All women, at some point, will experience menopause, which is a natural part of a woman’s life cycle. Menopause is defined as having no menstrual period for one year. The age you experience it can vary, but it typically occurs in your late 40s or early 50s.
Menopause can affect people very differently, and so managing menopause varies from person to person, as some women may experience more disruptive symptoms than others.
The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. Symptoms can often include hot flushes, weight gain, or vaginal atrophy or dryness.
As well as managing symptoms, we also need to protect our overall health, as menopause may bring increased risk of certain conditions, such as heart disease or osteoporosis.
Hopefully, you may find that getting through menopause requires little medical attention. Or you may decide you need to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a doctor or pharmacist.
Here are some tips that may help you when managing menopause, whether you are at the early stages of Perimenopause or the later stages of Menopause.
Useful Tips when Managing Menopause
– Talk about it. Speak with friends about your experiences and seek advice. A problem shared will help reduce stress. If you have a partner, make sure to tell them about what you’re going through.
– If you smoke cigarettes, this is another reason to quit. Smoking can bring about early menopause, as well as worsen symptoms.
– Keep your weight at a healthy level. This is important to reduce your risk of heart disease and other illnesses, as well as reducing the severity of menopausal symptoms.
– To keep your bones healthy and improve your overall health, exercise at least three times a week. Choose weight-bearing activities like walking up and down stairs or dancing.
– Give yourself your best chance of a good night’s sleep. Many symptoms are worse at night so give yourself a head start by reducing your caffeine intake, avoiding screens at bedtime, and keep your bedroom cool.
– Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your symptoms. There are medications that can help.
– A healthy, balanced diet, rich in fibre, healthy fats, dairy, protein and fruit & veg, will improve your overall health and help energy and sleep.
Hot flushes are usually one of the first symptom of menopause we think of, but it can also be one of the most disruptive. Some of these tips might help to relieve the discomfort, but make sure to speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concern or if your symptoms become too disruptive.
– Invest in a fan or two. A small battery handheld fan can make all the difference to help cool you down but it’s also worth adding a more substantial device to your night-stand or bedroom. There are many options of electrical fans available in a range of sizes.
– Dress in layers so you can remove each one gradually if needed. Light, cotton-rich clothing is most comfortable.
– Think about the fabric that surrounds your skin – from your clothes to your duvet cover. Avoid fibres that increase temperature, such as polyester. Opt for cotton, linen or bamboo when choosing bed sheets and nightwear.
– Practice deep breathing and distraction during an onset of hot flushes – better again, try some mindfulness meditation or yoga. This will help you stay calm as you wait for symptoms to ease.
– Boost your odds of a good sleep. Hot flushes often get worse at night so limit anything else that might effect your sleep – avoid screens at least an hour before bed, keep your bedroom for sleeping (not working or watching TV), avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and reduce your intake of alcohol and sugar.
– Keep a trigger diary – some people find that certain foods (such as spicy foods), drinks, or even situations, are particularly likely to bring about hot flushes. Keeping track will help you avoid triggers.
A healthy diet and plenty of water is essential for everyone. But during menopause, there are some foods that have been shown to improve or relieve symptoms. It’s also important we consider our overall health during menopause, when risk of other illnesses increases, notably osteoporosis.
A healthy diet rich in high-fibre foods and low in fat will boost overall health. Avoid processed foods and refined sugar which can impact bone health. Never skip meals to make sure even energy levels.
– Drink plenty of water. This can combat symptoms such as dryness, hot flushes and bloating. Staying hydrated also improves metabolism and energy levels.
– Make sure to include Calcium-rich foods to prevent deterioration in bone health. Good sources include milk, yoghurt and cheese. If you prefer non-dairy, choose products that have been fortified with added calcium.
– Get enough Vitamin D. Not only does this improve overall health but also aids in symptom relief, including bleeding during perimenopause. We should get enough Vitamin D from the sun, but food sources include eggs and oily fish.
– Protein is essential for muscle and bone health, both which can be impacted by menopause. Choose healthy proteins such as fish and legumes.
– Phytoestrogens found in some foods are believed to improve hormone balance during menopause. Sources include green tea, chickpeas, soya beans, peanuts, flax seeds and grapes.
– Adding lots of fruits and vegetables to our diets not only ensures we get all the nutrients we need, but studies also show it helps reduce menopausal symptoms and improves overall health.
– Avoiding stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol, will help sustain energy levels, improve sleep, and reduce stress.
Talk To Us
You should contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience adverse symptoms that affect your ability to function, or if you notice anything unusual that might require a closer look.
Your local Haven Pharmacist can offer confidential advice and chat with you in private about your menopause symptoms. There are also a range of very effective over the counter remedies and treatments available from your local Haven Pharmacy to help with the symptoms of menopause. Or you can visit our online store and shop for menopause treatments there too, and have them delivered right to your door.
And you should also check in with your doctor for regular gynecological exams as you experience menopause.
* Please ask your local pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to you.