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Lifestyle changes can help menopause symptoms

The average healthy woman begins menopause at 51, though some will begin in their 40s or in their late 50s. It’s a natural biological process that marks the time a woman ends her menstrual cycle.

Mood swings, hot flashes and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms that can be effectively managed with hormone therapy. Lifestyle changes also can help.

Hormone therapy might help women who struggle with hot flashes, sleep disruptions and other menopausal symptoms. However, this treatment comes with side effects, and it is not for everybody.

“Many women are not candidates to take hormone therapy, like women who have a diagnosis of breast cancer. But in a woman who’s taking hormone therapy and still having symptoms, lifestyle management can also be effective,” said Dr. Denise Millstine, a physician from Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Health Center.

“Hit the golf course, for instance. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, may help. Women who exercise regularly are healthier overall, and they might be reducing their hot flash burden, as well.”

If you smoke, quit. “Women who smoke have more frequent hot flashes, and they also have more severe hot flashes,” Mill­stine said.

Consider yoga, deep- breathing exercises and massage to relieve stress.

“I will often refer women for a trial of acupuncture to see if that can reduce their hot flash burden, in addition to simple practices like paced breathing or breathing exercises.”

Menopause is a natural stage of aging. See your health care provider if you need help managing your symptoms.

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Jason Howland, Mayo Clinic News Network

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