Tips for Dealing with Menopausal Symptoms

Many women who undergo treatment for breast cancer experience menopausal symptoms. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery can affect the amount of estrogen in the body, causing a temporary or permanent menopause-like state. Other women are in menopause while going through treatment. Here are some tips to handling menopause side effects, whether you experience them as a result of your cancer treatment or not:

Mood swings
Ease your stress levels by staying physically active and getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This will help you to avoid mood swings and feel better while experiencing the effects of menopause.

Vaginal dryness
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends using a water-based lubricant when participating in sexual activities to make yourself more comfortable and avoid pain that can be caused by vaginal dryness. There are also vaginal moisturizers available for use several times a week for a more natural feel.

Hot flashes
It is common for women to experience hot flashes when undergoing breast cancer treatment. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of being very warm, often accompanied by sweating and anxiety. Many women find they have certain triggers that cause hot flashes, such as being in a tight space or having a moment of stress. Keep an electric fan on hand for these occasions. Dressing in layers is also very helpful so that you can shed clothing when hot and then put it on again when the symptom passes. Some patients find they have hot flashes while sleeping. These are known as night sweats. Dress in layers and keep your bedroom set to a cooler temperature than the rest of your home. You may find you have fewer hot flashes and are waking up less frequently once you've adjusted your thermostat. 

Talk with your doctor if you find your menopause symptoms are greatly affecting your quality of life. He or she may have suggestions of ways to modify your lifestyle or potential medicines to lessen the effects while still treating your breast cancer.

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