Special Health Reports

Menopause and Perimenopause: Taking charge of the transition


Menopause and Perimenopause: Taking charge of the transition

Perimenopause is the long transition that precedes menopause. During this stage, your periods may become irregular and you may experience hot flashes and other changes.There are many things you can do to get through “the change” in the best shape possible. This guide will help you better understand the biological factors that underlie perimenopause and menopause and the symptoms you may experience. We’ll provide options on how to manage this change and offer advice about steps you can take now to ensure your long-term health.

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Menopause is not an illness, or a phase you simple have to endure. With the right information you can make some simple choices that will usher you into an exciting new chapter in life, filled with joy and great health.

So, whether you’re experiencing the first signs of perimenopause or are well into menopause, there are things you can do right now to relieve the symptoms and protect your health.

To help you understand the changes that are taking place in your body and how they affect your health, the experts from Harvard Medical School created an online guide you can download right now called, Menopause and Perimenopause: Take charge of the transition.

From the very first page, you’ll discover how to ease hot flashes, sleep better, avoid weight gain, prevent bone loss and protect your heart health with the expert information you’ll find.

Download your report right now and discover:

  • How lower estrogen levels may increase your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis and what you can do

  • How to help stop bladder leaks! You can do more than just Kegel exercises.

  • Foods that can help protect your heart during and after menopause

  • Strategies to help boost your memory power

  • Why your risk of heart disease can quadruple after menopause and simple steps to prevent problems

  • And so much more.

You can uncover these tips and more right now with Harvard Health Publishing’s Menopause and Perimenopause, Take charge of the transition. You’ll get an expert overview about the natural process of menopause, and what to expect as estrogen begins to wane. It is important to understand, because the decline of estrogen that leads to the end of your period, affects your whole body. For example, are you worried about:

Annoying hot flashes? Find 5 proven ways to help relieve the sudden “burn” that creeps from your chest to your face or wakes you with night sweats. Turn to page 10 and you’ll even get a breathing technique that can reduce the number of hot flashes!

Vaginal dryness? Learn about 3 natural lubricants that can help ease the discomfort and even prescription therapies that use estrogen to help restore moisture. Turn to page 16 to decide what’s right for you.

Osteoporosis? Slow down bone loss and help build bone with the three simple exercises described on page 21.

Problems Sleeping? Before you reach for sleep medicines try the 6 tips on page 11 that can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Weight gain? Learn why you might suddenly start to put on pounds even though you’re not eating more. Page 19 reveals the best ways to control your weight after menopause.

For every worry you have and every challenge you’ve heard menopause will bring, you’ll find practical tips and solutions to relieve the signs and symptoms of menopause.

You’ll see how to get and stay fit, maintain your memory, improve sleep, prevent or ease incontinence, cope with stress, and so much more.

It’s time to bust the myths of menopause and feel your best!

Stop worrying about the unknown, and alleviate unwanted symptoms. At any stage and age, you can improve your health and well-being with the expert advice from Harvard Medical School.

Download this special report now and you too can have fewer hot flashes, better sex, deeper sleep, less weight gain and greater happiness. And, because it’s from Harvard Health Publishing, you know you can trust every word.

See for yourself how Menopause and Perimenopause, Take charge of the transition can help you feel as healthy and vibrant as ever. Here’s to opening a new chapter in your life, with less worry and greater health and new possibilities!

Prepared by the editors of Harvard Health Publishing in conjunction with Toni Golen, MD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School and Medical Director, Labor and Delivery and Post Partum, and Vice Chair, Quality, Safety, and Performance Improvement, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2019)

About Harvard Medical School Guides

Harvard Medical School Guides delivers compact, practical information on important health concerns. These publications are smaller in scope than our Special Health Reports, but they are written in the same clear, easy-to-understand language, and they provide the authoritative health advice you expect from Harvard Health Publishing.

Coping with vaginal dryness

Most women are able to use a few home remedies or prescription medicines to alleviate vaginal dryness that may develop during menopause. If these first steps don’t work, you have other options.

Vaginal moisturizers
These products, available over the counter, contain ingredients that help the vagina retain moisture. Typical brand names include Replens and K-Y vaginal moisturizer. Depending on the product, you may insert these into the vagina using an applicator several times a week, or you may rub the moisturizer into your vaginal lining as you would apply lotion to the rest of your skin. Check the instructions for details.

Vaginal lubricants
Lubricants don’t moisturize the vagina but temporarily make it more slippery, which reduces friction and makes intercourse easier and less painful. Look for over-the-counter products containing water or silicone that are marketed as vaginal lubricants. Typical brand names include K-Y lubricant and Astroglide. Natural lubricants such as coconut oil, olive oil, and peanut oil can also work, as can petroleum jelly, baby oil, and mineral oil. However, these natural and oil-based lubricants can damage condoms and increase your risk of pregnancy (if you still menstruate) and sexually transmitted diseases.

Vaginal estrogen 
The most effective treatment for vaginal dryness is low-dose estrogen delivered directly to the vagina, available by prescription in different formulations. Estrogen creams are inserted into the vagina with an applicator. Brand names include Estrace, Ogen, and Premarin. Instructions vary, so follow the schedule for the product you use.

Another option is Estring, a flexible ring inserted into the vagina every three months. The ring gradually releases estrogen into the vagina. (This is not the same as Femring, which releases much higher doses of estrogen for treatment of hot flashes.) A small tablet, Vagifem, is inserted into the vagina and absorbed gradually. This is done every night for two weeks, and then twice a week afterwards.

All of these products contain a small amount of estrogen that is absorbed through the skin of the vagina. However, they do not contain as much estrogen as that in hormone replacement therapy, so you don’t have to worry about an increased risk of blood clots, breast cancer, and heart attacks. Even so, there are risks you should be aware of.

In theory, the use of vaginal estrogen can increase risk of endometrial cancer in a woman who has a uterus. (Estrogen stimulates growth of cells in the uterine lining.) However, because little of the estrogen is absorbed into the bloodstream, the risk is very small. However, if you spot blood while taking vaginal estrogen, contact your doctor immediately, as this may be a sign that cancer has developed. And if you have had breast cancer, ask your gynecologist if vaginal estrogen is safe for you, as even a small amount of estrogen that enters your bloodstream may increase the risk that the cancer will come back.


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