5 Remedies for Dry Mouth in Menopause

 

Does your mouth feel like it is stuffed full of cotton?  Are your lips cracked and peeling? Is it difficult to swallow? You are experiencing symptoms of a dry mouth.

When you go through menopause, estrogen dips, and there’s less moisture in the mucous membranes.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to turn things around. Here are 5 remedies for dry mouth in menopause:

Sip Water

Keep a water bottle with you and take small sips throughout the day.

Limit Salty Food

When there isn’t enough lubrication in your mouth, the rough edges of salty foods such as crackers and chips, can cut the inside of your mouth and irritate your tongue.

Humidifier

Set up a humidifier in your bedroom. This adds moisture to dry indoor air, and is very effective for treating dry skin, nose, throat, and lips.

Reduce Caffeine

You may have to say good-bye to those delicious coffee drinks, tea, and soda. Caffeine can cause a dry mouth, but you can try drinking less often, or ordering a smaller cup.

Suck Hard Candy

Sucking hard candy stimulates saliva flow, but try sugarless candy to keep calories in check. I use peppermints, which not only tastes good, but also freshens my breath.

4 Tips to Control Cholesterol in Menopause

Cholesterol is a body fat made by the liver, and is also found in some foods. High cholesterol foods include red meat, dairy, eggs, sausage, bacon, butter, cheese, and pastries.

Factors that influence cholesterol include age, heredity, gender, diet, weight, and stress. A healthy cholesterol level should be under 200mg/dl.

Complications of high cholesterol may include heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease.

Here are 4 tips to control cholesterol in menopause:

Daily Exercise

Aim for 30 minutes a day.  Any kind of exercise will do so feel free to change it up. Walk, dance, rollerblade, shadowbox, bicycle, or play tennis.

Eat More Chicken/Fish

Chicken and fish contain less saturated fat than red meat, and there are so many ways to cook them. Baked chicken can be brushed with barbecue sauce, or use a slow cooker and shred for sandwiches or fajitas.

Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and is so good in fish tacos. Shred some lettuce, cut up some tomatoes, and add your favorite dressing. If you’re in a hurry, pan fry in olive oil.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is often harder than losing it. One thing that helps me is keeping low-calorie snacks on hand.  Eating fresh fruit, string cheese, or veggies keeps me full until the next meal.

Portion control plates are another good weight loss tool. There are 4 sections for protein, veggies, grains, and fruit, that show you exactly how much you should eat.

Reduce Stress

When you’re feeling stressed, take a 5-minute break and take some deep breaths. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage. It not only feels good, but it also relaxes the tissues, which increases the flow of blood and oxygen.

 

 

 

 

Is Your Aching Back Driving You Crazy?

4 Treatments to Reduce Sciatic Pain

I’ve had low back pain for many years, and have managed it well with medication and exercise. A few days ago I felt pain in my back, which radiated through my hips and buttocks, all the way down to my feet. I knew instantly that it was sciatica.

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body and can be caused by age-related changes such as a herniated disk or a bone spur. Other possible causes are obesity, diabetes, or working a sedentary job where you are sitting most of the day.

You’ll need to consult your doctor as soon as possible, but there are some treatments you can do on your own.

Here are four treatments to reduce sciatic pain:

Ice

An ice pack or package of frozen vegetables can help reduce the pain in the first 48 hours. I know in these cold winter months the last thing you feel like doing is sitting  with ice on your back, but if it reduces your pain, it is well worth it.

Apply to the affected areas for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Use a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

Heat

Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the affected areas. Use a low setting and wrap in a thin towel. Heat feels soothing to the skin, and increases blood flow.

Medication

Sciatica can be very painful, so your doctor may prescribe a strong narcotic. Follow the doctor’s instructions because these medications can become addictive. Narcotics can cause nausea, so take it with a meal or snack.

In addition, you ‘ll also need an anti-inflammatory to treat any swollen or inflamed tissues. A muscle relaxer can control painful spasms.

Physical Therapy

Stretching relieves sciatic pain in muscles that are tight and inflexible. Equally important are strength building exercises that support muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the spinal column. This helps prevent future flare-ups.

Work with a physical therapist who can show you the correct way to exercise without hurting yourself. Physical therapy is not an instant fix and it may take 4-6 weeks before you’re pain free.

3 Good Reasons to Have a Pap Smear in Menopause

 

DarkoStojanovic / Pixabay

Remember Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music? One particular favorite was a song about her favorite things. Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens. I don’t think getting a pap smear was included in that list.

You know the drill. You undress from the waist down and put your feet in the stirrups. The doctor then inserts a speculum that opens the vagina, and checks for cervical cancer or infection. If you have vaginal dryness, the test can be painful.

It’s probably not on your top 10 list, but if you want to stay healthy in menopause, you need to schedule an appointment. Here are 3 good reasons to have a pap smear in menopause:

Risk Factors

If you’re HIV positive, receiving chemotherapy, or had an organ transplant, your immune system may be weaker, so having regular pap smears can detect changes before they get out of hand.

Abnormal Pap Smears

Most abnormal pap smears are caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get the HPV if you don’t practice safe sex such as using a condom, or having just one sexual partner. If you smoke and have HPV, you’re more likely to have an abnormal pap smear.

Yeast or bacterial infections can also cause an abnormal pap smear.

Hysterectomy

If you had a total hysterectomy (removal of cervix and ovaries), most doctors still encourage you to schedule regular pap smears. This is particularly important if you’ve had a history of cervical or other uterine cancers, because you’re still at risk for vaginal cancer.

Even if your doctor doesn’t think you need pap smears, he may suggest you schedule annual pelvic exams.

 

4 Benefits of Strength Training in Menopause

 

 

I’m always interested in better health, and this timely article from the Mayo Clinic outlines the benefits of strength training for women. Strength training puts stress on your bones, and you don’t have to work out at the gym. Exercises such as leg and abdominal squats, push-ups, and pull-ups can be done at home at your convenience. Most sporting goods stores sell resistance tubing for stretching exercises.

If you prefer working out at the gym, use weight machines or lift barbells or dumbbells. Ask one of the personal trainers for a fitness evaluation.

Here are 4 benefits of strength training in menopause:

Weight Control

Strength training kicks up your metabolism, which helps drop the pounds. If you’re at your goal weight, strength training can help you maintain your weight loss and build up muscle mass.

Stronger bones

Osteoporosis leads to brittle bones and you can experience a fracture from a sneeze, or even bending over. Strength training increases bone density, reducing your chances of developing osteoporosis.

Improve Chronic Diseases

Strengthening painful, arthritic muscles improves both your health and mood. Weight loss benefits diabetics, and results in better blood sugar control. Low back pain is common in menopause, and strengthening the muscles around the spine reduces pain, and you can do more things you enjoy.

Reduce Falls

Balance becomes an issue as you age, and falls are more likely. I was a caregiver for an elderly woman who fractured her hip, and had to move to a nursing home. Building muscle with strength training helps your balance, and gives you a better quality of life.

 

5 Drawbacks of Working at Home

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You may prefer to work at home, and it’s more relaxing to go at your own pace. I’m sure you won’t miss the drama of office politics, and getting rid of that stressful commute.

However, in exchange for your newfound freedom, you’ll have to decide whether you are willing to make do with less, and a more uncertain future.

Here are 5 drawbacks to working at home:

Less Pay/Benefits

Many work at home jobs start at your state’s minimum wage. In many cases, you are considered an independent contractor instead of an employee, so the company doesn’t have to offer benefits. It’s possible to make enough money to support yourself, but you may need more than one job or a spouse who works full-time.

Easier Termination

When you fill out your employment paperwork, there is usually a box to check that your employer can terminate you for any reason or no reason at all. It’s easier for your employer to send a termination email rather than meet with you face to face.

Noise

When you’re on the phone with customers, you may be required to purchase a headset and a noise cancelling microphone. This will block out the worst of the noise, but these calls are recorded, so if you have background noise like kids running through the house or a loud TV, you may lose your job.

Personal Calls/Visits

For some reason your friends think that since you are working from home, you are free to drop everything and go shopping, out to lunch, or see a movie. Set strict boundaries and let them know what hours you are working, and you are not to be disturbed.

Distractions

Since you’re working at the computer, it’s easy to sneak a peek at Facebook, or play a quick game on your iPhone. You remember you have some cookies or snack food in the kitchen, and suddenly you have the munchies.

Schedule Facebook and game playing for after work. Protein snacks such as a handful of nuts, or a piece of string cheese can get you through the 3:00 slump.

 

5 Good Reasons To Work From Home

stokpic / Pixabay

 

When I was still in the workforce 12 years ago, I had never heard of someone working from home. Of course I knew your job might let you telecommute from home a day or two a week, but when I found out that there are jobs that are totally home-based, I decided that was for me.

There are definite perks to working from home, and once you try it, it you may never look back.

Here are 5 good reasons to work from home:

No Stressful Commute

It’s hard enough getting your family dressed, fed, and out the door, without dealing with the crazy people you meet on the road. Now, you take a few steps to your home office, turn on the computer, sit in a comfy chair, and begin your day.

No Dress Code

I was always a fan of casual Fridays because I could exchange my stuffy work wardrobe for a comfy pair of jeans and sneakers. Now, casual day is every day and I can dress in whatever I want.

No Angry Boss

Many days you arrive at work in a good mood, and that quickly evaporates when the boss starts breathing down your neck about one thing or another.

Now, the boss is still there, but you communicate more by phone and email. If something makes you angry, you have time to cool off, and give a proper response.

Easier Problem Solving

You know how it is when something breaks down and you call the repairman. Most companies give a four-hour window, so you have to take off work and wait for them to show up.

If your children get sick at school, you don’t have to get permission to leave. Now, you can pick them up and take care of their needs at home.

More Stretch Breaks

I noticed when I was going in to the office, that I would get so involved in what I was doing, that i didn’t realize I was hunched up over the computer, and straining my back and neck.

Now, when the need arises, I take a short walk through the house, or do some stretching exercises at the desk.

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance in Menopause

 

White77 / Pixabay

It’s getting a lot more difficult to balance work obligations with family life. Companies are keeping later hours and workers may find themselves scheduled for different shifts.

The trick is to use time more efficiently and free up extra hours for activities you enjoy. Here are 4 Tips to Achieve Work/Life Balance in Menopause:

Work with Your Body Clock

What time a day are you most productive? Do you prefer working in the morning or are you a night owl? If you’re a morning person and your company allows flex time, start work earlier, and avoid the worst of the commute home. This will free up more time in your day.

Start with the biggest projects first while you’re the most energetic. After lunch, you may feel less energetic, so this is a good time to do simpler things like returning phone calls and answering emails.

Bring Your Lunch

It’s a nice treat to sit down to a good meal away from the office, but if you count up how many minutes it takes you to get there and back, order, wait for the food to be prepared, and eat, you’ve wasted a good chunk of time. As an added bonus, bringing your lunch allows you to pack in nutrition and keep an eye on portion size.

Relocate Nearer to Work

It isn’t easy to just sell your house, and buy another one. Plus, you may be happy right where you are, and the kids may be in a good school district. It’s also nice to be closer to your church and shopping.

However, relocating has its benefits, and cutting your commute time down to 10-15 minutes, will free up another hour or two for things you enjoy. Add up this savings by the week, and you can come up with an extra 10 hours.

Schedule Family Time

As the old saying goes, there is a time for work and a time for play, so schedule time to do family activities. If you have weekends off, put away your phone and tablet, and take a family trip. If the budget is tight, trips to the park, beach, or a children’s museum let kids work off that energy without breaking the bank.

If you work weekends, plan family game nights. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it together.

 

 

 

Life Lessons in Big Mistakes

 

Now that I am more settled in my life, I look back at things that I did in my younger years and can hardly believe that I survived and lived to tell the tale. One experience comes to mind and it certainly proves the old adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I was always a late bloomer and didn’t graduate from college until I was 28. One day I noticed a small notice on the college bulletin board for a job at a high school academy in the central part of the United States. Ok, I would need a job, but when I noticed the pay was $60 a month plus free room and board, I thought it must have been a typo. Nope, that was correct and I decided to apply.

I was soon winging my way into my new life, and arrived at my destination. I would stay in the girl’s dorm and be responsible for cooking breakfast, helping with lunch, and making homemade bread and cinnamon rolls by the truckload. I found out that rats are also fond of cinnamon rolls, and were usually on hand when I rolled my cart into the closet.

It didn’t take long to find out working with teens was not my specialty, and the freezing cold temperatures made me long for some good California sunshine. When the principal called to see how things were going, I asked if we could talk ASAP. I started to cry and told him this was a big mistake. I didn’t like working with teens, the weather sucked, and I must have been temporarily insane to even consider taking this position.

Once I ground to a sobbing halt, he just sat there looking at me, and finally decided that a good old pull yourself up by your bootstraps speech was just what I needed.

So I began my routine and had to start breakfast at 4:30 am. We served cafeteria style and it was an all you can eat affair. When you’re flipping flapjacks and serving teenage boys, there was not a moment to spare.

After lunch, I was free for the day. My one saving grace was that there was a Dairy Queen about a half mile up the road and many a day I was there drowning my sorrows in a veggie burger and Peanut Buster Parfait.

Things were going along swimmingly until the sewer pipe in the dorm burst and I think you have a good idea of what that looked like. I did the 50-yard dash to the principal’s house to pour out my tale of woe, but he was busy watching a football game. He told me it couldn’t be that bad, stop being a drama queen, and shut the door in my face.

I then moved to the boy’s dorm and even got my own TV, so I guess something good did come out of this unfortunate incident. I finished up my term and even ended up staying a few months longer.

The moral of this story is that you are stronger than you think, and there are important life lessons to be learned even in the bad times.

 

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals in Menopause

 

What are your goals this year? Do you want to lose 10 pounds, change careers, travel to Europe, or just spend more time with family?

According to a surprising study conducted by the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans set up New Year’s goals, but only 8% are successful.

Here are 5 keys to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals in menopause:

Specific

There is no doubt when you reach your goal. Example: My goal is to fly to Italy.

Measurable

Can your goal be measured? Let’s use the example above. Will your goal be met when you land at the airport, or when you have explored the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Florence Cathedral?

Achievable

Can you achieve your goals with your current skillset, or will you have to take a class, find a mentor, relocate, or make extra money?

Realistic

How realistic is your goal? If you’re flying to Italy this month, and your bank account is overdrawn, you have a big problem. A more realistic goal would be to budget a certain amount each month until you have the necessary funds.

Timely

Set a date that you want to reach your goal. Example: I will fly to Italy by September 30, 2016. If you have not reached your goal by the date you set, don’t get discouraged. Celebrate your progress so far and keep moving forward.