Dear Red Hot Mamas- December 2017

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: December 13, 2017

“A friend is a gift you give yourself”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

On behalf of the Red Hot Mamas, I would like to personally express my gratitude and appreciation for your friendship.  Our organization thanks all of you for including us in your lives.  We hope that you enjoy the holidays with those whose company you enjoy best.

I get asked all the time as to how can women stay healthy after menopause.  Here are some steps that women can take to keep healthy:

  • Don’t smoke – And, remember that it’s never too late to quit smoking!  Smoking increases your risk of developing an earlier menopause.  It also increases your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Make time to exercise.  Keep your bones strong by exercising regularly – at least three days a week, thirty minutes per day.  Weight bearing exercises like walking and dancing are beneficial for your bones. Exercise will also reduce your risk of diabetes, breast cancer and helps to improve your mood.
  • Eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D through the products you eat and drink to maintain healthy bones.  Dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach or kale), and calcium fortified fruit juices contain good amounts of calcium. Vitamin D is necessary as it allows your body to absorb calcium.  Most milk is fortified with vitamin D.  Other food sources include salt water fish and egg yolks.  Sunlight is also a good source for getting vitamin D but you must keep in mind that sunlight also may increase your risk of skin cancer.  Discuss with your healthcare provider the need for additional supplements if you are not getting enough calcium or vitamin D in your diet.
  • Eat well focusing on foods that are healthy – vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins.  And watch portion size.
  • Learn to de-stress.  Relaxation techniques, mindfulness, deep breathing and yoga are helpful.  Just take time out for yourself.
  • Keep learning so you can make informed decisions about your health.
  • And, talk to other Red Hot Mamas out there who can offer support.

It’s important for women to understand the facts about menopause and what to expect when it arrives and how to manage its course.  Always remember that you are not alone.  Approximately 6,000 women in the US reach menopause every day; more than 2 million women in the US enter menopause each year.  Wow, that’s certainly a lot of women.

Symptoms are common.  Many women do have symptoms, but 20 % of women never have symptoms.  For those of you who experience symptoms, these symptoms typically last about seven years, however, many women experience them much longer.  Common symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, skin changes, mood changes, sleep changes, weight gain, memory and concentration problems and vaginal dryness which can lead to painful intercourse.

There are many options to help you manage your symptoms.  If you are experiencing symptoms you should discuss the role estrogen therapy would have in relieving symptoms.  There are now new findings about estrogen therapy that your healthcare provider should discuss with you.  Also, there is a new class of antidepressants called SSRI’s which is another option to treat symptoms.  And, there are other new treatment options which can help with symptoms.  Work with your health care provider to come up with a plan that’s best suited for you.

In closing, it’s important to educate yourself about menopause.  And, take care of your health before, during and after menopause.  Many women in the US will live at least three decades after reaching menopause.  And, lastly, stay up to date with your health screenings. Continue getting regular checkups (pelvic, Pap tests, breast exams and mammograms).

Happy Holidays and all the best to you in the year to come!!

Good Health to You All,

Karen Giblin