How Can I Prevent or Reduce the Symptoms of Perimenopause?

Question: How Can I Prevent or Reduce the Symptoms of Perimenopause?
Answer: Preventing and reducing the symptoms of perimenopause is easier than you might think when you have a clear picture of your monthly cycle and symptoms. Buy a journal, or use a calendar to record your symptoms throughout the month. Write down any symptoms you experience such as hot flashes, night sweats, and changes in your mood. Be sure to note when your period, or any bleeding, occurs and whether your period is heavy, normal, or light.

Be aware of changes that occur immediately before you experience perimenopause symptoms. For example: What is the temperature of your environment? Have you eaten any hot or spicy foods? Being overheated often triggers hot flashes. Reduce the thermostat and avoid hot, spicy foods if they are hot flash triggers. Other things you can do to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • If you are not already exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, now is a great time to begin. Not only does regular physical activity help prevent or reduce the symptoms of perimenopause, it also significantly reduces your risk of several types of cancer and heart disease -- the number one cause of death for women in the U.S.
    See: How To Start An Exercise Program
  • If you are a smoker, quit smoking. To learn about the uniquely female reasons for not smoking, don't miss Smoking: The Women's Health Perspective
  • Learn your BMI - body mass index and keep it at a normal level by following a heart healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as proper portions of lean meats and fish. A regular exercise plan (as mentioned above) also helps keep your BMI level normal.
  • Perimenopause may cause pain due to vaginal dryness during sex. This is easily solved by using a vaginal lubricant prior to sexual activity.

The most important thing you can do for yourself during perimenopause is to stay active, volunteer, take a class, or just spend time visiting with your friends. Ask your friends and relatives who are in perimenopause or menopause about what's happening to them -- you'll probably discover that they are going through the same thing as you.

If you feel depressed during perimenopause or menopause, be sure to talk to your health care provider who can prescribe one of several very effective antidepressants that are available. If you have any questions about how to prevent or reduce the symptoms of perimenopause, be sure to talk with your health care provider about your concerns. And don't forget to visit the About Menopause Forum when you need someone who understands.