Traveling Abroad with Perimenopause

By on October 30, 2018
Traveling Abroad with Perimenopause

It can be difficult to be a woman around the age of 40; your body is preparing its transition into menopause which means, you’re dealing with perimenopause. As I’m sure you know, perimenopause lasts for years and finding ways to get your life back are necessary.

For those wanderlust women like me, you need a traveling abroad game plan that helps cater to your perimenopause symptoms. Understanding what perimenopause is, can help you prepare for some of the challenges you may face while traveling.

What is Perimenopause?

Q: What’s twice as bad as a woman in perimenopause?

A: Two women in perimenopause.

There are jokes for anything; but really, our bodies are just constantly changing with age and the best thing we can do is enjoy the opportunity to grow.

Perimenopause is the transition that begins a few years before menopause starts. Most women will start experiencing symptoms during their 40s, but it can also begin for some women in their 30’s.

The length of time perimenopause will last depend on the woman; some women are lucky, and it only lasts about 4 years, while others can last up to 10 years. Of course, everybody is different, so it could be shorter or longer for some women.

During this stage of life our ovaries start to release less estrogen, this can cause a variety of symptoms. If you are unsure about if you have entered perimenopause, talking to your doctor is the best way to find out.

Doctors can usually diagnose perimenopause based on the symptoms, but a blood test to check hormone levels can also confirm a diagnosis.

What are the Symptoms of Perimenopause?

Perimenopause can cause a variety of symptoms. You may experience some or all the following:  

  • Hot flashes
  • Increased PMS
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lower sex drive
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Fatigue
  • Urinary urgency
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping

Like mentioned above, we are all different and the exact symptoms that you experience, and their severity will vary from others. Either way, any of the symptoms above can significantly disrupt your life and lifestyle. Luckily, there are treatments, and ways that you can prepare if you’ll be traveling abroad.

Tips for Managing Perimenopause While Traveling Abroad

There are several ways you can manage symptoms while traveling, a doctor will be able to advise you on which management techniques may be best for you.

If symptoms are severe, a hormone replacement therapy may help in your situation. If you experience severe mood swings, antidepressant medications may help.

Here are some of the other common treatments and management techniques for some of the more bothersome symptoms of perimenopause:

  • Night Sweats
    • The best thing I have found is to try to stay cool while you sleep by dressing in light clothes, choosing bedding and clothing made of a wicking material, leaving a fan on at night, and using an ice pack underneath your pillow or on your feet.  
  • Trouble Falling Asleep
    • Establishing a sleep schedule can be beneficial, even when you are traveling; sleeping on the plane can help move around your sleep cycle to adjust to the time changes.
    • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening can benefit you tremendously when you are having trouble finding your sleep. Before bed, give yourself some time to relax by reading a book or writing in your travel journal.  
  • Urinary Incontinence
    • Kegel exercises done with ben wa balls can help to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, which can also reduce urinary incontinence.
    • Be sure to also avoid foods with high acid or caffeine contents, such as oranges, coffee, tomatoes, and grapefruit. These foods can make urinary incontinence worse. There are also medications and surgical solutions that can help.  
  • Mood Changes
    • Over-the-counter products like St. John’s wort and vitamin B6 can help to reduce mood change symptoms. Talking with a doctor will allow you to make the best decision related to your health, whether you decide to take over the counter products or mood stabilizers.
      • Keep in mind that it often takes at least a few weeks before you’ll start to see the effect of an antidepressant or mood stabilizer. Your doctor can help you find the right medication for you.
  • Vaginal Dryness
    • To reduce the discomfort during sex that vaginal dryness can cause, you may want to explore vaginal lubricants or moisturizers. Both are available over the counter.
    • Moisturizers tend to provide longer-lasting effects than lubricants. You can also talk to your Gynecologist about vaginal dryness to see what they think will best benefit your situation.

When you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to plan to manage your symptoms while away from home. These tips can help ensure you’re well-prepared so that you can thoroughly enjoy your trip.  

Create a Schedule

I know when I’m traveling, schedules seem to change in the blink of an eye. The only thing is, when perimenopause is causing difficulty sleeping, I know I need to take control of my schedule.

Create a schedule so that you can get to sleep and wake up around the same time every night and morning. Once you’ve created a schedule, do your best to stick to it.  I keep mine around the sun instead of just a time. So, if the sun has just set, I know it is time to be winding down.

It’s also important to recognize how much activity you can – and can’t – handle in a day. Sure, you’ll want to take advantage of being in a different country and do as much as possible but taking on too much will only make some symptoms, like fatigue, worse. Limit your schedule a bit and you’re more likely to truly enjoy your trip.  

Eat Well

Good nutrition can go a long way toward keeping your body healthy and in balance. Try to eat well while you’re traveling.

Avoid foods that contain high doses of caffeine and acid, since these can worsen urinary incontinence. Too much caffeine will also play a role in the quality of your sleep.  

When I travel I will look at the ingredients the restaurant has, sometimes you can “create your own” meal. Of course, sometimes just a bite is necessary because well, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Choose Home-shares Wisely

If you’re experiencing night sweats and sleep disturbances, then be sure to seek out a home-share that can accommodate your needs. Choosing an Airbnb with air-conditioned rooms, comfortable beds, and a freezer in your room for ice packs can help you to get better quality sleep. The quality of sleep that you get will affect the quality of your trip, so it’s well worth the investment to choose a quality sleeping arrangement.  

Stock Up on Supplies

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may or may not have easy access to supplies such as tampons or pads. Because perimenopause can cause irregular periods, it’s best to stock up on these supplies whenever you’re able, just in case.  

Pack a Personal Fan

Hot flashes driving you crazy? Make a personal fan a priority on your packing list. There are several compact, efficient personal fans you can purchase that will make a valuable addition to your luggage. Find one small enough to slip into your purse and you can bring the fan along with you wherever you go.  

Keep Medical Resources in Mind

When you’re planning your trip, think about what medical resources will be available to you. If you need medical treatment to help you better manage perimenopause, will you be able to get it, and will you get it quickly?  

Give Yourself a Break

Don’t be afraid to take a break from traveling every now and again. Take a day off, stay close by the hotel, and relax. If you’ve had a night with little sleep, are feeling under the weather, or just aren’t ready for an activity-packed day, take some time off. You can get back to traveling and exploring tomorrow.  

Invest in Health Insurance

It’s always important to make sure that if you need to access health care while traveling abroad, that you can afford to do so.

But if you’re experiencing perimenopause, there’s an increased chance that you may need to a see a doctor, especially if symptoms are bothering you.  

No matter your age, if you are eligible for Medicare Part A and B, you may qualify for Medicare Travel Insurance that can help cover both routine and emergency medical care that you need while traveling overseas.

This Medicare Supplement can prove very valuable if you need medical procedures, medications, or other treatments while you’re out of the county. Plus, it gives you peace of mind that if your perimenopause symptoms become a problem, you can seek medical help without having to worry about the cost.  

If you already have another form of insurance, you may want to talk to your provider about travel options that may be available to you overseas.

Perimenopause in Paris

Perimenopause doesn’t have to rule your life; you can be the woman with a plan, having control of your perimenopause either at home or abroad. When in Paris, I was able to wear my misting fan necklace and enjoy walking through the city.

Of course, nothing beats popping into a shop or restaurant for some nice cold air-conditioning. When you plan it allows you to enjoy the vacation and create lasting memories.

We can’t let perimenopause win, there are too many places to see and experiences to have. No, you won’t feel great every day, but that would also be true if you stayed at home.

The best thing you can do for yourself is talk to your doctor, create a schedule, eat well, and plan accordingly. Best of Travels my fellow wanderlust women.

Author Bio:

Lindsay Engle is the Healthcare Expert for a learning resource center for senior healthcare. Lindsay loves working in the senior healthcare industry. Aside from her job, she has a great passion for animals and loves boating. In her spare time, she enjoys snuggling on the couch with her pets as well as fishing with her boyfriend.

– By Lindsay Engel

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Traveling Abroad with Perimenopause