PUBLISHED: 4:56 PM on Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Easy tips for coping with menopause
No, your house or office isn't hotter than it was yesterday and the typeface in the newspaper isn't shrinking. And forgetting why you went to the grocery store likely isn't an early sign of dementia.

If you're a woman between the ages of 40 and 58, these probably are signs of menopause.

Dealing with all types of menopause-related midlife issues - from hot flashes to sleep problems to memory issues - may be easier than you think. Most of these problems don't require the aid of a doctor or specialist, and can be easily combated on your own.

"The journey may be marked by subtle changes that only the most attuned woman would notice, or it can be a bumpy ride. If it's the latter you may struggle with a variety of symptoms," explain Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert, authors of the best-selling guide to menopause, "Is It Hot In Here? Or Is It Me?" (Workman Publishing).

Kantrowitz and Wingert, also award-winning Newsweek health journalists, spent more than three years creating "Is It Hot In Here? Or Is It Me?," culling the most updated research and speaking to scores of perimenopausal and menopausal women.

"You may wonder if you'll ever feel like your old self again," said Wingert. "Understanding what's going on with your body is the first step toward being back in control."

Wingert and Kantrowitz offer simple solutions for combating common menopause symptoms. Consider these quick fixes:

• A portable fan, moist towelettes and ice water: Since hot flashes can happen just about anywhere and can be brought on by anything from stress to spicy foods, a portable fan will come in handy for those often-embarrassing and sweaty situations. If you're worried about hot flashes at work, carry moist towelettes with you. A water bottle filled with ice water also can come in handy.

• Post-It Notes: If you're finding it hard to remember where you left your cell phone or the name of an acquaintance, carry a pad of Post-it Notes. Jot down reminders to yourself, and put them where you can see them.

• Bubble bath: Make sure your bedroom is on the cool side and luxuriate in a warm bubble bath just before bedtime. The switch from warm to cool is relaxing and sleep-inducing.

• Pedometer: Staying active reduces stress while providing loads of other health benefits as well. Use a pedometer to keep track of your activity level. It may encourage you to push it up a notch.

• Tweezers: Remove stray hair quickly with a simple pair of tweezers that can be kept in your purse.

• Calcium chews: Almost all menopausal women need to supplement their calcium intake. If you find it hard to swallow a big calcium pill, try calcium candy instead.

• Preservative-free artificial tears: An estimated six million American women have moderate to severe symptoms of dry, irritated eyes, often brought on by hormone fluctuations or as the side-effects of medication. Over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tears can provide relief.

Keeping these items handy not only combats the symptoms of menopause, but helps to give you much-needed peace of mind.

For more information and tips on surviving menopause - including the answers to hundreds of real-life questions - read "Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me? The Complete Guide to Menopause."