Senior Woman suffering from menopause
Wed. August 23, 2023

Navigating Menopause: A Comprehensive Guide for Today's Women

As women, our bodies undergo numerous transitions throughout our lives. While menopause is a natural and inevitable phase, it’s often accompanied by uncertainties and discomfort. Nellaspec understands this deeply personal journey. 

Our comprehensive guide can help you navigate menopause with ease and provide tips for pelvic exams during menopause. 

Understanding Menopause

Menopause is a period in a woman’s life that signals the end of her reproductive years. This natural process typically occurs by age 52 and involves the gradual stoppage of menstruation. This shift happens because the ovaries produce lower amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

The road to menopause begins with perimenopause, which can span several years. During this phase, menstrual cycles may become irregular, differing by seven or more days each cycle. Most women also experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep problems. 

While this phase can be challenging, understanding and preparation can help ease the transition and make it more manageable.

What are the Symptoms of Menopause?

As you enter perimenopause or menopause, you may experience a wide range of symptoms. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for this natural transition. Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include: 

  • Hot flashes and night sweats: Sudden waves of heat followed by intense sweating.
  • Mood swings: Unexpected shifts in emotions, sometimes accompanied by irritability.
  • Irregular periods: Changes in menstrual cycles, often leading to lighter or heavier bleeding.
  • Sleep disturbances: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
  • Vaginal dryness: Reduced moisture in the vaginal area, leading to discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired, even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Changes in libido: Fluctuations in sexual desire and satisfaction.
  • Memory lapses: Difficulty concentrating and occasional forgetfulness.
  • Weight gain: Gradual increase in weight, particularly around the abdomen.
  • Hair and skin changes: Thinning hair, dry skin and potential increase in facial hair.

Managing Physical and Emotional Changes

Taking a holistic approach to your well-being helps you transition through menopause gracefully. The following treatments and lifestyle changes, such as nurturing your body with a healthy diet and regularly seeing your reproductive health provider, empowers you to proactively manage the physical and emotional changes accompanying this phase of life. 

  • Healthy diet: Prioritize a nutritious diet packed with vibrant fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These wholesome choices provide essential vitamins and minerals to support your body’s changing needs, promoting vitality during menopause.
  • Regular exercise: Engage in consistent physical activity tailored to your preferences, whether invigorating walks, yoga sessions, or dance classes. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and releases endorphins, boosting your mood and reducing stress.
  • Social support: Cultivate a network of understanding friends, family or support groups. Sharing experiences, challenges, and triumphs can provide a strong emotional anchor, helping you navigate the journey with a sense of camaraderie and connection.
  • Hormone therapy: Explore hormone replacement therapy (HRT) options under the guidance of a healthcare professional. HRT can alleviate severe symptoms by restoring hormonal balance, providing relief and improving your quality of life.
  • Pelvic exams: Regular pelvic exams, performed by a caring healthcare provider using a comfortable speculum, are vital to your menopausal well-woman care. These check-ups monitor your vaginal health and help detect potential concerns early, so you can receive treatment and feel your best.

Tips for Menopausal Pelvic Exam

Regular pelvic exams are important in managing your pre- and post-menopausal reproductive health. As your body changes, you may feel more discomfort or anxiety when taking an exam. However, you can take a few steps to make your experience more comfortable and stress-free: 

  • Prioritize comfort: As your body changes, you may want to enhance your comfort during a pelvic exam. Ask your gynecologist about using Nella, a disposable speculum with a light made from comfortable materials that won’t irritate your vaginal canal. 
  • Open communication: The sensations, vulnerabilities and concerns you feel might differ from earlier years. Always communicate with your healthcare provider. If something feels different or uncomfortable, let them know. Discuss using new tools for your exam, such as Nella, a sleek disposable speculum designed with your comfort in mind.
  • Stay regular: Just because you’re menopausal doesn’t mean you should skip your pelvic exams. They’re essential for detecting menstruation-related issues like fibroids, ovarian cysts, or cancer. Plan to visit your GYN every three years until you’re at least 65 for your exam. 
  • Preparation is key: With potential vaginal dryness, the exam might feel different. Consider using a gentle, water-based lubricant before the exam. Also, emptying your bladder beforehand can make the process more comfortable.
  • Relaxation techniques: Understandably, pelvic exams can cause anxiety. Breathing exercises, meditation or simply distracting yourself by thinking of a pleasant memory can help in staying relaxed during the process.

Navigate Menopause With Confidence

By incorporating healthy lifestyle choices, seeking support from loved ones and professionals and staying informed about available treatments and tools, you can navigate this transition with resilience and grace. 

At Nellaspec, we’re committed to empowering you during your menopausal experience. Talk to your provider about Nella and order your comfort kit today to make your next pelvic exam as comfortable as possible.
TAGS: Menopause