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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle in Postmenopause

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There are a number of steps women in postmenopause can take to stay healthy and feel better. It's as easy as remembering your ABCs, and D, E, and F.

  • Avoid smoking, caffeine, alcohol, excess salt, and sugar.
  • Balanced diet -- Nutritionists recommend whole grains, cold pressed oils, leafy vegetables, and nuts to help keep your body healthy and potentially help relieve hot flashes. Soy may also ease mild hot flashes.
  • Calcium to help keep bones strong.
  • Vitamin D also helps keep bones strong.
  • Exercise -- Weight bearing, daily, at least 30 minutes.
  • Fat -- Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

 

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Understanding Menopause -- the Basics

Menopause simply means the end of menstruation for one year. As a woman ages, there is a gradual decline in the function of her ovaries and the production of estrogen. Around the time a woman turns 40, this process speeds up. This transition is known as perimenopause. Women typically menstruate for the last time at about 50 years of age. A few stop menstruating as young as 40, and a very small percentage as late as 60. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause a few years earlier than nonsmokers...

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Tips for Easing Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are probably the most common symptom of menopause. Here are tips for easing them:

  • Avoid getting too warm by dressing in layers and sleeping in a cool room.
  • Avoid eating hot and spicy foods.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it can trigger hot flashes.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Eat several servings of soy a day, after first checking with your doctor. There is some evidence that soy may relieve mild hot flashes, although the effects may take several weeks to realize.

Tips for Reducing Vaginal Dryness

  • Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers available without a prescription can help lubricate the vagina and make sexual intercourse more comfortable during menopause and in postmenopause.
  • If over-the-counter treatments don't work, ask your doctor about topical estrogen, available in creams, tablets, or in a vaginal ring. This type of estrogen will not improve other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.

Tips to Reduce Risk for Osteoporosis

To protect your bones and avoid osteoporosis:

  • Get adequate calcium and vitamin D.
  • Exercise.
  • Ask your doctor if you need a test to check your bone strength.

Tips to Reduce Risk for Heart Disease

The risk for heart disease goes up as we age. Tips for protecting your heart include:

  • Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Take steps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure if they are too high. If lifestyle changes are not enough to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level and your blood pressure normal, talk to your doctor about prescription medication.
  • If you are diabetic, control your blood sugar.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on July 13, 2014
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