Hot flashes, weight gain, irritability and disrupted sleep patterns—millions of women look at this list of symptoms with an impending sense of doom and dread as they contemplate the inevitable life change. Menopause is a natural life transition during which a woman’s hormone levels naturally decline, menstruation ceases and the body takes a reprieve from the busy work of procreation and child-bearing.
For some women, menopause is a gradual process; we notice little changes here and there, and symptoms can be managed with a few life modifications. Other women, unfortunately, experience life-altering physical and mental symptoms that have them running to the doctor and to holistic professionals for relief. Whatever your situation may be, know that easing into menopause and beyond can be done if we take steps now to improve health, increase mobility and safeguard our mental health. Read on to see what you can do about easing into menopause, for your sake and for that of your loved ones watching you go through it.
Easing Into Menopause Gracefully
With a few lifestyle changes and a positive and proactive outlook on menopause, you can weather the changes with grace and a bit more comfort. This stage of life does not signify an ending but an accomplishment and something to celebrate. Having the right outlook on menopause will significantly affect your experience with symptoms, and heading into it with the proper mindset will make even the most uncomfortable side effect more manageable. Follow these simple yet effective tips for dealing with menopause symptoms and look forward to creating a vibrant life:
1. Refrain From Alcohol and Tobacco Use
The use of any substance can interfere with hormonal balance, and alcohol and tobacco are major culprits for creating imbalance in the body. Those hormonal imbalances are among the primary contributors to dreaded hot flashes; it’s a good idea to cut down or eliminate your use of these substances if you want the start of menopause to be a more pleasant experience.
2. Stock Up on Calcium and Vitamin D
As women age, we tend to experience bone loss, and we develop a condition known as osteoporosis or brittle bones. Supplementation with vitamin D and calcium can help prevent bone loss and keep you feeling young and strong. If you prefer to get your vitamins and minerals naturally, consider adding foods such as low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli and kale—all are foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, and all will contribute to better health overall.
3. Change Up Your Diet a Bit
As unfair as it may seem, ladies, men use carbohydrates for fuel and energy, while we tend to use our carbs for fat storage after 40, which, during years of procreation, means that we could carry a pregnancy even during periods of starvation. Because the carbs are stored as fat, the dreaded weight gain results as well as some wide mood swings, as our body adjusts to these changes. Simply put, we need to change up the diet a bit to stay within the target weight range. To offset this genetic tendency, consider lowering your carb count, bringing in some healthy fats and proteins and breaking up your meals into smaller portions throughout the day; five to six meals that are about 250 to 300 calories per meal is ideal to keep your metabolism stoked and burning bright.
4. Try Out Some Lubricant
Yes, sex changes during menopause, too. Another aspect of hormonal imbalance is vaginal dryness, which can make intercourse both painful and uncomfortable, which in turn can affect your relationships as well. Consider the use of a vaginal lubricant to keep things running smoothly in the bedroom, and the amorous activity will have you feeling younger.
5. Improve Your Sleep Quality
Implementing some of those tried-and-true remedies that your grandmother swore by might help get you through some sleepless nights. A relaxing bath, some warm milk and refraining from the use of technology before bedtime will help promote healthy sleep and ease some of those pervasive and inconvenient symptoms.
6. Talk It Out
What better way to get some much-needed information and support on menopause ups and downs than by surrounding yourself with some supportive women who have gone through the process? Talking, laughing, crying and sharing stories that you can all relate to can help ease your stress and keep the world in a larger perspective. Talking it out with supportive friends is incredibly healing and rejuvenating; take advantage of these times to connect and blow off some hot flash steam.
7. Consider the Use of Supplements to Help Ease Discomfort
There are a number of natural herbs and supplements that can help ease menopause symptoms and provide some much-needed relief from mood swings, hot flashes and the like. Black cohosh is said to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes, while milk thistle can relieve breast tenderness, headaches and bloating. St. John’s Wort is a known component in the battle against depression and anxiety. Talk to your doctor about the inclusion and use of these supplements in your care regimen and see what they can do to help ease your symptoms.
8. When in Doubt, See a Doctor for Help
There is no need to suffer alone—with recent advances in research on menopause and aging, there are a number of options available to you that will reduce the severity of your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Talk to your doctor or health practitioner about what you are experiencing, and you will be able to design a wellness protocol that will move you toward better health and vitality.
You deserve to live a happy, healthy life as you transition into your golden years, and with these helpful tips, you’ll be noting a difference in mood, health and energy in no time!