You thought 31 days of Halloween were scary? Welcome to October — also known as Menopause Month. Don’t worry, we are here to take the scary out of this month.
Here are 31 menopausal concerns and tips on how to deal with them.
What it is: When your period goes from being like clockwork to being erratic. Prolonged bleeding, irregular cycles, increasingly painful cramps, and even heavier bleeding… and it’s all happening because (you guessed it): hormones.
Tips on how to deal with it: For hormonal solutions, birth control pills help. If you want non-hormonal solutions, acupuncture and acupressure can help balance out your body. From a practical perspective: grab a pair of Thinx for emergencies.
Joint & muscle pain
What it is: Often caused by inflammation, joint and muscle pain increases upon the onset of menopause. Generally, inflammation is a good thing because it causes sends signals to white blood cells that there’s an injury that needs repairing. However, when inflammation spreads without injury, it can cause joint pain and stiffness. The cause, yet again, is estrogen.
Tips on how to deal with it: A good start is having an anti-inflammatory diet. For immediate relief, using CBD Oil or this Arnica based cream from State of Menopause, which can be used multiple times a day.
What it is: It is similar to having PMS — but more frequent and less predictable. From short fuses to anxiety to being sad and frustrated, the emotional rollercoaster that is menopause is real. Like almost everything in menopause, the culprit is the fluctuation is hormones, most commonly estrogen, serotonin, and progesterone.
Tips on how to deal with it: You’ll need a lifestyle change. When you’re hormones are off balance, it’s a good idea to adjust your life around the internal changes rather than trying to control what you can’t. A good place to start is by limiting (or if you can, eliminating) sugar-filled drinks, alcohol, and processed foods. In their place, add in the mantra “green is good” and start to incorporate leafy vegetables, fatty fish (salmon, arctic char), antioxidant rich berries (raspberries, blueberries) and yogurts. If you cannot do dairy yogurt, almond milk yogurt and coconut yogurt are good alternatives. And yes, try a meditation app such as Calm. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help.
What it is: Simply put: it’s uncomfortable, but it’s normal. Normal hormonal fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone cause breast soreness. The problem is that our hormones go a bit bat-shit crazy during menopause, creating an uptick in the frequency and feel of soreness.
Tips on how to deal with it: Evening Primrose Oil and black cohosh are known to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain from sore breasts. As black cohosh is difficult to find, we recommend starting with Evening Primrose Oil supplements by State of Menopause.
What it is: This is a very fancy word for pain that comes from deeper vaginal penetration — which means anything after the initial penetration.
Tips on how to deal with it: Vaginal dilators are great tools in helping to maintain the quality of the vaginal tissue during menopause. Since the dilators come in various sizes, they also help with pain management around the vaginal opening. Two great options are SoulSource and Intimate Rose. You can also use salves such as this one by Momotaro It’s important to check with a pelvic pain specialist on the best way to use these dilators to treat deep dyspareunia.
What it is: This is when leakage occurs — including leakage when you cough or sneeze. For some women, this is a result of their pelvic floor muscles becoming weaker.
Tips on how to deal with it: We recommend using a product like Attn: Grace. Their earth-friendly line is built for bladder leaks.
Increase in UTIs
What it is: Many women see an increase in UTIs in the later stages of menopause. This occurs as vaginal tissues thin and dry, creating changes to the vaginal microbiome and making it easier for infections to take hold.
Tips on how to deal with it: If you are seeing more than 3–4 UTIs a year, talk to a gynecologist.
What it is: The official term to describe this is “vaginal atrophy” but we don’t love using the word atrophy when describing our bodies. The cause of vaginal dryness is that vaginal cells thin over time, and with fewer cells there is less moisture. This can cause dryness and vulvar irritation, which can be tender to the touch. Sometimes, even using toilet paper can be painful.
Tips on how to to deal with it: Moisturize at least 3 times a week and yes we mean moisturize your vagina. Our favorite hormone free options are Replens and HYALO GYN (ignore their imagery — they really help). If you’re looking for quick, at home solutions you can use unrefined coconut oil and olive oil for both internal and external application.
Pain during sex
What it is: The proper term for this is “vaginismus” which is when painful muscle spasms occur at the opening of the vagina. For many women, this can make any type of penetration impossible. The cause for the involuntary muscle spasm is on a spectrum and there is no proven way to avoid it.
Tips on how to deal with it: Pelvic floor therapy is a long-term solution, though many doctors pair it with vaginal botox to decrease the healing time. Another option is work-out based routines by P.Volve.
What it is: Just like the name suggests, hot flashes are sudden (and unpredictable) periods of feeling hot all over the body. They can be accompanied by sweating and typically last anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes. Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting about 85% of women.
Tips on how to deal with it: You don’t necessarily need to take hormones or other medication to get some relief from hot flashes, or at very least help in managing them. We suggest grabbing the Cooling Spray by State of Menopause and stashing them in your purse, glove compartment, and fanny pack (if you’re a fanny pack kinda person). You can also make lifestyle changes you can make to help in managing hot flashes, including:
- Avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine, all of which can make menopausal symptoms worse for some women.
- Dressing in layers, so you can remove outer layers during hot flashes to help regulate your temperature and comfort.
What it is: With age and hormonal fluctuation, weight gain becomes increasingly common. The hormonal fluctuation also causes fatigue, leading you to be tired and hungry — and therefore eating more. The issue is, it’s not one specific thing that leads to weight gain during menopause, it’s an inter-connected list of factors. You’ll also notice body weight redistribution — meno middle, saddlebags, sagging skin.
Tips on how to deal with it: First, remember your body is carrying you through all of this and it’s completely okay to want to look and feel your best. There is no one size fits all answer, but exercise and nutrition play a big role. Try workouts with P.Volve, add more leafy greens to your diet, and walk. The 10,000 steps a day may seem unattainable but if you break it up into 5 short 10-minute walks everyday, you’ll reach our goals.
What it is: Many women notice that their skin and hair become drier during menopause like, a lot drier. Declining estrogen levels during menopause also accelerate the loss of collagen and elastin, two proteins that are vital in keeping skin plump and firm.
Tips on how to deal with it: Drink at least 30oz of water a day and moisturize, moisturize, and then moisturize again. We recommend the Rich Facial Moisturizer from State of Menopause, in conjunction with their Rejuvenating Facial Oil.
What it is: Bone density loss, and yes it’s the same thing as those commercials you’ve been seeing for years. The culprit, you guessed it, is estrogen. Estrogen protects our bones and when estrogen levels drop during menopause, bone density does as well.
Tips on how to deal with it: Start exercising with weights now. Studies show that weight-bearing exercise is great for our bones, even if you are only starting with bodyweight exercises or bands. Start with exercise bands like this light ankle band from P.volv.
What it is: One of the more jarring changes that can occur during menopause involves our hair. Specifically, some women notice their hair thinning or falling out during menopause. Most experts believe this could be a result of hormonal changes. As levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, the effect of male hormones (known as androgens) increase, leading to side effects like thinning hair that are more commonly associated with men. During and after menopause, many women’s hair follicles shrink, causing hair to grow more slowly and fall out more easily, both of which contribute to an over thinner appearance to the hair.
Tips on how to deal with it: There are no-quick fix solutions but good places to start are the Skin, Hair, & Nail supplement by State of Menopause. In certain cases, castor oil hair packs can help with the brittleness of the hair shaft to prevent hair breakage.
What it is: Everything from difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, waking up too early, and even developing sleep apnea, are all symptoms of menopause. This is created by a variety of factors included decreased melatonin, increased cortisol (the stress hormone we all love to hate), decreased serotonin and more.
Tips on how to deal with it: Sleep problems don’t have cookie cutter solutions because they are very dependent on your lifestyle and specific symptoms. However, there are a few tried and tested things you can do including: (1) limit caffeine and alcohol intake at least 3 hours before bed, (2) create a consistent bedtime routine; and (3) keep your bedroom and bed as cool as possible. Try these percale sheets from Parachute to create a comfortable sleep environment and then add on the cooling body pillow from Coco. You can also try Sleepy Bear gummies.
What it is: Menopause, unfortunately, does not always mean the end of acne, you may have the same skin outbreaks and flare ups you experienced in adolescence. Or you might have a whole new pattern emerge. Sometimes those outbreaks may be worse. However the way we treat pimples during and post-menopause is not the same as before. That’s because most store-bought acne treatments can be too harsh for dry, delicate older skin. The best remedies for menopausal acne come straight from your dermatologist.
Tips on how to deal with it: The best remedies for menopausal acne come straight from your dermatologist. For relief without the in-office visit, replace your moisturizer with a gel based one — we recommend the Cooling Facial Moisturizer by State of Menopause.
What it is: Anxiety often presents as intense feelings of worry and/or fear, with potential physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, and heavy breathing. This is often attributed to declining levels of hormones including serotonin, estrogen, and progesterone.
Tips on how to deal with it: There are a wide range of tools to manage anxiety related to menopause. From lifestyle changes that incorporates more exposure to nature, exercise, and stress reduction to seeking Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
What it is: Bloating during menopause refers to both water retention as well as the feeling of trapped air in your body. This is often caused by the fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, though it can be exasperated by diet sensitivities.
Tips on how to deal with it: Adjust your diet to avoid inflammation causing foods, including grains, alcohol, dairy, added sugar, legumes, and raw veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, onions, and cauliflower. Incorporate more water, probiotics, ginger, and peppermint tea.
What it is: Studies show that certain aspects of cognition, such as verbal learning, memory, and attention/focus decline with pre-menopause and continue into menopause. The risk of cognitive decline is higher for people that entered menopause before the age of 49. As with most menopausal symptoms, the culprit is fluctuating hormones. As estrogen levels drop, so does glucose in your metabolism. In addition, estrogen depletion also impacts fatigue, depression, and cortisol levels.
Tips on how to deal with it: Lifestyle changes including getting ample sleep and eating brain-healthy foods are good places to start. You can also try Sleepy Bear Gummies to help with sleep issues and incorporate foods such as cacao, dark leafy greens, berries, and flaxseeds into your daily routine. In addition, it is important to keep learning new things. Sudoku puzzles, Scrabble, even learning a new language flex your brain in new ways, which has been shown to help with cognitive decline.
What it is: Rigid, brittle nails that break easily. That’s a symptom of menopause. Unsurprisingly, the main cause tends to be a decline in estrogen. Deficiencies in vitamin B, calcium, iron, and fatty acids also play a part.
Tips on how to deal with it: Sip bone broth, lather on rich creams with Vitamin E, and don’t forget the biotin. A good place to start is the Skin, Hair, and Nails Supplement by State of Menopause.
What it is: Burning Mouth Syndrome comes with a combination of three symptoms: (1) Mouth Pain, which is commonly felt on the lips, roof of the mouth, and tongue; (2) Altered taste which can lead to bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, (3) Reduced saliva production, which can cause the feeling of a dry mouth.
Tips on how to deal with it: Increase fluid intake and reduce spicy food as well as hot beverages. Try using toothpaste made for sensitive mouths such as Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive. An additional option is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
What it is: Here’s one that’s not attributed to estrogen. Decreased libido is caused by hormonal shifts and testosterone, the hormone primarily responsible for desire, steadily declines in your body throughout menopause. Other factors are at play as well: vaginal dryness, fatigue, mood shifts — they all play a part in a decreased desire for sex.
Tips on how to deal with it: While sexual desire is a complicated issue with multiple factors, certain things have been shown to help. WHAT ARE THE THINGS HERE?
What it is: Feeling lightheaded or as if the ground is off-balance or shifting, or as if your surroundings are spinning — these are all symptoms of dizziness. Although a direct cause for dizziness in menopausal persons is yet to be established, there are certain proposed causes. This includes anxiety, migraines, and hormone fluctuations.
Tips on how to deal with it: Hydrate and avoid drops in blood sugar by snacking smart. Also — stand up slowly! It sounds rudimentary but it is important when you are prone to dizziness.
What it is: Depression can be a symptom of menopause due to changing hormones, however it is important to remember that there may be other reasons behind it and it is important to discuss this with your doctor. New on-set depression going into menopause may be caused by a variety of factors including the experience of multiple menopausal symptoms at once, including fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, decreased libido, and more.
Tips on how to deal with it: Exercise and a diet rich in omega-3 and leafy greens, combined with stress-management can be helpful. As depression is on a spectrum, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a medical provider to understand both holistic and medical intervention.
What it is: Much like other menopausal symptoms, fatigue is caused by a combination of factors. There is rarely an exhaustive list, but major factors include a rise in cortisol levels which is a stress response, decline in testosterone, and fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone. In addition to menopausal changes, fatigue may also be caused by Vitamin D and/or Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Tips on how to deal with it: Get your vitamin levels checked by your doctor. These are not always routine tests so it is important to ask for them if you feel you need it. It sounds counterintuitive but exercise can help reduce cortisol levels and increase serotonin, which can help alleviate fatigue. If it is hard to get to the gym when you feel exhausted, take a walk in nature, focus on getting more sleep to rest your body and mind, and ensure you are getting adequate caloric intake.
What it is: Inflamed and bleeding gums are part of the menopause experience. They can be attributed to estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones that are basically responsible for everything that goes awry in menopause. As progesterone levels decline, the feeling of dry mouth increases. With estrogen levels, a steady decrease during menopause leads to thinned and weakened oral tissues and gum inflammation.
Tips on how to deal with it: Be proactive with your oral care. Brush 2x a day, see your dentist more frequently if you are able, and reduce sugary/salty snacks that can further irritate your gums. For at home ease, add a mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide or xylocaine.
What it is: Often described as a feeling of heat that comes from nowhere and flushes the body. You may experience sweating, palpitations, flushing of the face, and anxiety or dizziness caused by a hot flush onset. They can be triggered by seemingly anything as hormone fluctuations mess with your body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Tips on how to deal with it: Create an environment that makes it easier to cool down if needed. Dressing in layers, carrying the Cooling Spray by State of Menopause, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and if you are able to, talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy.
What it is: Most women eventually develop some form of female-pattern hair loss, with varying causes. Genetics, hormones, and stress all play a part in an onset of hair loss. Unsurprisingly, while male pattern hair loss is frequently studies, hair loss suffered by women is very much under-studied. What this means: there are no clear causes of hair loss in women or how to prevent it.
Tips on how to deal with it: Supplements and over the counter solutions can work. We recommend: Skin, Hair, and Nails Supplement by State of Menopause, increasing collagen in your diet (try bone broth), and adding in Minoxidil (aka Rogaine). Each over the counter solution requires dedication and continuous use to see changes. While it can feel disheartening without immediate results, most people do see a significant improvement with continued use.
What it is: Migraine and non-migraine headaches are common leading up to and through menopause. About 29% of people experience migraines during the onset of menopause. About 48% of women report having new on-set non-migraine headaches leading up to menopause, including tension and cluster headaches. While these headaches are attributed to hormonal fluctuations, a variety of other reasons can be the cause. It is important to see a doctor about them if medical intervention is needed.
Tips on how to deal with it: Riboflavin and magnesium are good supplements to add into your diet, as is regulating your sleep schedule. Your doctor can prescribe medication for migraines and it is important to see a neurologist if your headaches persist.
What it is: Heart palpitations can make it feel like your heart is racing, much like after a major scare or long run. Often accompanied by night sweats and hot flashes, they can also create a feeling of anxiety. While estrogen is a trigger for this, it may not be the only cause. It is important to discuss heart palpitations with your doctor.
Tips on how to deal with it: It is important to first determine what is causing the palpitations. Talk to a doctor about your heart health.
What it is: The immune system is partly regulated by estrogen and our allergic responses are affected by hormone fluctuation. As with many things in menopause, this phenomenon is under-studied but there is a connection between menopause and developing food allergies and sensitivities as an adult.
Tips on how to deal with it: If you feel you are developing food sensitivities, begin keeping track of foods you eat to determine whether your reaction is food related. Increase probiotic and prebiotic intake (kefir is a great source if you can consume dairy products). Medical intervention is necessary if you go from a food sensitivity to a food allergy, so it is important to consult with an allergist to determine the severity of your reactions.
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