Menopause is no joke. Symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and weird periods can be horrible, and there usually isn't a way to make them go away completely — but there are things you can do to make them more tolerable.
Make your life a little easier by keeping these supplies at the ready.
You thought you could finally throw those things away once you reached menopause, right? Well, eventually you can — but not right away. The first years leading up to menopause, referred to as perimenopause, can bring very irregular periods, meaning that time of the month can actually strike at any time of the month. Be prepared.
When menopause hits, you know that hot flashes come on quickly — and they're intense. Find instant relief no matter where you are by sticking a few disposable cold packs in your purse. They're small and portable and activate quickly for instant relief. Place one on the back or your neck or against your forehead until you feel better, then simply dump it in the trash.
Handheld fans are another portable, easy option for those annoying hot flashes. Think about tucking one in your purse or desk for when you really need it.
During menopause, reduced natural lubrication and thinning vaginal tissue can lead to vaginal dryness. This can be uncomfortable in any situation and it can lead to very painful sex. Unlike lubrication, vaginal moisturizers like Replens Moisturizer soak into the tissue and help replenish natural vaginal moisture for three to four days. Use one regularly to help eliminate symptoms of vaginal dryness.
Even if you use a vaginal moisturizer regularly, a little extra lubrication never hurts when you're ready for intimacy. Keep some in your nightstand or someplace handy for when it's needed. Replens Silky Smooth Lubricant is silicone-based, which lasts longer than water-based lubricants.
Perimenopause can last several years and your periods may be extremely infrequent during that time, making you think you can no longer become pregnant. The truth is, you can still get pregnant until you have completely transitioned into menopause, so make sure you still have some form of contraception on hand until your doctor gives you the all clear if you don't want to add to your household.
Decreasing levels of estrogen during menopause often lead to oily skin, so keep some blotting papers in your bag to help ward off that shiny look throughout the day.
Those same oils that make your skin shiny during menopause can make your teenage acne return with a vengeance. Keep acne medication or spot-treatment on hand to help clear up trouble spots.
Those same hormone fluxes that can lead to dryness in other parts of your body can also dry out your mouth. Keep a bottle of water on you at all times so you can take a swig instead of shoving food in your mouth as soon as it starts to feel dry. If the water is cool, it'll also help to drink it when you feel a hot flash coming on.
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Originally published May 2016. Updated February 2017.
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