Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ho Ho Ho And Hot Flashes: Surviving The Holidays With Menopause

Have you found yourself suddenly flushed for no reason? Feeling so hot you want to jump naked into a polar sea? Suffering from insomnia or waking up drenched with sweat? These are all symptoms of menopause or perimenopause (the period before menopause) – which can begin as early as age 35.

Some of the symptoms associated with menopause include:
• Menstrual changes
• Insomnia
• Night sweats
• Hot flashes
• Headaches
• Depression
• Difficulty concentrating
• Fatigue
• Memory lapses
• Anxiety
• Irritability ...and more.

You can take the Menopause Center of Minnesota's online quiz to see if you may be suffering symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.

Menopause is an emotional and physical roller coaster. They don't call it “the change” for nothing.

The combination of menopause and the already stressful holiday season can be a recipe for a bad time. The good news is if you are going through perimenopause or menopause there are plenty of treatment options available, including bioidentical hormone therapy. In addition, there are other practical ways to cope with menopause symptoms, especially during tense and busy times like shopping for gifts, slaving over the hot stove and other holiday prep.

1. Get diagnosed. First, confirm with your health care provider that you are in fact experiencing perimenopause or menopause and not symptoms of another condition. With a diagnosis you can discuss medical treatment options that will help your body deal with hormonal fluctuations.

2. Get zen. Next, learn how to remove yourself from everyday stressors and anxieties that are magnified during the holidays. This may seem easier said than done, but little things can help you unwind. Here are a few ways our own staff resets during a stressful day:
• Create a happy place in your home to meditate or just chill out.
• Take deep, breaths from your belly.
• Enjoy a yoga or tai chi class.
• Listen to music that makes you happy.
• Go for a walk.

3. Get a sense of humor. Menopause happens to all women so the quicker you develop a sense of humor about it, the easier your experience will be. Learn to shrug off a hot flash or laugh about something you've forgotten. During the holidays, remember the best things about the season should make you feel good – the joy of giving, sharing in good company, enjoying yummy food and celebrating with traditions you've come to cherish.

4. Get social. Don't be tempted to give up your social support network just because you're feeling lousy or embarrassed by what's happening – you need to have fun with friends and family now more than ever. This is particularly true during the holidays, when you'll be faced with social obligations whether you want to or not.

You can also consider a shared medical appointment, which combines individualized health care with group discussions. You're getting the best of both worlds – one-on-one time with your practitioner and new friends with whom you have the common bond of the menopause. Shared appointments are the wave of the future in many areas of medicine, but they are especially important for menopause care. You will emerge from a shared appointment educated not only by your provider but by your peers, and you'll have a support system to help you cope.

5. Get acceptance. If you're in perimenopause or menopause, there's no turning back. And that's okay. Embrace the change. Menopause can be one of the most freeing times in a woman's life. No more PMS! No more birth control! Being upset about the onset of menopause is a normal reaction, but don't dwell on the negative. Know that your health care provider is going to guide you through this, you will start to feel better, and your family and friends aren't going to turn their backs on you. Menopause is just another of life's adventures. Choose to approach it with bravery and optimism.

With these tips you can survive the daunting duo of menopause and the holidays, and even get through it with grace. Menopause doesn't have to get in the way of making happy memories!

The Menopause Center of Minnesota was created to help women 35 and older who are dealing with issues and symptoms of perimenopause/menopause. The Menopause Center has two locations in Saint Paul and Shakopee, MN. For more information visit

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