you're perimenopausal; antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, or other medications to
help with hot flashes; and vaginal estrogen cream. Your doctor may also have lifestyle
tips about adjusting your diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
. Get a checkup that includes measuring your blood pressure, cholesterol, and
blood sugar and make appointments for routine screenings such as mammograms.
"For many women, perimenopause is much harder than menopause," says JoAnn
Pinkerton, MD, medical director of the Midlife Health Center and professor of obstetrics
and gynecology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. "Because it is not well
described, people are not expecting it. And symptoms vary from month to month, so it's
hard to get a handle on it."
s. "Most women are caretaking for other people, including teenagers and aging
parents, and they may be working from home or the office," Pinkerton tells WebMD.
"They stop putting themselves first. They're not exercising, they're stress eating, and
they're not getting adequate amounts of sleep, all of which make it more difficult to go
through this process."
But here's the good news: There are many things you can do to improve
symptoms -- during and after menopause -- including exercising, eating right, and
getting enough sleep.
For example, regular, weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise, such as walking
and jogging, can protect your cardiovascular and bone health. Add some strength
training to regular aerobic exercise and get an even greater boost in bone protection.
Exercising in the morning and engaging in stress-reduction activities like yoga and
Pilates may help you sleep better, too.
Common problems those going through the menopause may face and some foods to
Stop eating foods that are likely to trigger or worsen hot flushes and night sweats. For
instance, avoid stimulants such as coffee chocolate and spicy foods, especially at night -
they're notorious for setting off hot flushes.
Avoid snacking on sugary foods. All too often a sharp rise in your blood glucose level
may be followed by a sharp dip, which leaves you feeling tired and drained. Choose
fresh fruit with a few nuts on the side instead.