menopause ahead signMaybe it's still years away, but many women worry about moving into menopause and what effect it will have on their lives. The good news is that you can do more than just wait for those hot flashes, night sweats and irregular periods to start.

Menopause occurs when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. Perimenopause is the time when symptoms begin, and it can last for five to 10 years.  Your doctor can help you make decisions to ease you through this time, but you can take steps yourself to minimize symptoms later.

Menopause doesn't cause weight gain, but the change in hormones that occurs can make it harder to maintain a normal weight.  To get a head start on controlling weight gain in menopause, try to achieve a healthy weight now. Find an exercise plan that you can stick with and control your calories and food portions if your weight starts to rise.

Estrogen helps a woman's bones stay healthy, and the brittle bone condition known as osteoporosis can occur when estrogen levels drop. You can build stronger bones now by by getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing and resistance exercise can also improve your bone strength. Your doctor can test your bone density now to see if you'll be at higher risk for osteoporosis as you get older.

And if you're a smoker, try to kick the habit soon. Research has linked smoking to earlier menopause and more severe menopause symptoms, and women who smoke may be twice as likely to have hot flashes. If you stop smoking before you start menopause, you can reduce your symptoms.

older woman sleepingIf you're finding it difficult to get enough shut-eye during menopause, you're not alone. About two out of three menopausal women report having trouble sleeping, but there are ways to beat those odds and get a good night's sleep:

talking about your sex lifeWomen's health covers a lot of topics, from fertility to osteoporosis and hot flashes to stretch marks. But the one constant in every phase of a woman's life is her sexuality, and it's a subject that often goes unmentioned in conversations between women and their health care providers.

In a recent survey, less than 10 percent of gynecologists said they spoke to their patients about sexual issues, and only 28 percent offered appointments solely for sexual health problems. The subject of sexual health isn't completely ignored. The Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that gynecologists tend to ask women about their sex lives and sexual health after childbirth, at the start of menopause, following gynecological surgery, or when choosing a new birth control method. Even though sexual problems are regarded as an important issue in gynecological care, the study concluded that addressing a patient's sexuality on a regular basis is still not part of routine practice.

breast rash smSummer heat is here, and along with it comes a problem that many women face when the temperature rises. It's not uncommon for a woman to develop to a skin rash under the breast during hot weather, and it occurs more often as we age. Often, the culprit is moisture from sweat that's trapped under the breast and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and infections.

There are a number of ways to avoid an under-breast rash. You can minimize the moisture by using an antiperspirant under your breasts and on the chest area where they rest. A rash can also be an allergic reaction to a cosmetic or hygiene product you’re using, so try switching soaps or creams that could be causing your breast rash.

woman feet handsWhile that “baby bump” might be the cutest swelling you'll ever see, there's nothing cute about suffering with swollen feet when you're pregnant. The condition, known as edema, occurs when excess fluid collects in your tissue. This is normal during pregnancy because you are retaining more water. Plus, your growing uterus puts pressure on your pelvic veins and slows the return of blood from your legs. This forces fluid from your veins into the tissues of your feet and ankles.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax