Menopause Tips

Menopause Tips

Somewhere in our fourth decade of life, our bodies start acting up—hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, and irregular periods. Ditto for depression and mood swings, joint pain, bloating, memory issues, low libido, hair changes, and weight gain, particularly in the midsection.

It’s a rollercoaster, and it starts with perimenopause around the age of 40 (or earlier) and it can last between six to eight years.

Menopause is the one-day milestone women reach once they have gone without a period for a year (tracking makes sense!). After that, it’s all post-menopause. Many symptoms subside, but the risk of some chronic diseases can go up.

Behind the scenes

Estrogen and progesterone work together to orchestrate the menstrual cycle, and they start fluctuating during perimenopause. So does testosterone, which can cause depression and lower libido, and may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance during post-menopause.

Estrogen keeps almost everything running smoothly in a woman’s body: menstrual cycles, glucose balance, brain and heart health, temperature control, immunity, bone and muscle health, pelvic floor health, and skin and hair, too. Low estrogen means hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and incontinence, among others. Too much of it leads to breast tenderness, bloating, and heavy periods.

How our bodies change

After 30, we lose approximately 3 to 5 percent of our muscle mass each decade, which is due to aging (so is fat tissue accumulation), but menopause can add to it due to dwindling estrogen levels.

We also lose bone tissue (20 percent of bone loss happens during menopause), more so after 50.

Both menopause and the aging process have impacts on metabolism. Postmenopausal women often have higher blood glucose and insulin levels, which can increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Not exactly hot news, but it’s not all gloom and doom either. Science has answers!

Eat better for a better journey

  • Consider following the Mediterranean diet
  • Get enough protein
  • Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi
  • Consume calcium-rich foods
  • Don’t forget vitamin D

Lifestyle matters, too

The menopausal journey overlaps high stress times for many women: parenting, work demands, caring for aging parents, and/or dramatic life changes.

Slash stress levels with yoga and meditation and prioritize sleep with good habits: early dinners, choosing books over screens, reducing alcohol, swapping out beverages for soothing herbal teas, and staying social.

Two to three sessions of resistance exercise weekly may help prevent muscle loss and bone loss, improve body composition, and boost cognition.

Supplements to consider

Remember, always check with your health care practitioner to ensure a supplement is right for you.

flaxseeds source of fiber, omega-3s, and lignans (help eliminate excess estrogen)
probiotics and prebiotics may help with gut imbalances, including bloating and gas
omega-3 fatty acids anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, increase insulin sensitivity
vitamin B12 red blood cell and DNA production, cardio- and neuroprotective

By Daniela Ginta, MSc, NNCP

BETSYHEALTH NOTE: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2024 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius:

Back to blog