7 Effective Ways to Deal With Menopause
Menopause is a passage into a new phase of life and ushers in a new set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you be your own health advocate and stay healthy.
Sep 27, 2018Menopause & Aging Well
Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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It seems that lately everyone is talking about menopause.
OK, not everyone, but the people I associate with.
We're all of "that age": either we've gone through it or we're going through it.
And, as unreliable as memories can sometimes be, when it comes to menopause mine are crystal clear (even though my periods officially ended years ago in my early 50s): the hot flashes that torched my inner furnace, the night sweats that soaked my dry sheets, the moods that brought back (bad) memories of PMS when I'd fall into depressions so deep I swore I'd never climb out (but I always did), the insomnia, heart palpitations, dry-skin-and-everything-else.
The thing is, menopause is a relief: no more bleeding; no more pregnancy worries; no more disabling cramps; no more premenstrual mood swings. But the other thing is, menopause is a passage into a new phase of life and ushers in a new set of challenges. And many of us are unprepared for or even frightened of this foreign territory.
There is no denying that the onset of menopause brings very real health challenges and risks and affects the quality of your life. Estrogen—or the decline of it—has a big influence on our bodies.
My LDL (bad) cholesterol numbers started climbing the year after I officially entered menopause; so did my blood pressure. My bone density, on the other hand, started falling to the point of near-osteoporosis (even though I exercise and eat well). My concentration was off for a while, too.
It's important for women to know that this is not the time to ignore their health. But many do. I recently read a startling statistic: Although 60 percent of women who have major menopausal symptoms seek help from a health care professional, close to three-quarters of those who do are left untreated. So, nearly one-third of menopausal women in our country are needlessly suffering. Given that 6,000 women reach menopause each day, that's a lot of women with menopausal symptoms.
Find outWhat No One Tells You About Menopause.
Part of the problem is that many health care professionals are not knowledgeable; they haven't had training and are not up to date. In most medical schools and residency programs, there is no training specifically for menopause, and only about 20 percent of ob-gyn residency programs provide it.
This all supports the fact that we need to be our own health advocates. Menopause symptoms are not all in your head—they're real, and they have real implications for your health.
If you have health concerns, you need to discuss them with a health care professional. And if yours won't listen or doesn't seem interested or knowledgeable, find one who is.
Do you know there are certified menopause practitioners who specialize in health care for menopausal women? Years ago, the North American Menopause Society recognized the need for high-quality care for this select population and developed a competency exam for all licensed health care professionals, awarding the credential to those who have demonstrated expertise in the field, including doctors, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers and more. To find out more about the certification, click here. To help you locate one in your area, click here.
You are far from helpless in this life transition! There are plenty of everyday things you can do yourself to stay healthy.
This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.