Have you experienced menopause? What about weight gain, sleep disturbance, the dreaded hot flash? Sweating for no reason when it’s 45 degrees F (6 C)? Me too. Here are some of my thoughts about menopause. Personally, I just want to drop the extra weight. I’d keep the other symptoms. Haha.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is just another stage of life a woman goes through as her childbearing years end. The estrogen and progesterone hormones are waning during this period and it causes health changes throughout your body. You are losing your ability to reproduce and the fertility cycle shuts down. Now you no longer have your menstrual cycles, and your physical feminine qualities from estrogen may fade. Facial hair growth and your voice may lower may also be observed. These effects are from testosterone becoming stronger as you lose estrogen.
What are the Signs of Menopause?
These are signs that you are approaching the golden years. The markers to the “change of life” thousands of women have endured. Some women may deny them but others welcome the next stage of life with open arms (that’s how we feel at Life.Matters). How you react can help you take menopause in stride.
Some women experience depression around the time of perimenopause, partly because of the hormonal changes and partly by the events that can happen in midlife, such as children moving out, relationship changes, weight gain related to menopause, difficulties with their sex life, and stress over missed periods early on, and so on.
Estrogen withdrawal causes the physical and mental changes you are going through. There are hormone replacement therapies, creams, and nutritional supplements and herbs that have been historically taken during this time of life. Discuss any hormone replacement or supplements with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.
A trusted doctor or herbalist may make menopause easier with medication or supplements. Since we are trying to break the silence regarding women’s health, we at Life.Matters suggest you discuss with menopausal symptoms with your friends and loved ones. Some days you may feel crazy and some days you are yourself again, so do not take this stage of life too seriously. Many jokes about menopause point out its absurdities and may make you want to laugh. In fact, laughing is just what you need to get you through a bad day. In addition, a good support group of friends going through this with you can help. I love my Life.Matters cast members because we are all experiencing the same changes in life and can discuss what’s happening to us freely.
What are the Risks?
Menopausal and post-menopausal women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. Your bones may fracture easier and the risk of blood clots increases. Make sure to check with your doctor and get tested.
Can My Diet Manage Symptoms?
As in any stage in life, diet can play a vital role in how we manage symptoms. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Don’t forget to eat your MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) twice a day. Foods full of good fat that can help with brain fog are avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and nut butters. Take vitamin D3 if recommended by your health care practitioner, and exercise daily. Walking is great exercise. Also, lift weights regularly to keep up your muscle tone and build bones. If you find weightlifting tedious or are afraid of “pumping iron,” ask for some help from the trainer at your gym or join a group fitness class. Again, a group will help you stick with it and have fun while exercising. Menopause is not the end of your life; it is just the beginning of a new phase. You still have the rest of your life to look forward to.
How have you experienced menopause? What, if any symptoms have you had? Has anything made it better or worse? Have you noted any food triggers? Did you gain a lot of weight (I did)? What else would you like us to discuss on the blog? Let us know in the comments below. Remember on this blog, I am expressing my opinion as a human and not offering medical advice.