Too young for menopause? Find out how to cope
Mood swings? Hot flashes? Trouble sleeping? If your ovaries were removed during your hysterectomy, you may be starting menopause early since your ovaries control vital hormones. This is sometimes called ‘surgical menopause’.
For some women, menopause is a breeze. For others, it’s more like a typhoon! If you fall into the latter group, there is some good news: Gone are the days of suffering in silence during ‘the change’. There are things you can do today to take control of your symptoms and your life.
Take back control of your emotions
Menopause may make you feel like you’re on the fast track to aging. That’s not the case – at all! Menopause is just another stage in life, similar to those memorable teenage years. The hormonal changes you’re experiencing are normal, and don’t make you less of a woman. In fact, this stage of life, albeit earlier than planned, validates your womanhood. Your femininity, sex drive and vitality aren’t ending, just your periods.
So, how do you control your emotions when your body feels like a ‘hot’ mess?
- Find solutions to the symptoms you’re experiencing. Ask your doctor to help you find an expert on menopause or hormonal imbalances. Easing your symptoms will give you the emotional boost you need and provide a sense of balance and control in your life.
- If you don’t exercise regularly, consider adding physical activity to your life. Sounds boring? Hate it? No time? Start slowly and gradually pick up the pace (first, make sure you have no serious health issues preventing you for exercising). Pick an activity you enjoy! It could be anything that gets your body moving:
- Jump rope
- Dodge ball
- Walking your dog
- Soccer with the kids
- Power walking with your spouse or friend
- Stationery bike
- Stair climber
Be patient with yourself, and remember the best payoff: Exercise releases those magnificent feel-good endorphins. You’ll be helping your body and mood with every step you take.
- Considering meditating. It calms the body and mind almost instantly. There are many free guided meditations online, as well as meditation series. You can also purchase them at most retail stores that sell DVDs and CDs. Again, be patient. Start with just a few minutes a day and build up over time. This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
- Remain optimistic. This can be a tough one! Remind yourself that you WILL find relief. Whether through medications such as HRT or BHRT (see below) or lifestyle changes – things will get better. The silver lining: no more periods, PMS, or cramping! That’s a reason to smile.
A major benefit of going through menopause is that you’re not alone. Far from it! There are literally millions of women who’ve ‘been there, done that’… and lived to tell about it. If you don’t feel supported at home or among your friends who aren’t menopausal yet, find a menopause support group to help you navigate the waters. There are many online groups who will eagerly welcome you. Support is just a few clicks away. You can ask them any you’ve ever wanted to know about the ‘M’ word.
Get your Zs
Unfortunately, some women experience periodic bouts of insomnia during menopause. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, it may be time to step up your sleep hygiene. Adopting new habits may encourage your body to get the rest it needs.
A few tips to improve your sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Skip the nightcap. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy food before bed
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex
- Lower your evening stress (write a list of what’s worrying you; it will be there in the morning)
- Consider natural remedies to help you fall asleep
Talk to your doctor
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) often eases or prevents the symptoms that come with early menopause (night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low libido). Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a natural version of HRT and has become very popular over the past few decades. HRT/BHRT supplements your body with the hormones that are now lacking, such as estrogen, testosterone and possibly progesterone.
Talk with your doctor to find out if hormone replacement is right for you. Your doctor can help you to find the best solution or practitioner for your symptoms. You may also want to research whether you have a hormone and menopause specialist in your area.
A final note… Getting help early can make a big difference in how you feel inside and out. Look for help, and keep looking until you find what’s right for you. Menopause doesn’t last forever, and neither will your symptoms.