Tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs

Tobacco. Menopause is an excellent time to stop smoking. Studies show that success rates are higher when smokers quit while going through a life transition. On average, smokers experience menopause two years sooner than non-smokers and are at greater risk of heart disease, lung disease, bone loss, hip fractures, loss of teeth and premature skin aging. Women who smoke through and after menopause (or who use nicotine patches or gum) limit their treatment options. If you smoke and want to stop, your health care provider can give you options.

Alcohol. Research suggests that alcohol consumption can make certain menopause symptoms worse, including hot flashes, sleep disruption and depression. Drinking more than 2 drinks per day, or 10 total per week is of concern. Heavy drinking can contribute to an increased risk of osteoporosis, as it may cause calcium loss and other nutritional deficiencies. It also presents a greater risk of falls and bone fractures associated with unsteady footing.

Caffeine. Too much caffeine can provoke hot flashes and disrupt sleep. By limiting your intake of coffee and tea, you may be able minimize these symptoms.

Other drugs. Misuse of prescription medications and use of illegal drugs by older adults can cause physical and mental health problems, family and social issues, and financial and legal problems. If you have a drug or alcohol use problem, treatment is the same as for younger adults, and typically includes detoxification, medicine, counselling, therapy, and support groups. Talk to your health care provider to find local resources.


Whatever your situation, there are strategies to help you manage the transition.
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