By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
Written by Menopause Minute® Editors
Every September, Red Hot Mamas from across the country flaunt their red boas to celebrate National Menopause Awareness Month. For our Red Hot Mamas organization, the event is a time to raise awareness about the importance of having accurate information to enhance women’s health at menopause and beyond. It is a time for us to acknowledge menopause as a natural phase, a natural biological transition, that may bring challenges to our health. As a result of these challenges, it’s even more important for women to make the best choices possible about their health.
It is essential that women gather information and collaboratively work with their health care provider. By doing this, it will enable a woman to formulate their own individual plan to deal with the changes experienced during the menopausal transition. A personalized plan, rather than a one-size-fits-all plan, will optimize your menopause experience.
In 2009, we no longer need to hide from menopause. We no longer need to pretend it doesn’t exist, or wish it would go away. On the contrary, we can embrace it, talk about it, celebrate it, sporting our red boas and all. So, we encourage you to take charge of your health, view menopause as a time for focus on wellness, feeling good, and making the best choices for a healthy lifestyle.
The Communication Solution
The more knowledge you have about menopause, the better you will understand what’s going on with your body and the easier it becomes to manage symptoms. Most women experience symptoms at menopause, but our symptoms are as varied as our taste in shoes. Common symptoms include irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood changes, vaginal changes, weight gain, skin and hair changes. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, talk about them. Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationships. And, especially with all the changes that occur during the menopause transition, it’s important to communicate these changes with your loved ones. Here are a few ways you can communicate with others at menopause:
- Try logging onto our bulletin boards. Chances are you will not be the first person to bring up the subject. From hip huggers to hot flashes, you’ll find it all on our boards. Exchange ideas with others. Chit chat about what has worked to suppress your hot flashes, as well as what has flopped like a pancake. And, remember, there’s probably not a lot we haven’t heard, so feel free to be open and candid about all issues pertaining to menopausal health. Not only will you be helping yourself by exchanging information, you’ll probably get some great advice from people who have been, or are going through it themselves.
- Attend a Red Hot Mamas program. Not only will you receive the most up to date, medical information about menopause, you will also be amidst the many women in your geographic area who are experiencing the change as well. One Ohio-based Red Hot Mamas commented on a recent program, “They were hoping for 75 women to attend and over 250 showed up. It is so good to know that a) I’m not alone and b) I’m not crazy!” At our programs, you can ask your questions without embarrassment and become part of a community of other women who are feeling a lot like you do.
- Talk to your clinician. Maintaining and improving health at menopause is a must. As our hormone levels decline, we become more susceptible to long term medical repercussions, such as an increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. Discuss your personal and family medical history with your clinician, as well as any symptoms you are experiencing during the transition.
Energize Your Transition
Menopause can be a beautiful time of your life, if you let it. The transition is easier when you have a positive attitude and promising outlook on the long exciting life ahead of you. I always say, “Honor thy humor at menopause, there’s no prescription required.” Many women experience a newfound sense of freedom and personal growth during menopause. Keep a positive outlook and value your rich life experiences and the wisdom you have to share. Add some joy in your life and feel sexy again with the zesty tunes found on the Red Hot Mamas CD.
Looking for a quick way to energize yourself at the end of your day? A prescription for exercise should be given to virtually all women, particularly at menopause. Women who exercise have less hot flashes and we certainly know the benefits of it raising our endorphins. The importance of exercise in your life at menopause cannot be overemphasized. Exercise can help your bones, heart, weight and even your sex life. But before you begin any exercise program, it is important to check it out with your clinician. Vary your exercise as it make it more interesting and you are more likely to continue to do it. And, just remember the benefits of exercise on your health and you will never say again, "I can’t afford to do it, or I just simply can’t find the time to fit it into my schedule". To make exercise more enjoyable, I oftentimes do it with a friend.
Remember the Freshmen 15? Now, many of us are going through the Menopause 25! Weight gain at menopause is common. The loss of estrogen at menopause has a profound effect on muscle and bone mass – another reason why exercise is very important.
An active lifestyle can provide positive effects on a number of physical and psychological problems and changes associated with menopause and midlife, including depression, the risk of coronary artery disease, and vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Here are a few ways to try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, adapted from the American Heart Association:
- Do housework yourself, instead of hiring someone else to do it. Not only will this help your bank account, but your waist line as well.
- Work in the garden or mow the grass. Using a riding mower doesn’t count! Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash.
- Go out for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner, or both! Start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes
- Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving.
- When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk. Choose a hilly route.
- When watching TV, sit up instead of lying on the sofa. Better yet, spend a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bicycle while watching TV. Even better, throw away your remote control. Get up and change the channel by yourself!
- Stand up while talking on the telephone.
- Walk the dog.
- Park farther away at the shopping mall and
walk the extra distance. Wear your walking shoes and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall.
- At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
- Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it as any other important appointment.
- Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.
Putting It All Together During Menopause Awareness Month This September
- Collect information
- Develop a plan to take charge of menopause
- Improve communication with your clinician, as well as your loved ones
- Develop a personalized plan to optimize your health to deal with the challenges of menopause
- Assemble all your menopause resources for information and support
Use Your Resources
Want to learn more helpful tips and tricks for the menopause transition?