Holidays are a fun and joyful time, but they have an effect on the body. Symptoms of menopause fluctuate during the holidays.
Everyone heads into the holidays with a mind full of spending time with guests, food to be bought, cooked and served, games and other activities to be planned, as well as accommodations for visitors. You might anticipate the laughter and conversation. Perhaps you can’t wait for the arrival of those we haven’t seen in ages. You are happy. That is, you are happy until your menopausal symptoms escalate. Here’s why these symptoms can fluctuate during the holidays.
What Are the Symptoms?
Menopause occurs when a woman’s body is no longer able to bear children. The menses or periods stop, the hormones are no longer active and the body undergoes changes. Some women will breeze right through menopause, while others suffer every possible symptom. While the symptoms are the same, the severity and duration, if any, differ with each woman:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings and irritability
- Lack of confidence
- Weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of sex drive
- Lack of natural vaginal lubrication
Why Do Menopausal Symptoms Fluctuate During the Holidays?
Hormones are the traffic cops of the body. They direct whatever is necessary toward the systems that signal a need. When a woman’s body is no longer able to bear children, the hormones that once directed that system move to the brain and the fat cells. That leaves the reproductive system susceptible to the symptoms of menopause.
Diet, exercise, lifestyle and stress play a large part in the drama of menopause symptoms. We tend to run on a different schedule and routine during the holiday time. We eat foods we don’t get at home, we walk all over the area we’re visiting, we drink more water, and we have too much fun to worry about stress. That’s where the fluctuations enter the picture.
Unless your hotel reservations get messed up or the car breaks down en route to your destination, your mindset is on fun and family. You sleep comfortably in a warm bed, get three meals a day, relax, and have some fun. Hormonal changes are limited to the occasional hot flash.
During the holidays, you tend to sample all the delectable foods that your friends and family have spent hours cooking. You may sample meats, vegetables, fruits, and grain products. If you load up on good things instead of sugary snacks or pre-packaged “foods”, menopause symptoms can take a back seat in the face of this good diet. With all of the running around you may do, your body runs and burns calories more efficiently.
Even if guests come to your homes, you may show them the sights, roam the parks, and take them to other points of interest. You may be out in the fresh air, walking around, sometimes playing in the parks or participating in activities. Around family or friends you tend to be moving, burning calories, having a good time and socializing. When you are living life this way, menopausal symptoms fade into the background, perhaps also because you aren’t concentrating on them.
A sedentary lifestyle has an unhealthy effect on the body. The hormones in the brain and fat cells stagnate. When you get no exercise, and the mind is not engaged. An active lifestyle, on the other hand, gives the body a chance to burn off the effects of stress as well as any unhealthy aspects of your diet. The symptoms of menopause are either fed or starved, depending on your lifestyles.
For those whose symptoms worsen during the holidays, the fluctuations might reflect the opposite before the holiday times. Think about your lifestyle at home as opposed to the one when you go away. At home you have the stress of everyday life. Depending on your lifestyle, you may or may not get enough exercise, water, fresh air, and healthy foods.
During the holidays, most tend to drink less alcoholic beverages than during everyday life. Alcohol exacerbates anxiety. Limiting alcoholic intake might result in less fluctuation in menopausal symptoms.
Preparation is the keyword. Make sure you have enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D means less joint and muscle pain, mood swings and irritability in addition to helping you get what you need from the sun. Have lots of water on hand and plan on getting plenty of restorative sleep. Most of all, try to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.