Once you have not had a period for 1 year, you are no longer at risk of becoming pregnant. Before that, use birth control to prevent pregnancy.
Vaginal dryness may be relieved by using a water-soluble vaginal lubricant during intercourse. Do not use petroleum jelly. Avoid mineral oil, or other oils if you use condoms, as these may damage latex condoms or diaphragms. Over the counter vaginal moisturizers are also available and can help to improve vaginal dryness. Ask your doctor about estrogen creams for the vagina.
Kegel exercises can help with vaginal muscle tone and help you control urine leakage.
Reach out to other people. Find someone you trust (such as a friend, family member, neighbor, or clergy member) who will listen to you and offer support. Often, just talking to someone helps relieve some of the anxiety and stress of menopause.
Get plenty of exercise. It can help you feel healthier and will keep your bones strong.
You need enough calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone thinning (osteoporosis):
You need about 1,200 mg of calcium per day from food sources or supplements. Eat high calcium foods, such as cheese, leafy green vegetables, low-fat milk and other dairy, salmon, sardines, and tofu, or take a calcium supplement. You can make a list of calcium contained in your food to find out how much calcium you usually get from your diet. If you fall below 1,200mg, add a supplement to make up the rest.
You need 800 - 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day. Diet and sunlight provide some, but most menopausal women need to take vitamin D supplements.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements can be taken as separate supplements or combined as one.
If you have a history of kidney stones, talk with your health care provider first.
After menopause, a woman's risk for heart disease and stroke goes up. Ask your doctor about what you should do to control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if you find you are unable to manage your symptoms of menopause with home care only.
Also call your doctor if you have any unusual menstrual bleeding, or if you have any spotting or bleeding at all 1 year or more after your last period.
Daley A, Stokes-Lampard H, Macarthur C. Exercise for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 May 11;5:CD006108.
North American Menopause Society. Estrogen and progestogen use in postmenopausal women: 2010 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2010 Mar;17(2):242-55.
Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.