How to Get Through Menopause Like a Pro

Menopause has earned itself a well deserved bad rap! It can get so bad for some women, that a quarter think about leaving work due to their menopause symptoms, while one in ten actually do!

For some this can be avoided, sometimes a few small changes can change the intensity of symptoms and make menopause more manageable without the need for medical intervention.

Menopause is well known for it’s hot flushes, but women may experience mood swings, sleep loss and night sweats. Others may not experience any symptoms, lucky things, but if you’re in the former group there are a few changes you can make that are shown to reduce symptoms.

Tips to navigate menopause

Manage your Weight

A study back in 2012 found that women who lost 10% of their body weight over a year period were more likely to eliminate their hot flushes and night sweats than those who didn’t. This is only recommended for those carrying a few extra kilos, for those who don’t need to lose weight keeping healthy certainly is recommended.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to help reduce menopause symptoms. It is well known that exercise helps improve sleep, fatigue and your mood and never is this more important than when you're going through the phases of menopause.

Perhaps most importantly regular exercise is going to help you post menopause. Exercise helps maintain bone density and muscle strength and when we go through menopause we start losing this fast. Women in their 60s have the bone density of men in their 80s!

Weight bearing exercise and cardio exercise such as running or a keep fit class can help reduce your bone and muscle loss, it can also increase your balance skills making falls less likely as you age.

Don’t forget that exercise is also amazing for our mental health. When our bodies go through so much (unwanted) change, it often affects us mentally as well. Getting into some fresh air and increasing our heart rate is hugely beneficial for this.

As you increase your exercise, including soft tissue work will help to provide relief for tense and tight muscles. As well as all of the other health benefits soft tissue work provides - see our other blog posts.

Look to your diet

Keeping with bone health, calcium and vitamin D are great for your bones so make sure you’re keeping on top of these nutrients.

Calcium doesn't just mean dairy, make sure you’re eating lots of leafy greens like kale and spinach. If you need some help, seeing a nutritionist at this time could be really beneficial.

Sunlight is your best friend for vitamin D levels (low vitamin D levels is also associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes). In Australia we have to be very careful with sun exposure, but walking in the early morning or late afternoon for 10 mins without sunscreen will provide you with the vitamin D you need.

You can also investigate taking a supplement or eating foods such as oily fish and eggs.

Interestingly women from Asian countries rarely experience hot flushes. This is thought to be because of their phytoestrogen rich diets. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds found in food like linseeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, bean and soy products.

Meditation and Yoga

Meditation and yoga are proven methods to reduce stress and have been found to help reduce mood swings. As stress increases your cortisol levels, that age you, also make it more difficult to manage your weight. Practicing meditation or similar relaxation techniques daily can assist with weight management and those youthful good looks.

Breathing techniques

It is thought that breathing techniques can help reduce the length and severity of hot flushes. When a flush occurs try breathing in through the nose for a count of 6, holding for a count of 6 and then exhaling for a count of 6. The calming effect of this breathing pattern helps to reduce anxiety of the onset of a flush, reducing its intensity and length.

Drink lots of water

You may be losing more water due to those hot flushes so make sure you’re drinking plenty. If you’re dehydrated your body can wake you up in the middle of the night to search for water, so keeping hydrated can improve your sleep.

However, the benefits don't end there. Adequate hydration is good for your skin and can keep the fine lines at bay, whilst it can also help manage your weight as often we confuse thirst for hunger.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

No, we don’t mean to have a bath before bed, but this is a great way to enter the relaxation mode before sleep. It is also beneficial to head to bed at the same time each night, to allow your body to read the pattern. Reading when in bed, with a book, rather than on screens - or using blu-blocker glasses will help to bring on the melatonin as well. We have plenty of blog posts on creating healthy sleep habits, take a look around.

Of course natural intervention doesn’t help everyone. After 6 - 8 weeks of good routine and these natural interventions don’t provide relief, we advise to seek guidance from a qualified GP or specialist.

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