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A Smartypants Scientist Makes An Easy Analogy About Our Planet, And Now I'm Scared

A good analogy can go a long way. What's great about this clip is that it starts out all cheery and hypothetical. Then here comes the punch line and BAM you're sort of kind of terrified. I know I am.

We've got your attention, so let's note that population growth hasn't been perfectly exponential everywhere on the planet. But growth has without a doubt been explosive, and that means our planet is at risk. We have to do something about this.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Health

Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?



Psychologist and speaker Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling as we close out 2022, and it makes perfect sense.

In a post on Facebook, she wrote:

"A gentle reminder about why you are utterly exhausted…

No one I know began this year on a full tank. Given the vicious onslaught of the previous two years (let’s just call it what it was) most of us dragged ourselves across the finish line of 2021… frazzled, spent, running on aged adrenaline fumes…

We crawled into 2022 still carrying shock, trauma, grief, heaviness, disbelief… The memories of a surreal existence…

And then it began… The fastest hurricane year we could ever have imagined. Whether we have consciously processed it or not, this has been a year of more pressure, more stress, and a race to 'catch up' in all departments… Every. Single. One. Work, school, sports, relationships, life…

Though not intentionally aware, perhaps hopeful that the busier we are, the more readily we will forget… the more easily we will undo the emotional tangle… the more permanently we will wipe away the scarring wounds…

We can’t.

And attempts to re-create some semblance of 'normal' on steroids while disregarding that for almost two years our sympathetic nervous systems were on full alert, has left our collective mental health in tatters. Our children and teens are not exempt. The natural byproduct of fighting a hurricane is complete and utter exhaustion…

So before you begin questioning the absolutely depleted and wrung-dry state you are in- Pause. Breathe. Remind yourself of who you are and what you have endured. And then remind yourself of what you have overcome.

Despite it all, you’re still going. (Even on the days you stumble and find yourself face down in a pile of dirt).

Understanding brings compassion… Most of the world’s citizens are in need of a little extra TLC at the moment. Most are donning invisible 'Handle with care' posters around their necks and 'Fragile' tattoos on their bodies…

Instead of racing to the finish line of this year, tread gently.

Go slowly. Amidst the chaos, find small pockets of silence. Find compassion. Allow the healing. And most of all… Be kind. There’s no human being on earth who couldn’t use just a little bit more of the healing salve of kindness."

Putting it like that, of course we're exhausted. We're like a person who thinks they're feeling better at the end of an illness so they dive fully back into life, only to crash mid-day because their body didn't actually have as much energy as their brain thought it did. We tried to fling ourselves into life, desperate to feel normal and make up for lost time, without taking the time to fully acknowledge the impact of the past two years or to fully recover and heal from it.

Of course, life can't just stop, but we do need to allow some time for our bodies, minds and spirits to heal from what they've been through. The uncertainty, the precariousness of "normal," the after-effects of everything that upended life as we knew it are real. The grief and trauma of those who have experienced the worst of the pandemic are real. The overwhelm of our brains and hearts as we try to process it all is real.

So let's be gentle with one another and ourselves as we roll our harried selves into another new year. We could all use that little extra measure of grace as we strive to figure out what a true and healthy "normal" feels like.

You can follow Naomi Holdt on Facebook.


This article originally appeared on 12.23.22

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Wellness

The calm after the storm: how CBD creams are changing pain management

Revolutionizing pain relief: How CBD creams offer natural, effective management

woman in white knit sweater sitting on white sofa

The world of pain management is changing quickly, and it's largely thanks to the benefits CBD cream offers. CBD cream is formulated with hemp oil and is applied topically to penetrate the skin and ease pain and swelling caused by arthritis, orthopedic injuries, or muscle overuse. Whether you're trying to avoid prescription pain relievers or are looking for a more natural and effective topical pain product, CBD creams are well worth considering.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant and hemp plant. Unlike THC, it’s non-psychoactive and won’t make you feel high. CBD has a long list of potential benefits, including relaxation and sleep support.

This compound is used to make various hemp products, including gummies, drinks, and CBD oil. CBD cream is the unsung hero of hemp products, and it can help to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Unlike oral CBD oil, which provides general pain relief, CBD cream is applied topically and delivers targeted relief where it’s needed most. CBD oil, cream, and other infused products are federally legal if they’re derived from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC based on dry weight.

Topical cannabis cream doesn’t enter the bloodstream, so even if a product is made with full-spectrum hemp extract and contains traces of THC, it won’t cause you to fail a drug test. Many customers use topical CBD daily and applaud its effectiveness, saying it relieves discomfort and swelling.

Potential Benefits of CBD Creams and Lotions

Here's a closer look at the key health benefits people often experience with hemp topicals.

Pain Relief

CBD topicals may relieve both chronic and acute pain. People with arthritis often apply CBD cream to their joints, with many users claiming noticeable relief and improved mobility within minutes of application.

Athletes use topical CBD products to relieve muscle pain after difficult workouts. CBD can also aid in recovery, allowing athletes to train harder and longer with shorter recovery periods in between.

If you have an acute injury, such as a sprained ankle or stress fracture, applying CBD cream to the affected area may provide relief. People who prefer to avoid prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers often find topical CBD to be an effective, natural, non-addictive alternative.

Reduced Inflammation

Hemp cream not only relieves pain but also reduces swelling. Pain and swelling often go hand-in-hand, especially with chronic conditions like arthritis. By alleviating inflammation, topical CBD could further ease pain and enhance mobility.

CBD's anti-inflammatory properties make it a good remedy for migraines and headaches, which often have an inflammatory component. Applying hemp cream to the forehead and neck can lessen inflammation, reducing nerve pressure and minimizing the severity and frequency of headaches and migraines.

Softer, Healthier Skin

Most CBD creams are formulated to be gentle and suitable for sensitive skin. They contain ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and essential fatty acids with moisturizing and anti-aging properties. As such, you may notice an improvement in skin health after using a CBD topical like cream or CBD oil lotion. Some brands even make specialized CBD creams to help manage rosacea and other skin conditions.

Stress Relief

Physical discomfort can lead to stress, and high stress levels can further exacerbate pain. CBD cream works to soothe both pain and stress simultaneously.

CBD topicals made with full-spectrum hemp extract typically contain additional active hemp compounds. These compounds—including terpenes, THC, and minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBG—work in conjunction with CBD to assist with stress relief. So, if you're seeking to manage both pain and stress, be sure to look for CBD cream made with full-spectrum hemp extract.

Better Sleep

Many people take CBD oil before bedtime for sleep support, but CBD topicals can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. They’re especially helpful if your discomfort frequently keeps you awake. Just apply some CBD oil lotion, and before long, you'll feel mentally and physically relaxed enough to drift off into dreamland.

Again, if your goal is better sleep, a CBD product made with full-spectrum hemp extract is the best choice. The extra terpenes and cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp extract enhance the sleep-inducing effects of CBD topicals. Furthermore, lavender oil can help promote relaxation, so look for creams made with this ingredient.

How CBD Works for Pain Management

Research on how CBD relieves aches, soreness, and discomfort is ongoing. According to existing evidence, CBD interacts with your body's endocannabinoid system. It binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors, triggering the release of various neurotransmitters associated with pain relief.

CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing swelling in the body, it can alleviate pain. For instance, if inflamed tissues press on a nerve, taking cannabis oil or using topical CBD can reduce the inflammation, resulting in less pressure on the nerve.

Finally, CBD seems to relieve pain by managing the stress that typically accompanies physical discomfort. This effect is especially pronounced in patients with conditions like fibromyalgia, who sometimes get stuck in a loop where their pain exacerbates their stress, and their stress worsens their pain.

How To Use CBD Creams and Lotions

Using CBD cream, CBD lotion, or topical CBD oil is simple. Here are a few tips to help you use these topical products most effectively:

Who Should Use CBD Topicals?

If you struggle with chronic discomfort, inflammation, or achy joints resulting from arthritis, injury, or muscle overuse, using topical CBD daily can provide relief.

If you have sensitive skin, make sure the cream you purchase is suitable for you and made with gentle ingredients. Aim for products free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial colors, and other potential irritants and formulated with all-natural ingredients like pure CBD oil from the cannabis plant.

More research is needed on the safety of using cannabis cream while pregnant or breastfeeding. That said, many health experts currently recommend erring on the side of caution and avoiding all products containing hemp extract—including CBD oil and cream—while pregnant or nursing.

Potency

Check the product’s potency and usage recommendations. Some CBD oil creams are stronger than others, so it's important to follow the directions on the product label. Most topical products include detailed information on how to use them.

Ingredients

Choose CBD cream with moisturizing ingredients, like aloe vera and shea butter, to keep your skin from becoming dry.

If you have sensitive skin, look for CBD products free from synthetic fragrances and artificial colors to reduce the risk of skin irritation. Those with natural fragrances like lemongrass or lavender oil tend to be better tolerated.

Many CBD skin cream products contain peppermint oil or menthol extract for a cooling sensation and additional alleviation of discomfort.

Lastly, some manufacturers cut corners and use inferior ingredients—like parabens and fillers—in their products, so purchasing your cream from a reputable supplier is crucial. Look for options made with pure hemp extract or hemp seed oil and other natural ingredients. Ideally, the product should be third-party lab-tested with the results available on the company’s website. This type of transparency is a good sign that a brand is trustworthy.

Application

Apply CBD cream topically to clean, dry skin. Don’t apply it over makeup or to sweaty skin, as this can lessen absorption. Rub the cream into your skin to ensure it absorbs fully. Wait about 10 minutes before covering the area with clothing. Check the label on your CBD lotion for instructions and application tips.

Potential Side Effects of CBD Topicals

It’s rare for users to experience adverse effects when using topical CBD oil or cream. However, the following side effects may occur:

Skin Irritation

Skin irritation is the most common side effect of topical hemp cream and CBD oil lotion. The CBD doesn’t necessarily cause this; it can be a reaction to other ingredients in the cream, such as synthetic fragrances or cetyl alcohol. If you experience skin irritation, try switching to a different formula or contact your doctor for guidance.

Dry Skin

Some users experience skin dryness after using CBD topicals. You can avoid this by choosing a topical CBD oil, lotion, or cream with moisturizing ingredients like cocoa butter or aloe vera.

Drug Interactions

CBD can interact with or reduce the efficacy of certain medications, including anticoagulants, seizure medications, and some antidepressants. If you’re taking medications or supplements, check with your doctor before using hemp cream or any hemp-infused products.

Conclusion

CBD topical creams are a great choice if you're looking for a natural way to manage physical discomfort. These CBD products are transforming the world of pain relief as more customers discover their benefits. They come in a wide range of formulas, many of which are cruelty-free. From roll-ons to lotions, there’s a CBD topical out there for everyone!

Woman refuses to change seats for mom and kids

Traveling with preteens and teens is a breeze in comparison to traveling with little ones but as a parent you still want to sit near your kiddos in case they need you for anything. If you've traveled on an airline in the last several years, you know it's much cheaper to chose the basic seats in the main cabin.

There's nothing different about these particular seats other than the airline sort of randomly selects your seat and if you're traveling alone, that's really not a bad deal. The risk gets to be a little higher if you're traveling with a party that you'd like to keep together - like your children. One mom took the risk and banked on a stranger accommodating...that's not quite how it played out.


People sit in the wrong seats on planes all the time, usually because they read their ticket wrong or accidentally sit one row ahead. Takes no time to double check your ticket and move along, but when Tammy Nelson did a double take at her ticket after seeing the mom in her window seat, she realized she wasn't mistakenly staring at the wrong row.

This mom boarded the plane with her older children and had taken it upon herself to sit in the same row as her children, essentially commandeering a stranger's seat. Nelson assumed it was a mistake and informed the woman that the seat was in fact hers but the response she received was surprising.

"She said, 'Oh, you want to sit here?'," Nelson tells Good Morning America. "She said, 'Oh, well I just thought I could switch with you because these are my kids.'"

That's an interesting assumption when seats are assigned and many people, like Nelson, pay extra to have the seat they prefer. Now, there's no telling if funds were tight and this was an unplanned trip for the mom and kids which caused her to buy the more budget friendly tickets or if she was simply being frugal and was banking on the kindness of a stranger.

Either way, Nelson specifically paid for a window seat due to motion sickness and though she paid extra, she was willing to sit in the other row if that seat was also a window seat. But it turns out, it was a middle seat.

Surely there's someone out there that loves the middle seat. Maybe a cold natured person that enjoys the body heat of two strangers sitting uncomfortably close. Or perhaps someone that doesn't mind accidentally sleeping on an unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. But that person isn't Nelson, so when the middle seat was offered in exchange for her bought and paid for window seat, she politely but sternly declined.

@myconquering

Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷‍♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦‍♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens

Her refusal to give in to the mom's seemingly entitled request for Nelson's seat has resulted in parents and child-fee people cheering her on after she posted the details on her TikTok page, MyCONQUERing. The video has over 3.4 million views.

"Nope. If it's not an upgrade it's a sacrifice," a commenter writes.

"You did the RIGHT thing. Folks need to plan their travel together. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an inconvenience on yours," one person says.

"I have 3 kids and have sat in different rows when they were passed toddler age. I agree, book your flight earlier," another writes.

"You were right. As a woman with 3 children, I always pay extra so we're sat together," another mom says.

Nelson is also a mom so she knows how important it is to sit next to kids on flights. But since airlines have made that a luxury, as the parent, you have to plan to pay extra or accept that you likely won't be seated next to your children. Hopefully in the future, this unnamed mom is seated next to her children or pays extra to make sure it happens. In the meantime, people continue to support Nelson standing her ground.

This article originally appeared on 7.28.23

Women's Health

Smooth sailing through menopause: natural ways to ease the transition

Natural remedies to navigate menopause comfortably and confidently

Photo by Peter Schulz on Unsplash
a woman standing on a beach holding a frisbee

Life is full of transitions, but few are as challenging to navigate as menopause. This process can cause uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms such as hot flashes, painful intercourse, and severe vaginal dryness. Thankfully, there are ways to relieve menopausal symptoms. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes can help reduce hot flashes, relieve vaginal dryness, and mitigate other menopausal symptoms, allowing you to comfortably transition into the next chapter of your life.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of a person’s monthly menstrual periods. This is caused by the loss of ovarian follicular function and reduced production of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and testosterone. Doctors typically diagnose menopause if menstruation hasn’t occurred for at least one year.

Hormonal birth control—including birth control pills and hormonal intrauterine devices—causes menstrual cycle changes and can mask symptoms of menopause, making it difficult to detect the start of perimenopause—the period before menopause during which the ovaries produce estrogen at a slower rate.

Who Experiences Menopause?

Menopause affects people with uteruses who are typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Some people experience menopause before the age of 40, which is often referred to as early menopause. Research indicates smoking is one possible cause of premature menopause.

Anything that damages the ovaries or stops the body from producing estrogen (like hysterectomy, ovary removal, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy) will cause symptoms of menopause.

How Long Does Menopause Last?

The duration of perimenopause and menopause varies between individuals. Perimenopause can last between two and eight years.

While most people experience menopausal symptoms for less than 5 years, they can last between 7 and 11 years for some. Genetics and lifestyle factors can influence the length of menopause.

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause symptoms usually start during perimenopause and can impact day-to-day life. Here are some typical symptoms of menopause:

Menstrual Changes

During perimenopause, changes in the frequency and duration of menstrual periods are common. Additionally, some may experience spotting between periods.

Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Vasomotor symptoms of menopause (VMS), such as hot flashes and night sweats, are also common. Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of heat in the upper body. Red blotches and profuse sweating can occur during hot flashes, and you may experience chills afterward. Low estrogen levels also cause nighttime hot flashes, known as night sweats, which often disrupt sleep.

You can relieve hot flashes by drinking ice-cold water, removing a layer of clothing, and using a fan when you feel a flash coming on.

You can also treat hot flashes by identifying and avoiding triggers such as stress and spicy foods. Medical treatment can help manage severe hot flashes.

Vaginal Dryness

Low estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal dryness, resulting in discomfort, itching, and burning. Vaginal dryness can also cause small tears in thinner vaginal tissues, causing pain during sex.

You can treat vaginal dryness with an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer. Estrogen therapy in the form of low-dose vaginal preparations is also an effective treatment for many. Additionally, using a water-based lubricant can help prevent pain during intercourse.

If you prefer natural remedies over vaginal moisturizers, low-dose vaginal products, and other medicines, then herbal supplements—like sea buckthorn oil—and vitamins D and E may be helpful.

Mood Changes

Mood swings can make you feel irritable one minute and teary the next. Getting enough sleep, staying active, and reducing stress can help mitigate mood changes and enhance your overall well-being.

Depression and Anxiety

Menopausal symptoms and hormonal changes can cause depression and anxiety. Adequate sleep, a healthy diet, and regular physical activity can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Talk with your healthcare provider if you experience severe depression during menopause, as this may require therapy, medication, or both.

Urinary Incontinence

Decreased estrogen levels can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and urethra, making it hard to hold in urine long enough to get to a bathroom; this is known as urinary urge incontinence. Some individuals also experience urinary stress incontinence, whereby sneezing, laughing, or coughing can cause a leak of urine.

Physical therapy, maintaining a healthy weight, and doing Kegel exercises can help with these urinary symptoms. Products like incontinence pads, pessaries, and urethra caps can help contain urine leaks.

Brain Fog

Problems with focus and memory affect about two-thirds of menopausal individuals. Simple practices—like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, staying socially active, and engaging in mentally challenging activities—can reduce brain fog.

How To Treat Menopause Symptoms

Menopause treatment options—such as menopausal hormone therapy and vaginal estrogen—can help relieve hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms associated with menopause.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also known as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) or estrogen therapy, can alleviate hot flashes, painful intercourse, and other menopause symptoms by using bioidentical hormones to replenish estrogen levels.

Progesterone hormone therapy may also be needed to protect the womb lining from the effects of estrogen hormone therapy. Taking progesterone and estrogen together is known as combined hormone therapy.

Different menopausal hormone therapy mediums include:

  • Skin patches
  • Tablets
  • Implants
  • Topical gels and sprays.

If you have a low sex drive that persists after systemic hormone therapy, your healthcare provider may recommend testosterone.

Benefits of Menopausal Hormone Therapy

While the effects of hormone therapy vary depending on individual factors, hormone replacement therapy is considered one of the most effective ways to treat menopausal symptoms and reduce the risk of conditions associated with menopause including osteoporosis, liver disease, uterine cancer, and heart disease.

Health Risks of Hormone Therapy

Menopausal hormone therapy is considered safe for most women, but that doesn't mean it’s without possible health risks—especially for those with pre-existing conditions or a family history of blood clots, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Menopausal hormone therapy may not be safe for some and should be discussed with your healthcare provider if you have a family or personal medical history of any of the following:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Heart disease risk factors (e.g., high cholesterol and high blood pressure)
  • Breast cancer
  • Gallbladder disease

Those undergoing menopausal hormone therapy may experience side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Bone loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Leg cramps
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer

Non-Hormone Menopause Treatment

Alternative therapies like non-hormone treatments can help ease the symptoms of menopause if you decide against hormone therapy. Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help manage depression and anxiety resulting from menopause. Clonidine, a blood pressure medicine, and gabapentin, an epilepsy medication are known to help with the vasomotor symptoms of menopause. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with anxiety and low mood resulting from menopause.

Lifestyle Changes

On their own or in combination with hormone therapy, these lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in managing symptoms of menopause.

  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Engage in enjoyable activities to boost your mood
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Seek support from loved ones

Complications From Menopause

Decreased estrogen levels can result in long-term complications from menopause.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is characterized by bone loss and decreased bone density, which is caused by a lack of estrogen.

Hormone therapy may help protect against menopausal bone loss. For those who can’t undergo hormone therapy, other approaches to decrease osteoporosis risk are encouraged (e.g., staying active, taking calcium supplements, and quitting smoking).

Antiresorptive medications—like bisphosphonates—reduce the breakdown and absorption of bone tissue and can be used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal individuals.

Cardiovascular Disease

The decline in estrogen during menopause increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The rates of coronary heart disease are three times higher in menopausal women. To mitigate this risk, those experiencing menopause are advised to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Conclusion

A decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can result in a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional changes in the body. Hot flashes, vaginal discomfort, mood swings, incontinence, and other symptoms can significantly impact daily life. However, there are ways to manage menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy has proved successful in treating symptoms by replenishing estrogen and progesterone levels. For those who are unable to receive hormone therapy for any reason, lifestyle changes, non-hormone treatments, dietary supplements, and other treatments can help alleviate symptoms. Discuss potential therapy and treatment plans with your healthcare provider so you can sail through menopause smoothly.

No better time to grab a little shut eye.

For those in the military, sleep can mean the difference between life and death. But shut-eye can be very hard to come by, especially during active conflict.

According to Sharon Ackman, the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to help its pilots fall asleep. Through this technique, 96% of the pilots were able to fall asleep in two minutes or less.


If pilots could fall asleep during war, you should be able to use it to knock out in the comfort of your bedroom.

Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Relax in your seat

health, military sleep, meditation

Sleeping in difficult environments.

via DVIDShub / Flickr

Given the space restraints of a typical plane, the pilots were taught to sleep in a seated position. They put their feet flat on the ground, while relaxing their hands in their laps.

Breathe slow, deep breaths while relaxing every muscle in your face and letting your forehead, cheeks, mouth, tongue, and jaw go limp.

Step 2: Relax your upper body

Let your shoulders drop as low as you can. Allow the muscles in your neck go lifeless.

Starting with your dominant side, let your bicep feel like it's falling off your body. Then move to your forearm, hand, and fingers. If a muscle isn't relaxing, tense it first, then let it go loose.

Slowly exhale your tension.


Step 3: Relax your lower body

Tell your right thigh muscle to sink, then move down your leg, saying the same thing to your calf, ankle, and foot. Your leg should feel like it has sunk into the ground. Then move on to your left leg.

The final step is to clear your mind for ten seconds. You can do this by paying attention to your breath as it moves through your nostrils or holding a static image in your mind.

Once your body is relaxed and your mind quiet, you should slip away into darkness.

For more information on this sleep technique, check out Ackman's Medium blog.


This article originally appeared on 04.11.19