Health experts have been teaching us about healthy lifestyle choices for years. They religiously inform us of the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and the menacing disadvantages. Can a healthy lifestyle affect menopause?
We´ve all heard about some of menopause´s terrible symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings, along with many others. But can a healthy lifestyle tame the beast of menopause?
Menopause may cause many women to experience weight gain.
Some women may experience memory loss or brain fog.
Perimenopause can start at certain periods in a woman´s life and may occur years before the start of menopause.
Not every woman may experience hot flashes; a small percentage of women may experience cold flashes instead, while some women; may experience both hot and cold flashes.
Regular smoking may help bring about the early onset of menopause in some women.
Some sexually active women who thought they were in the menopause phase didn´t use contraceptives and still got pregnant.
Stress can be very common during menopause.
After menopause, your body does not stop producing hormones forever. The adrenal glands will take over hormone production instead of the ovaries.
Japanese women reported fewer symptoms during menopause than those from other nations around the world. (The reasoning for this is unclear, but perhaps diet may be a factor).
Menopause an in-depth look
Menopause is a state in which the estrogen production by the ovaries ceases. In simpler terms, this means the end of a woman´s menstruation cycle (late 40´s early 50´s for most). Some health issues may arise as a result and some women can experience early onset menopause (in their 30s).
Perimenopause is a transition to menopause, and it starts at the time of a woman´s final menstruation. After menopause, your body makes less estrogen and progesterone hormones. Low levels of hormones can affect your health and are responsible for many symptoms.
Some women may notice a change in their normal cycle. Periods may come more frequently, or less frequently as usual, or menstruation may last longer or shorter, or be lighter or heavier.
- Always make sure you have enough menstrual supplies available.
- Be flexible to adapt to changes
Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of heat in your upper body. Your face and neck may become red. It is not uncommon for some women to experience heavy sweating during hot flashes. Other women experience cold chills after the hot flashes. Hot flashes are most common in women one year before the cessation of menstruation.
- dress in layers
- wear light-colored clothing
- have ice cubes/cold water on your nightstand before going to bed
- breathe deeply and relax, calm yourself down during an episode
Problems with sleeping
Difficulty sleeping throughout the night is a problem for most women. Lower hormonal levels can make it hard to fall asleep. Thus, some people may have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. It is also possible to sweat while you sleep.
- Exercise is a great factor in sleeping. Exercise, when done earlier in the day, is better than before you go to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine and stick with it.
- Make sure the bedroom is at a cool temperature.
Lower estrogen levels may weaken the urethra, causing incontinence. Incontinence is the condition of not being able to hold the urge of urination long enough to get to the bathroom. Urine can also leak out when you sneeze, laugh, or cough.
- Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- There are special incontinence pads or panties available.
Vaginal dryness may start or be progressive around menopause. Low hormonal levels are the culprit for the drying and thinning out of the vaginal tissue. Because of this, sex can be painful, causing cuts and tears, which could put you at higher risk for STDs.
- vaginal lubricants
- vaginal moisturizers
Mood changes can come from family challenges, feeling tired, and stress. Cortisol can increase your menopausal symptoms.
- improve sleeping habits
- implement relief strategies like exercise, meditation, journaling, or yoga
Some people might become forgetful and have difficulty focusing. The concentration span may wane.
- crossword puzzles
- learn a new language
Many women may gain weight during menopause, and some have difficulty getting the weight off.
- Healthy diet
Lifestyle changes are clinically proven to relieve some symptoms of menopause.
It is important to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D in your diet to fight bone loss/weakness. Also, it is vital to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories and high in fiber and can keep you full. Adjusting your diet is great for weight loss along with exercise.
Food sources include:
- dairy product (yogurt, milk, cheese, milk alternatives)
- kale, spinach, tofu, beans, sardines, certain cereals
- oily fish, eggs, cod liver oil, vitamin D supplements
Aging, changing hormones, stress, lifestyle, and genetics can all play a role in menopause. It is common to gain weight during menopause.
Some women may gain weight and may also struggle to keep weight off. Exercise helps maintain a constant weight. It lifts your mood, helps eliminate stress, and can keep chronic illnesses away.
Lifting light weights can protect your bones from osteoporosis.
Things to avoid
Some things may trigger menopausal symptoms, such as:
- sugary foods
- spicy foods
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen, such as:
- sesame seeds
Keep a food diary to note which foods may not go well with you.
Drink more water
Drinking more water throughout your day may lead to 13% fewer calories consumed during your meal. Water hydrates your body and may help you consume less to avoid weight gain.
Stress management strategies
Stress can increase during menopause. High levels of cortisol in the body can be dangerous. It is wise to implement stress relief strategies such as:
- Pilates (improve energy, metabolism, joints, and decrease stress)
- quiet time for reflection/for yourself
- engaging in things that give you pleasure
Other lifestyle choices
Learn a language (good for brain fog)
Develop good sleeping habits
Volunteer in your community (if time permits)
Healthy Lifestyle choices can reduce the intensity of some symptoms in some women. It is possible to protect your health and alleviate hormonal symptoms during menopause.
Menopause is not a death sentence but a transition in a phase of life. Even if you´ve never exercised a day in your life, it is not too late to start.
Decide to elevate healthy lifestyle choices for a fulfilling life today.
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