Menopausal Baggage

07/17/2012 10:49 am ET | Updated Sep 16, 2012
  • Ellen Dolgen Outspoken women’s health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker

Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray said it best in What About Bob?: Take "a vacation from your problems." As much as I love that movie and as much as I wish that was always possible, I have a feeling that if Bob were a 40-something, perimenopausal woman, that line would be quite different.

Preparation for a Healthy Life Trip
The summer season is full of "Bobs" traveling from point A to B, looking to take some time off, enjoy the heat and relax. If Bob were a woman in perimenopause or menopause (Paula or Madeline?), she wouldn't be able to take a vacation from her symptoms without being proactive. Most of us spend weeks and weeks preparing for our trips. We research, Google, Facebook and become all "aTwitter" about where to go, what to eat, what sites to see and what to wear. On this year's vacation, remember to put yourself on the top of your to-do list. Spend some time getting your perimenopause and menopause ready to go on your trip so that you can have a great time, sans the meltdown. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the over 34 perimenopause and menopause symptoms. Start charting your symptoms in your Menopause Symptoms Chart and find a perimenopause and menopause specialist with whom you can discuss these issues openly and honestly. Find hormone happiness before you leave! Act now!

Adjusting to the Weather
Hot flashes and night sweats are very common symptoms of perimenopause. On road trips, you may still be hot in twenty-degree air conditioning and on airplanes, you have to try to aim that tiny spout right at your forehead to even get a whisper of relief. Traveling by plane, train or automobile, your body temperature isn't as easy to control as an adjustable thermostat. Wouldn't that be nice if we could just turn ourselves down a few degrees when needed? Well, products like the Kool Tool towel can help you manage your hot flashes. Just wet, wring and snap, and it'll stay cool for hours!

Unless you're going to Australia or either of the poles, you're likely to remain hot on your summer vacation. Of course, your idea of an arctic vacation could be standing in front of an open refrigerator. If you're in perimenopause, you've probably been in your own personal summer since the dead of winter. There's nothing fun about waking up in a pool of sweat, and hot flashes and night sweats can make your beach vacation a little, um, swampy. Beat the heat and the sweat and pack your easy, breezy, natural fiber clothing that will wick away your perspiration and leave you well-rested for a day of exploring or relaxing.

Spicing Up Your Getaway
When I first entered perimenopause, I was shocked by the fact that my shmirshky had taken its own personal trip to the Sahara Desert. It didn't matter whether I was on my summer vacation -- my shmirshky was dry, uncomfortable and sex was painful. Vacations are about letting loose and enjoying your time away from responsibilities and daily stress, and a parched shmirshky makes you feel anything but sexy and amorous. There are lots of great options on the market for relieving the discomfort and bringing fun back to the bedroom (or wherever else the mood strikes you). You can speak to your perimenopause and menopause expert about bio-identical hormone replacement options, taken transdermally or vaginally. (Learn your HRT's! Check the additional resources section at the end of this post.) These can offer more long-term, ongoing relief. Lubes are a great topical choice for achieving temporary relief. Water-soluble lubricants allow latex condoms to stay intact, while non-water-soluble lubricants can weaken them. If you're looking for a non-hormonal, more long-term solution, there are products that will not only moisturize your shmirshky, but help rebuild the vaginal walls. The shmirshky desert becomes a supple and moist oasis!

Find hormone happiness before you leave! Act now so that you can enjoy vacation, and your vacation will be more What About Betty?

You deserve it!

Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!

Share your experience by commenting below: Have hormones ever ruined a trip? How do you plan to keep the fun in your vacation this summer?

Additional resources:

When Sex Gives More Pain than Pleasure, by Harvard Health Publications, msn Health.
• Menopause Mondays: Time for a Lube Job!
• Menopause Mondays: Understanding Hormone Replacement Therapy

Ellen Dolgen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a regular guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and KSWB Fox 5 Morning News San Diego. When Ellen isn't promoting women's health and wellness, she's busy trying her best not to eat all the ice cream in the freezer.

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