, when hot flashes and night sweats occur. Try several thin blankets instead of one thick one.

* Try a water-based lubricant before making love; you may want to talk to your health-care provider about creams that contain hormone.

* Talk to your health-care provider about medications that can help regulate unpredictable periods.

* Exercise to relax and energize. Keeping fit may also give your sex drive a boost.

* Eat healthy; good nutrition can help you stay well and provide steady energy to fight fatigue.

Because their bodies produce fewer female hormones at this time, some women may opt for hormone replacement therapy. It can mitigate some of the symptoms of menopause. The decision to go forth with such therapy, however, should be made only after a woman talks with her doctor about the benefits and risks and her family history.

Source: StayWell Co.

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