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Positive Attitude, Planning May Help Women Through Menopause
Date:11/10/2010

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A positive attitude and a little preparation can help women deal with menopause, according to an expert.

Women should start preparing when they experience perimenopause, the stage before menopause. Perimenopause typically begins in the 40s, but can start as early as the 30s, according to Dr. Karen Deighan, chair of obstetrics/gynecology at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Loyola University Health System.

"I give my perimenopausal patients a pep talk so they don't get down on themselves," she said in a Loyola news release. "I tell them that they shouldn't just let this transition happen. Women can be proactive about their health and take steps to minimize the side effects of menopause before it occurs."

Deighan offered the following tips:

  • Start exercising in order to prevent the 5- to 10-pound weight gain typical of menopause. Fluctuations in hormones can contribute to this weight gain. It's more difficult to prevent or lose those extra pounds if you wait until menopause to begin an exercise program.
  • Begin pelvic-floor-strengthening exercises such as kegels. Proper kegel exercises contract the pelvic-floor muscles, not the abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
  • Do weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of fractures.
  • Challenge your brain with memory exercises and crosswords and other types of word puzzles -- it may help lower the risk of memory loss during menopause.
  • Develop and maintain good sleep habits in order to counter potential sleep problems caused by dips in estrogen levels.
  • Try to get enough sleep -- lack of sleep in itself can contribute to mental fogginess and lower libido, which are often associated with menopause.
  • Consider estrogen suppositories to help treat vaginal dryness. Regular intercourse also improves sex drive and increases lubrication.
  • Get your recommended annual test
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