- Hot Flashes. Some women report that eating or drinking hot or spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine, feeling stressed, or being in a hot place can bring on hot flashes. Try to avoid any triggers that bring on your hot flashes. Dress in layers, and keep a fan in your home or workplace. Regular exercise might also ease hot flashes, but sometimes exercise can cause a hot flash. If hot flashes continue and HT is not an option, ask your doctor about taking an antidepressant or epilepsy medicine. There is proof that these can relieve hot flashes for some women.
- Vaginal Dryness. A water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant (like KY® Jelly) can be helpful if sex is painful. A vaginal moisturizer (also over-the-counter) can provide lubrication and help keep needed moisture in vaginal tissues. Really bad vaginal dryness may need HT. If vaginal dryness is the only reason for considering HT, an estrogen product for the vagina is the best choice. Vaginal estrogen products (creams, tablet, ring) treat only the vagina.
- Problems Sleeping. One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. But, don’t exercise close to bedtime. Also avoid large meals, smoking, and working right before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided after noon. Drinking something warm before bedtime, such as herbal tea (no caffeine) or warm milk, might help you to feel sleepy. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Avoid napping during the day, and try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. If you wake during the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up and read until you’re sleepy. Don’t just lie there. If hot flashes are the cause of sleep problems, treating the hot flashes will usually improve sleep.
- Mood swings. Some women report mood swings or “feeling blue” as they reach menopause. Women who had mood swings (PMS) before their periods or post-partum depression after giving birth may have more mood swings around menopause. These are women who are sensitive to hormone changes. Often the mood swings will go away with time. If a woman is using HT for hot flashes or another menopause symptom, sometimes her mood swings will get better, too. Also, getting enough sleep and staying physically active will help you to feel your best. Mood swings are not the same as depression.
- Memory problems. As people age, their memory is not as good as it once was. Some women say they have “fuzzy thinking” as they reach menopause. This may be caused by changing hormones and can improve over time. Getting enough sleep and keeping physically active can help. If memory problems are really bad, talk to your doctor right away. This is not caused by menopause.
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