Updated: Sep 7
Menopause is that time in a woman's life when she struggles to come to terms with the physical and mental changes that her body and mind have to go through. It is usually defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 months, without other secondary causes like pregnancy, drugs or disease.
Some of the common symptoms can begin as early as 4 years before menopause (perimenopausal phase) and may last for years after(post menopausal)!!
Hot flashes are the most common symptom. Other common symptoms are vaginal dryness, sleep and mood disorders. Menopause is also associated with an increased rate of bone loss, impaired balance, increased cardiovascular disease risk and memory issues. Sometimes the symptoms attributed to menopause may be related to ageing, so a medical expert opinion should always be sought.
While most of the symptoms will pass on their own, sometimes they can be persistent/ troublesome. However, menopause is considered such a normal part of a woman's life that the health issues faced by her are often trivialized by those around her as well as herself. and she suffers in silence .
Well, it doesn't have to be that way.!!!!If you think you are going through menopause, visit your doctor today for a diagnosis first. While some cases will need medication, Lifestyle Medicine experts across the world have now shown that some of the symptoms like hot flashes, can be very well managed by making simple lifestyle modifications as listed below.
1. Losing weight:
This has been the most widely accepted, evidence-based solution to reducing vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and excess sweating.
2. Dietary modifications
A low fat, plant based diet -can reduce hot flashes and improve cardiovascular health.
Soy products and avoiding hot beverages, spicy food, and caffeine can reduce hot flashes,
Vitamin D supplements -improve bone heath and improve symptoms like bone and joint pain as many menopausal women are deficient in Vitamin D.
Calcium-requirements increase after menopause and must be addressed accordingly
Please note: some dietary advise may not be suitable for all individuals. Please speak to your physician before you consider any specific dietary changes
reduces the rate of bone loss by stimulating bone formation
increases endorphins to improve mood swings
helps you to sleep better
helps to reduce weight
improves cardiovascular health(added benefit as postmenopausal women are more prone to cardiovascular disease risk!!!)
Note: An exercise routine should be a mix of aerobic as well as strength training.
4. Quitting tobacco and alcohol:
Tobacco in any form (smoking or smokeless) and alcohol can increase hot flashes and sweating and also interfere with sleep and mood issues during menopause. They are best avoided.
5. Stress Management :
Mindfulness-based interventions, paced respirations, and relaxation exercises, can help with sleep, mood and memory issues during menopause. While these may not necessarily reduce the hot flashes, they do make them less bothersome.
6. Sleep (7-9 hrs at night)
While sleep issues are a frequent complaint during menopause, a lack of sleep for any other reason may increase other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood and memory issues.
Click on the button below for some strategies to help you sleep well.
If you are unable to sleep in spite of these, please consult your physician to rule out other causes of insomnia like sleep apnoea.
While lifestyle modifications can reduce many of the symptoms faced during perimenopause and menopause, some women will need hormonal therapy or other non-hormonal medications, so its important that one consults a physician to decide on the right course of treatment.
Similarly a Lifestyle Medicine expert must be consulted for the right Lifestyle Medicine prescription. If you or a loved one is going through perimenopause or menopausal symptoms, contact us for a customized Lifestyle plan tailored to your needs.
Let your menopausal journey be as beautiful as the rest of your life
Disclaimer: The information provided here refers to general guidelines. Always speak to a physician to decide the right course of action for you.