Insight, Information, Inspiration

Questions & Answers

Dr. Seibel is happy to answer your questions about menopause and its symptoms. Browse through our Q&A and post your own in the form in the sidebar.

  • Q

    I’m 49 and started having acne like I had at puberty. Is this normal?

    Brenda
    A

    Acne around the time of menopause is common. It may be a sign of increased production of testosterone or other hormonal changes that are going on in your body. Simple things to try include washing your face daily with warm water and a mild facial soap and exfoliate your facial skin once each week. Avoid moisturizers, sunscreens and cleansers that don’t say “oil free,” “won’t clog pores,” and “noncomedogenic.” If acne persists, talk about it with your doctor.


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  • Q

    What is a HbA1Cc test? 

    Lauren
    A

    A blood test to screen for diabetes. It shows the average blood sugar over the last 3 months.
    Normal: < 5.7%
    Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
    Diabetes: ≥ 6.5%
    Normal values vary slightly among lab.


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  • Q

    What foods can increase my hot flashes?

    Arlene
    A

    If you are struggling with hot flashes, avoid hot foods, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine. Keeping a diary of what triggers your hot flashes will help you find any other foods as well.


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  • Q

    My family has a strong history of Alzheimer’s disease. Is there anything I can do to lower my risk?

    Anna
    A

    Alzheimer’s affects between 15% and 40% of the population, depending on which age groups and locations are studied. You can slow down your genetic risk for the disease by keeping your brain active with mental activities like reading, puzzles and learning new things. Regular exercise is also very important as is eating 4-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and 2-3 servings of fish weekly. In addition, not smoking and controlling your weight can help. Obesity increases your risk of Alzheimer’s.


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  • Q

    Since menopause I’ve struggled with constipation. How can I make this better?

    Alice
    A

    Constipation is very common, affecting up to half the population at some point in their lives. Things that help are drinking at least one quart of water daily more than you currently are drink. Another is to eat 6 to 12 prunes daily. Get plenty of fiber in your diet – about 25 grams daily. Plant foods are a great source and foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, corn, snap beans, asparagus, beans, peas, lima beans, soybeans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, artichokes, berries, whole wheat flour, barley, bulgur, cornmeal, bran and whole wheat are particularly good sources. Daily exercise also keeps your bowels active and prevents constipation. Finally, be sure to look at any medications you are taking such as pain meds and calcium supplements because they can slow the bowels down as can a low thyroid hormone. Talk with your doctor. You should be able to find a solution and maybe even the source of the problem.


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  • Q

    I’m 59 years old. My urine started burning and I also lose some urine when I cough and sneeze. My internist did a urine analysis and it is normal. I am worried about the burning. I don’t take any estrogen.

    Leslie
    A

    Many times when women do not take estrogen the vaginal tissues shrink and leave the tip of the urethra – the tube that leads urine out from the bladder – exposed to clothing and bacteria. And that can increase the risk of both irritation and bladder infections. It may also make you feel like to have to urinate more often. You may also have some stress incontinence – loss of urine with coughing or sneezing. Local estrogen can be helpful. Talk with a menopause specialist or a urogynecologist. They will likely be able to help you.


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  • Q

    I’m 60 and went through menopause at age 53. I’m on estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. I started having palpitations and some shortness of breath a month ago. Is this a normal part of menopause?

    Connie
    A

    Palpitations are a common part of perimenopause and menopause and usually are not a problem. They typically go away with estrogen or with time. But your palpitations started just a month ago and you also have shortness of breath. For that reason, I suggest you talk with your internist to see if there is a problem with your heart rhythm. You might be asked to wear a monitor for several days to measure your heart rate and rhythm around the clock so a single EKG does not miss a potential problem.


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  • Q

    Do glucosamine and chondroitin help arthritis?

    Louise
    A

    Though many people find them helpful, results are mixed and seem better for severe pain than mild pain. Try it for 3 months; if it doesn’t help, talk with your doctor.


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  • Q

    Which vitamins do you recommend?

    Nancy
    A

    In general, a multivitamin and 1,000 mg of calcium and omega 3s daily are the basic three for menopause. But always check with your doctor; there may be reasons not to take these are to include others such as vitamin 25 OH vitamin D.


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  • Q

    What is the best way to get more fiber in my diet?

    Roxanne
    A

    Most Americans don’t get enough fiber – only 15 grams of dietary fiber instead of the recommendation of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Plant foods like vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans (all kinds), peas, soybeans, chickpeas and fruits are great sources. Avoid refined grains like white pasta, white rice and white flour. Soluble fiber, found in oatmeal, oat bran, lentils, seeds, apples and berries help lower LDL or bad cholesterol, regulate your blood sugar and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Insoluble fiber, found in brown rice, whole grains, barley, zucchini, green beans, and dark leafy vegetables help keep you regular so you don’t get constipated.


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