What Should I Do If I Think I’m Entering Menopause?
Patricia Zifferblatt | December 1, 2006

In an August 15th presentation on ABC news, the discomforts of female menopause were discussed by experts in this field. Here’s a synopsis of what was reported.

A woman reaches menopause usually between 45-55 years of age, unless she has had surgery or treatments that can affect her hormonal system. A woman has reached menopause when she has missed her period (menstrual flow) for one year.

Hot flashes are the most common complaint of menopausal women, but night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, and painful intercourse are also reported by many women.

So what’s a female body to do when she starts menopause?
  • Get a complete physical that includes tests for heart disease (the greatest killer of post-menopausal women), diabetes, and high blood pressure.

  • Speak frankly with your doctor about any concerns and issues you are experiencing as you enter this phase of life.

  • Keep a list of how often you get a hot flash, including the duration and frequency.

  • Whenever possible, dress in layers--wear a sweater or jacket that can be removed if and when a hot flash occurs.

  • Limit the amounts of hot foods and beverages you consume, both of which can trigger a hot flash.

  • Restrict alcohol consumption. Alcohol raises temperature and blood pressure.

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking causes a constriction of blood vessels and slows circulation.

  • Black cohosh has been used by American Indian women for over 200 years. Use a high-quality black cohosh supplement as directed on the label or as recommended by your doctor to help relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

  • As hormones and chemicals begin to change in the body, depression may occur. Report any unusual or long-lasting episodes of depression to your doctor.

  • Vaginal walls get thin during and after menopause, which can make intercourse painful. Report any discomfort during sex to your doctor. In addition, talk with your pharmacist about over-the-counter vaginal creams that may help.

  • Make sure you see your doctor regularly and report any unusual changes ASAP.
Women can live long and well after menopause. It all depends on the individual whether one lives life to the fullest or dies early after several unhappy, unhealthy years.
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