SPECIAL NOTE: If this important subject doesn’t apply to you, please continue reading to learn ways you can help support the women in your life.
For many women in the U.S., menopause begins around age 52.1 But every woman is different, so this multiyear transition can begin much earlier. All women, however, deserve to be empowered with tips and tools to keep them comfortable at work and at home. Previous generations didn’t talk openly about this subject, so some wives’ tales exist about this natural phase of life. In this blog we’ll debunk some myths and share suggestions to help you feel your best throughout this process.
Myth #1: You know you’re in menopause when you start having hot flashes. While symptoms such as night sweats and irregular periods are common signs of menopause, some women don’t have symptoms, and some symptoms may be common with other conditions. If you’ve always been able to set your watch by your periods, you can start tracking them when they become irregular.
Myth #2: There’s no way to know when you’re going to start menopause. Actually, talking with your mom about when it began for her is a helpful guideline. You will have to consider other factors too. For example, menopause may begin earlier for some women who have not had children.
Myth #3: If you’ve missed your period for nine consecutive months, you’re possibly in menopause. The standard for menopause is no period for 12 consecutive months.1 So even if your period starts after 10 months and two weeks, guess what? Yup, reset the calendar.
Myth #4: After menopause, you no longer have to practice safe sex. This is an important issue because the phrase “safe sex” is misleading. Although you cannot become pregnant after menopause, having unprotected sex can expose you to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Myth #5: There’s no such thing as “perimenopause.” The transition time before the periods stop is called “perimenopause.” According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, this phase can begin in the mid-40s and usually lasts about four years. Of course, this timing is unique for every woman.
Here are a few tricks, tips, and tools to help you get through this sometimes trying stage of life:
- Don’t sweat the night sweats. At night, try taking a cool shower before bedtime, and then sleeping in a cool room with a fan to evaporate sweat (take a fan to the office, too!). You can also find sleepwear that wicks away moisture, and bedding to keep you cool. (Fun fact: Some stores will allow you to return bed sheets if they don’t work, even after you’ve slept on them.)
- Maintain a healthy weight. Many women experience a gradual increase in their weight during menopause. Take a look at your eating habits and make adjustments early to help you ward off the widening of your waistline. Also, to help with the night sweats, you may want to avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine close to bedtime.
- Form a support group with friends. Get together with other women in your age group who are in different stages of menopause; share your challenges, concerns, suggestions, and solutions. If anyone can understand what you’re going through, it is someone who has already been through it.
- Talk to someone you trust at work. Sometimes you just won’t feel your best emotionally. If you work in a supportive environment, check into getting flexibility in your work structure, such as working from home or adjusting your hours so that you can avoid stressful situations like rush-hour traffic. Maybe you can even get out of the office a little early to attend a spin class.
- Get comfortable. Treat yourself to whatever wardrobe and accessories you need to feel relaxed and at ease. To help you deal with hot flashes, look into clothing made with moisture-wicking materials.
- Practice self-care. Be intentional about managing your stress levels. Practice yoga, try a meditation app, or just go for a walk each day.
- Talk to Teladoc. Some women experience heat rashes and dry, itchy skin during menopause. Teladoc’s U.S. board-certified physicians can help diagnose and treat these and a wide variety of other non-emergency conditions. Request your visit anytime, 24/7, anywhere you are.
1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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