Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 53


J

oAnn Pinkerton, MD, is direc-
tor of UVA Midlife Health. She
serves as executive director for
the North American Menopause
Society (NAMS) and has been recognized
as one of U.S. News & World Report's best
doctors in America for five years in a row.
Pinkerton is passionate about women's
health and believes that menopause can
be more than just tolerable. It can be an
enjoyable time in every woman's life.

"As women, we're all going to go
through menopause at one point or
another," Pinkerton says. "It doesn't
have to be something you dread.
There is so much we can do to alle-
viate symptoms and take care of our-
selves during this time. We've looked
at all the data, and we now know
that hormone therapies are safe and
effective. With the right informa-
tion and the willingness to have an

honest conversation with your doctor,
every woman can get through meno-
pause gracefully."
Hormone therapy is just one of many
tools in the menopause survival kit.
Pinkerton recommends taking a holistic
approach to menopause and working
closely with your doctor to create a care
plan that fits your lifestyle. Follow her
10 tips to nurture mind, body and spirit
through menopause.

JOANN PINKERTON'S 10 TIPS FOR NAVIGATING MENOPAUSE

1

5

2

6

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Women often find themselves
caught between raising a family and seeing their children
off to college, taking care of aging parents, managing their
careers and maintaining healthy relationships.
To avoid burnout, make self-care a priority and schedule time
for exercise and friends, as well as "me time." Use this time for
meditation, mindfulness, yoga, prayer, reflection or just sitting and
enjoying the sunset.

EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE. Because your metabolism slows down at menopause, you'll gain weight unless
you change your lifestyle. So eat less, eat healthy (the
Mediterranean diet is a good choice) and schedule time to exercise.
No time for the gym? Jump-start your day with seven minutes of
vigorous aerobic exercise in the morning. Then, incorporate highintensity activities throughout the day in five- to 10-minute bursts.
"You might not have time for a 30-minute workout in the evening," Pinkerton says, "but chances are you can make time for three
10-minute workouts throughout the day. Break it down into what
you can do."

3
4

SLEEP AT LEAST SEVEN HOURS EVERY NIGHT. Burning
the candle at both ends not only zaps energy, but it also makes
you feel less focused and less productive and increases the
risk of Alzheimer's disease.
DON'T FEAR HORMONES. Hormone therapies have
come a long way in the past decade. If you're younger than
60 or within 10 years of menopause and you have bothersome hot flashes, hormones can quell those symptoms while
protecting your bones-and it might even benefit your heart
and brain.
A word of warning: Avoid compounded hormones, as these are
not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you want to treat your symptoms naturally, some safe and
effective nonhormonal alternatives include FDA-approved low-dose
antidepressants, clinical hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Talk to your doctor about your options, and ask questions.

These tips first appeared in the North American Menopause Society's blog MenoPause on
March 29, 2016. For more information about menopause, visit menopause.org.

KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIP HEALTHY WITH
INTIMACY. Sexual intimacy with or without intercourse is
important. Painful intercourse can make you avoid sex, which
puts your relationship at risk. If sex is painful, talk to your partner
and your healthcare provider. If lubricants and moisturizers aren't
working, ask your doctor if low-dose vaginal estrogen might be a
safe and effective option for you.

IF YOU JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT SEX ANYMORE,
TALK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. No longer
being interested in sex can be detrimental to your relationship and could be a result of medications, stress, overwork, fatigue
or other fixable causes. Make a list of all of your concerns and go
through each one with your healthcare provider.

7
8

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. Keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, bone density and risk for heart disease and breast cancer. Knowing your numbers can help you
head off potential problems with lifestyle changes or medications.
GET REGULAR EXAMS. Keep up with mammograms and
Pap and HPV tests. The UVA Midlife Health Center brings
together specialists in endocrinology, cardiology, mammography and more so that you can get all of the care you need in one
convenient location.

9

KNOW THE SIGNS OF DEPRESSION. Seek help if you feel
overwhelmed, isolated, guilty, sad or depressed every day
for two weeks; if you overeat or lose your appetite; or if you
sleep excessively. Try "walk and talk" therapy with friends, or talk to
a counselor. Don't be afraid to take the appropriate medication to
help yourself through a tough time.

10

GET ENOUGH CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D.
Eat calcium-rich foods and spend some time in the sunshine to protect your bones. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor about how much you should supplement.
Too much calcium can increase your risk of clogged arteries, so talk
to your doctor about how much calcium you should be getting. n
WINTE R 2016

53


http://www.menopause.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia

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