Making these healthy lifestyle choices may help ease some symptoms of perimenopause and promote good health as you age:
- Ease vaginal discomfort. Use over-the-counter, water-based vaginal lubricants (Astroglide, K-Y jelly, others) or moisturizers (Replens, Vagisil, others). Choose products that don't contain glycerin, which can cause burning or irritation in women who are sensitive to that chemical. Staying sexually active also helps by increasing blood flow to the vagina.
- Eat healthy. Because your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease increases at this time, a healthy diet is more important than ever. Adopt a low-fat, high-fiber diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Add calcium-rich foods. Ask your doctor if you should also take a calcium supplement and if so, what type and how much — also ask if you need more vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if they seem to trigger hot flashes.
- Be active. Regular exercise and physical activity helps prevent weight gain, improves your sleep and elevates your mood. Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week, although not right before bedtime. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce hip fracture risk in older women and to strengthen bone density.
- Get enough sleep. Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid caffeine, which can make it hard to get to sleep, and avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can interrupt sleep.
- Practice stress reduction techniques. Practiced regularly, stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can promote relaxation and good health throughout your lifetime, but they may be particularly helpful during the menopausal transition.
Oct. 21, 2016
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