Welcome back to Part II of our blog series on menopausal symptoms and treatment! In our first blog, we covered vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and irregular periods, and will continue today with weight gain, hair thinning/hair loss, night sweats, and mood changes. This isn’t a complete list of every symptom that a woman might experience during menopause, but it does give a good sense of what some of the most common symptoms are, and how they can be managed.
If you’re experiencing a difficult time with menopause, our women’s doctor can help. Contact Neuman GYN in Jacksonville today to get the support you need!
Hormonal changes from menopause can make weight gain more likely for women. This, on top of the fact that we lose muscle mass as we age and our levels of fat tend to increase, can make it more difficult to keep off those extra pounds — but it’s by no means impossible. In fact, with the right diet, exercise regimen, and overall lifestyle, achieving a healthy weight can be very attainable.
There’s no one way to prevent hormone-specific weight gains, but by implementing some healthy life decisions from as early as possible, you can be in better shape to manage weight fluctuations as they may (or may not) come. Adults should get 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week, such as walking or riding a bike, or about 75 minutes of more vigorous activity, such as playing tennis or jogging, according to Mayo Clinic. Eating healthily, getting enough protein, fruits, and vegetables, and trying to cut back on your caloric intake can make a difference as well. As Mayo Clinic continues to explain, “you might need about 200 fewer calories a day during your 50s than you did during your 30s and 40s.”
As always, limiting sugars, sweets, and alcohol are all additional healthy measures that can make a difference. Because these types of treatments require being a part of a permanent lifestyle, you’ll see the most impact in your weight if you implement these healthy living tips into your daily routine, as soon as possible, and for as long as possible.
Hair Thinning and Hair Loss
Nearly every adult experiences hair thinning and hair loss as they age. For women, menopause can be the time where hair thinning truly starts to show, though it tends to be less noticeable than when men experience similar symptoms. However, it can be tough to deal with, especially when hair may start coming out in clumps or is different than what you’re used to.
Hair thinning and hair loss aren’t solely symptoms of menopause — it’s also simply a byproduct of growing older. There are a few things that you can try, but it should be kept in mind that hair thinning can’t always be treated the same as other menopausal symptoms. One thing that’s recommended is to try and keep your hair natural — as much as you might want to fight off the grey for as long as possible, coloring hair leaves it weaker, and more susceptible to damage. There are also supplements that can be taken to help promote hair health. Additionally, you can talk to a doctor to see if there’s any other guidance they can recommend.
The last thing anyone wants is a night of disruptive sleep, but unfortunately, menopause can do just that. Oftentimes, women may get hot flashes in their sleep, which then cause them to break out in a sweat — this is especially true because, as we’re sleeping, we’re not as quick to make necessary changes to help our body temperature (i.e. taking the covers off when we’re too hot). It’s not uncommon for women to wake up in the night from night sweats, usually an after-effect of a hot flash. We know, it sounds miserable.
The good news is that there are treatment options available! Similar to hot flashes, there are a number of medications that your doctor might be able to prescribe to help you get a good night’s sleep once more. Additionally, Healthline lists several triggers that can lead to night sweats; avoiding these can be helpful, and might result in you not needing to take medication or rely on hormone therapy in the first place.
Smoking, heavy blankets, caffeine and alcohol, spicy foods, and excessive stress are all such examples of things that can produce night sweats, or at least, more night sweats than what you might commonly experience during menopause. Try eliminating these triggers to see if any difference is made.
“Irritability, feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, anxiety, aggressiveness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, tension” are all just some of the mood alterations that can take place during menopause, according to WebMD. For many women, it can emotionally feel like a permanent state of PMS, which nobody wants to experience, ever. One thing that’s reassuring, however, is that certain mood and mind changes, such as forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating, are temporary.
Hormone replacement therapy could be a solution to some of these menopausal symptoms. If symptoms feel severe enough and are attributing to signs of depression, antidepressants might be prescribed. Otherwise, finding coping methods are some of the best treatment options available for persevering through the emotional changes that menopause can bring. Practicing self-care and self-calming techniques, finding creative outlets, continuing to maintain positive relationships, and avoiding stimulants, like alcohol, can all make a difference as well.
No matter the symptoms you might be experiencing from menopause, our women’s doctor and GYN clinic in Jacksonville can help. From prescribing treatments to providing recommendations, to simply being the compassionate and listening ear you deserve, Dr. Carole Neuman is here to support you in whatever capacity you need. No one should have to suffer through menopause, and with Neuman GYN, you can find the relief you need. Give us a call or fill out our contact form today to set up an appointment — we look forward to seeing you soon.