It’s an understatement to say that menopause can make you feel uncomfortable. The transition leading up to your last period is called perimenopause, which can last for 4-8 years. Some of the discomforts we often attribute to menopause are actually symptoms that begin in the perimenopausal period.
While hot flashes and vaginal dryness are common symptoms, they don’t have to be part of your experience. Your regular lifestyle habits can significantly impact the severity of your menopausal symptoms. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich explains more about the healthy lifestyle changes that can impact your health.
The symptoms of menopause
The symptoms of menopause are nearly legendary and include the following:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood changes
- Urinary urgency (having to pee more often)
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Dry skin
- Breast tenderness
While these symptoms are certainly uncomfortable, you can manage them by following our lifestyle tips. If that doesn’t provide enough symptom relief, talk to Dr. Weyhrich about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Lifestyle changes that can help
A drop in estrogen is the main culprit behind menopause symptoms, and replacing those low hormones may be the best solution.
However, before you try HRT, consider changing your daily habits. Many women find that focusing on their health has the bonus effect of decreasing menopause symptoms. Here are some helpful tips.
Commit to rest
Most women in their 40s and 50s (the average onset ages for perimenopause and menopause) don’t get as much rest as they need because they care for children and their aging parents. Women in this age group are sometimes called the “sandwich generation” because they’re sandwiched between caring for two generations.
As much as your schedule allows, you need to prioritize getting good rest regularly. Poor quality sleep worsens menopause symptoms.
If you still smoke, you have yet another reason to quit than wanting to avoid the health problems like heart disease and cancer, which are statistically greater risks as you age. Smoking also increases the likelihood of experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Smoking tobacco increases your risk of early menopause and also makes it more likely that you’ll experience symptoms like hot flashes.
We know: You’re so busy, and although you have good intentions to exercise, it often gets pushed off your daily to-do list. But exercise is good for more reasons than just improving your health — it can lessen the severity of menopause symptoms.
The minimum goal is 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Some of these exercises should be weight-bearing to help protect your bones from osteoporosis. When you exercise regularly, you will notice your moods level out, you sleep better, and you’ll be less affected by stressful events.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional glass of wine, but you should limit it. Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of cancer and makes your body less capable of fighting off the unpleasant effects of menopause.
Eat a healthy diet
Following a healthy diet is generally good advice for improving overall health and lowering your risk of developing common diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
But a healthy diet can also make your experience with menopause more comfortable and pleasant. Be sure to include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives, and lean meats.
Limit fried foods and packaged foods as much as possible. When you give your body the right fuel it needs, it shouldn’t be surprising that you’ll have fewer health complaints–including menopausal symptoms.
Drink lots of water
Drinking a lot of water is always important, but it’s especially so during the menopausal transition. Drinking plenty of water can help with dry skin and eases aches and pains.
In addition, limit caffeine. Drinking caffeine to make it through the day is often just a sign that you need more rest.
If you’re going through perimenopause or menopause, you can get help. Contact Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich today or request an appointment online.