How to manage Menopause



Most assume that menopause is a natural consequence of age. But are there other triggers?

The word menopause often conjures thoughts of hot flashes and night sweats. While those are among the most talked-about menopause symptoms, they’re just the tip of the iceberg for many women.

The good news is that menopause doesn’t have to be a strictly uncomfortable experience.

There are treatments available that can help ease symptoms. Some may be prescription medications, but what about natural remedies? Can lifestyle changes be beneficial, as well?

You may also wonder how menopause may affect your sex life and whether it causes weight gain.

If you’re experiencing the side effects of menopause and would like to avoid hormones, there are many things that may help. Here are some suggestions for how to deal with the symptoms that I call The Big Three:

Hot Flashes

Two-thirds of menopausal women suffer from hot flashes, and 20 percent find them insufferable.

Hot flashes actually make you feel like you are burning from the inside out. You can soak your shirt in the blink of an eye. This can be quite embarrassing and downright uncomfortable. What to do? Here are some menopause treatments and suggestions.

Believe it or not, certain foods may help. A recent study found that eating a half-cup of soy nuts and dividing them up into three or four portions a day cut hot flashes in half. Another study found that keeping a steady blood sugar by eating frequent meals during the day decreased flashing.

Exercise can reduce body mass, which can decrease the number of hot flashes.

If these measures fail, medications such as SSRI antidepressants may also help. Herbs such as black cohosh are a popular remedy. Study results have been mixed. It has helped some patients but not others. Certain alternative therapies such as acupuncture and meditation also can help you beat the heat.


Try these tips if you are having difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep:

  • The key is to avoid caffeine and alcohol several hours before bedtime.
  • Hypnosis can also be very effective for helping people get to sleep and fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Supplements such as theanine and tryptophan may also be useful.

It is important to discuss this problem with your healthcare provider. Make sure that any supplement you take is safe with other medications you may have been prescribed.

Weight gain

At menopause, women start to lose muscle at a precipitous rate. This, along with slowing metabolism, can contribute to weight gain. However, this doesn’t mean weight gain is inevitable. Here’s my advice:

  • Aerobic exercise, strength training and healthy eating can keep menopausal women from gaining weight.
  • Have your thyroid function checked if you are gaining weight. Hypothyroidism occurs in a large percentage of women at menopause. Many of the symptoms are similar to menopause, so a thyroid problem can be missed.

The side effects of menopause can be very manageable without hormones. The key is to eat well, exercise and find a physician who can work with you in partnership to help relieve your symptoms. And remember, “There is no more creative force in the world than the menopausal woman with zest.”