Although almost all women (and some men!) go through menopause at some point, its effect on daily life is highly personal.
Some women experience only a few hot flashes, others find them nearly incapacitating.
And whether or not you have any obvious menopause symptoms, certain health risks do tend to go up in middle age, including bone thinning.
Check out these tips for making life a little easier during perimenopause and menopause.
2 of 7
Take a bath and/or sip relaxing teas with valerian or chamomile before bed.
Make your bedroom a shrine, including using blackout shades, and skip the exercise right before bed.
An over-the-counter sleep aid like Tylenol PM is OK occasionally, but see your doctor if you're dealing with perpetual insomnia.
3 of 7
Fill your diet with bone-building foods, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, sardines, salmon, almonds, and soybeans.
In addition, aim to do vigorous weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, for 30 to 40 minutes a day.
And, if your doctor recommends them, take an osteoporosis drug, like Actonel, Boniva, Evista, or Fosamax, or calcium supplements.
4 of 7Getty Images
If you're having hot flashes, keep cool by layering your outfits in breathable, heat-wicking fabrics and sleeping on bedding that wicks away moisture.
Consider adding soy to your diet, too.
“Some people find that eating tofu and edamame or drinking soy milk keeps the hot flashes away,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an ob-gyn and a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University Medical School, in New Haven, Conn.
5 of 7
If you want to try natural hot-flash remedies like black cohosh (20 milligrams, twice a day), be certain you buy a product that actually contains it.
“You want to be sure that you’re purchasing a regulated product with this active ingredient,” Dr. Minkin says.
Another possible hot-flash remedy is effexor, an antidepressant.
“I start patients on a low dose of 25 milligrams,” says Jennifer Wu, MD, an ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. “We prescribe this to help control the vasomotor center in the brain that controls body temperature and perception of heat and cold.”
6 of 7Getty Images
Exercise for 20 minutes a day, at least three times a week, to boost your energy and feel less irritable.
Eating small meals and a number of protein-rich snacks throughout the day can also help you cope with emotional ups and downs.
Yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture can also enable you to de-stress.
Chasteberry fruit and black cohosh are herbal mood stabilizers that may help too.
7 of 7Getty Images
Estrogen products can work directly to restore moisture and relieve discomfort.
There’s estrogen cream (Estrace, Premarin) or tablets (Vagifem), which you put directly into your vagina at bedtime, or estrogen-releasing rings (Estring), which are inserted into your vagina by you or your doctor and are replaced every three months.