Coping Strategies for Menopause: Embracing Change and Finding Relief

Last updated 12.05.2023 | by Sabrina Johnson | 9 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


When transitioning into menopause, you start experiencing an array of symptoms, one after the other. Your periods may not be as regular as before. Not to miss out on the hot flashes that could affect your sleep and mood. 

No two women will have the same symptoms with the same intensity. It varies. My sister was troubled with hot flashes, whereas for me, it was sleep issues and irregular periods. My friend suffered from increased bouts of skin and vaginal dryness. 

If we were to look at the data, most menopausal women experience hot flashes – around 80%. Vaginal dryness, which begins in the transition phase, remains in postmenopause as well in 50-75% of the women. 

Urinary incontinence is common in 39% of women aged 20-39 and a majority of women over 50. Whereas, if we were to discuss sleep issues, it is seen in 39-47% of women in perimenopause and 35-60% of women in post-menopause. 

The data mentioned above aren’t to scare you but to make you aware. The symptoms are an outcome of hormonal imbalances. That’s inevitable; you cannot do anything to stop it. 

However, by maintaining a proper lifestyle, you can easily manage most of the symptoms and even lessen their severity. 

Which symptoms trouble you the most? Are you looking for strategies to cope with them? Here are some tips for you. I have elaborated on the many ways in which you could cope with the menopausal symptoms. Read on to know more.

Coping Strategies for Menopausal Symptoms

Coping Strategies for Menopausal Symptoms

A psychologist friend once told me that our menopause wouldn’t be the same as our mothers’. In the yesteryears, things were more of a hush-hush. Cut to the present times; they’re more transparent. Everything is out in the open. This makes women more aware of their body’s changes during and after menopause. 

So, when you are aware of things, it will be easier for you to resort to coping strategies to manage your menopausal symptoms. Here are some tips:

Hot Flashes

That hot feeling spreading from your face down your neck and chest isn’t comfortable. It could last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. 

You may be unable to avoid a hot flash. It is the hormone’s play. But, by leading a healthy life and following a few measures, you could lessen its severity and frequency.

  • Dress in layers so that it’s easier to remove the various pieces of clothing when you begin to feel too hot
  • Adjust the temperature within your home in a manner such that it’s comfortable for your body
  • Practice controlled breathing the minute your hot flashes begin, as it may help to lessen their duration and severity. 
  • Water helps regulate the internal temperature of your body. Therefore, stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Try flaxseed oil, as it could help relieve the hot flashes
  • Stay away from hot environments and activities, such as saunas and sunbathing.
  • Don’t consume spicy food, as it will make your flashes worse
  • Keep a portable fan handy to cool yourself during a hot flash episode.
  • A bottle of cold water is another prerequisite for dealing with hot flashes whenever it happens.

Loss of Bladder Control and Vaginal Dryness

The hormonal imbalances that occur during menopause cause women to experience loss of bladder control and also vaginal dryness. The latter can make sexual intercourse painful and affect a woman’s sex life.

The ways to deal with these problems are:

  • Use a lubricant during sex
  • Try out Kegel exercises, as they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and also help in dealing with urinary incontinence
  • The urinary and vaginal symptoms you face during menopause can often be dealt with flaxseed oil and vitamin E that comes in the form of creams or supplements
  • Always choose cotton underwear, as it lets your skin breathe and lessens irritation. 

Weight Gain

Loss of muscle mass and reduced energy levels are some of the many reasons why women gain weight as they go through menopause. However, maintaining a moderate weight is essential to cope with menopausal symptoms.

If you’re experiencing weight gain during this transitional phase, here’s what you can do:

  • Cut back on processed foods and refined sugar
  • Exercise more regularly and keep your body moving
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables in your meals
  • Consume foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium

Insomnia

Experiencing problems with your sleep cycle is something many women face during menopause. It could be due to hot flashes, night sweats, or even stress. You can deal with insomnia by taking the following steps:

  • Try relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and listening to soothing music before going to bed
  • Bring down the temperature of your bedroom, as a cooler environment can help you sleep better
  • Take a bath before going to bed
  • Follow a proper sleep schedule; mine was a little erratic before; when I regularized my sleep hours, it helped me big time. 
  • Antidepressants can often keep you awake at night. Talk to your doctor to see if this may be causing insomnia

Stress and Mood Swings

Menopause brings stress and anxiety to most women. The hormonal imbalances trigger several symptoms that make it difficult for women to keep their anxiety levels under control. However, staying calm and composed is important for your overall well-being in the menopause transition phase.

  • Join Support Groups and Discuss Your Issues with Your Loved Ones

When you have conversations with those facing the same problems as you, it becomes easier to deal with the situation. It also allows for the discussion to become more lighthearted instead of the worries constantly weighing you down. 

I had my girl group in the Zumba class, which I joined in my mid-40s. We danced together, talked it out, and shared our woes and worries. This made things a lot better for me.

  • Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Create a nighttime routine for yourself that allows you to fall asleep easily. Stay away from electronic devices before going to bed, and also avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can impact your sleep. 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also an effective way to deal with sleep disturbances during menopause. However, that’s a big decision to take. It comes with its boons and banes. 

Before zeroing down on HRT, it is always essential to have a word with your doctor and discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of the same. When I had sleep problems, I tried out natural ways. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing helped me immensely.

  • Try Positive Affirmations

Although the affirmations may seem like mere words in the beginning, they hold more power than you realize. The more you keep repeating these powerful statements to yourself, the more improved your mental health becomes. 

This allows you to take the time you need to embrace this transitional period of your life and do things at your own pace. After all, being kind to yourself is the best thing to do, especially during menopause.

  • Change Your Diet and Don’t Indulge in Binge Eating

While it could be tempting to reach for a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream every time the symptoms of menopause get too much to bear, those added calories do you more harm than good in the long run.

Although it may not seem appetizing at that moment, making a salad rich in protein will be much more beneficial for you when it comes to handling menopausal symptoms.

Here’s what you should remember about your diet during menopause:

  • Be sure to incorporate calcium, magnesium, vitamins, and fiber into your daily diet.
  • Use salt and sugar only in moderation.
  • Consume fiber-filled whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, and fruits as much as possible.
  • Reach out for fish oil as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can aid in soothing anxiety and mood swings.

I consciously attempted to do away with most of my cravings. It was not easy, but when I succeeded, I felt great. 

FAQs

1. What are some of the common symptoms of menopause?

A couple of the common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, night sweats, and weight gain.

2. How long do menopausal symptoms last?

The symptoms’ duration, severity, and intensity vary from one woman to another. When one transitions into the postmenopause phase, the symptoms could last anywhere between as few as four years to as many as seven years. In some, it could go up to eleven years as well.

3. What are some of the ways to deal with the symptoms of menopause?

Some of the ways to deal with the symptoms of menopause include exercise, meditation, getting proper sleep, and maintaining a healthy diet.

4. Does exercise help in providing relief from menopausal symptoms?

Yes, exercise does help in providing relief from menopausal symptoms. Exercise may not directly help to lessen menopausal symptoms. However, when you are physically active, you will feel better and less stressed. 
When your anxiety levels are low and you are in a good mood, it will positively impact your overall health.

5. Are there any coping strategies for the emotional and mental menopausal symptoms?

Yes, there are quite a few coping strategies for the emotional and mental menopausal symptoms. Keep yourself physically fit. Yoga and relaxation techniques also help to calm your mind. 
Moreover, do what gives you pleasure. It could be going for a walk in the park, joining a dance or aerobic class, or hanging out with friends at times. When you talk out your woes with like-minded people, it relieves you immensely.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no reason for a woman to feel ashamed by how overwhelming it is to go through menopause. It’s a life-altering event that comes with multiple physical, mental, and emotional changes.

While it may seem daunting at first to experience these symptoms, it’s not at all impossible to deal with them. Different women experience different menopausal symptoms in varying capacities. Therefore, the ways to deal with them differ as well.

For example, while some women exercise, others try meditation and massages. It’s also important to talk to your doctor regarding your symptoms so they can suggest helpful coping strategies to make this transitional period as smooth for you as possible.

References:

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.