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Debbie Downer? Moody Judy?Debbie Downer

Menopause bringing you down? Menopause causes many hormonal changes that may make you feel inexplicably anxious, angry, or depressed, but you don’t have to let menopause turn you into a Debbie Downer or a Moody Judy.

Debbie: “Why do I feel like this?”

Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some women may not experience any noticeable symptoms, while others may feel as if they are experiencing every listed symptom of menopause. Symptoms can last for a few months or for several years and are caused by changes in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Changes in hormones are a result of aging, or are medically induced through medication or an operation.
Symptoms can include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal and urinary problems
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in sex drive
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain or slowed metabolism

During this time, you will also be at a higher risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. Some women feel irritable or depressed during menopause and are worried about the changes they are experiencing, but there are many treatment options that can help keep you active, strong, and happy as your body changes.

Judy: “How can I control these mood swings?”

If you experience symptoms of menopause that make you uncomfortable, there are medications and lifestyle changes you can try. Start by keeping a diary of your symptoms, including their frequency and intensity. Then share these with your doctor so that together, you can come up with a treatment plan that works for you. Steps that you can take include:

  • Keep fit! Find out what your healthy weight is and try to stay there through proper diet and exercise. As you age, you will need vitamins and nutrients, but generally not as many calories. Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that is low in fat, high in fiber, and includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, make sure you stay active. Participate in a weight-bearing exercise such as walking or dancing at least three days per week to keep up heart and bone strength and boost your mood.
  • Get your ZZZs: Try to get into a routine sleeping schedule where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Keep your room cool and dark while you are sleeping, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, physical activity, eating, and watching TV just before bed.
  • De-stress: Try to lessen stress by giving yourself limits and not taking on too many tasks. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga or breathing exercises, or do something you enjoy, such as walking outdoors, crafting, or reading a book.
  • Talk about it: Participate in a support group or talk to friends who are experiencing similar symptoms. Talking through the changes you are experiencing can help you understand them better and feel more comfortable.
  • Ask the doc: Ask your doctor about hormone therapy. Hormone therapy may help with moderate to severe menopausal symptoms including moodiness, depression, and anxiety.

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