Menopause can be such a challenging time. Hormonally, it can cause undesirable side effects that leave you feeling tired, irritable, and fat. Your kids may be just fleeing the nest, or if you got started in your 30s or 40s, you may have teenagers or toddlers driving you crazy. Then, there are the psychological and emotional issues that come up for many women who view their transition through menopause as the end of youth – and fertility– as they knew it.
Regardless of how menopause is treating you, these nine tips can help you remain positive, can reduce the side effects of menopause, and make you feel a little more energized along the way.
1. Eat for your menopausal health
What’s your diet looking like these days? Many of the side effects of menopause, like weight gain and fatigue, can be compounded by a diet that is high in sugars, processed carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. Use this time in your life to eat the well-rounded diet you know you should, full of fresh fruits and veggies, leafy greens, nuts, lean meats, and whole grains.
The decrease in estrogen and progesterone during menopause leaves you at elevated risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Your healthier diet (see #1) is a step in the right direction. Regular exercise – at least 3 – 5 times per week – is another significant step. Mix both cardio workouts (great for burning calories and getting that heart in shape) and weight-bearing exercises (important for increasing bone mass) for best results.
3. Re-invent yourself
This transition in your life can serve as a springboard for self-improvement and growth. You may have lost small parts of yourself along the road to marriage and childhood, so reclaim what you miss and cultivate hobbies, interests, and friendships that bring you closer to who you want to be.
4. Celebrate your lack of periods
Remember all the times you were caught in a public place or an inopportune moment by your period? Celebrate that you can say “adios!” to pads, tampons, cramps, PMS, and other things that come with the menstrual cycle.
5. Visit your OB/GYN
If you suspect you have started menopause, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. She can educate you about exactly what your body is going through and present a variety of options to help alleviate any unwanted or undesirable side effects.
6. Celebrate a whole new sexual YOU!
For many women in menopause, sex has never been better. Having your kids out of the house can mean a whole new level of sexual freedom for you and your partner – take advantage of it! If lack of libido is an issue, your healthcare provider can help you determine the right solution, whether it’s as simple as using over-the-counter lubricants to make sex more comfortable/pleasurable, hormone therapy to help ease your body’s natural transition or MonaLisa Touch Therapy.
7. Take care of your skin
Another side-effect of decreased estrogen levels is less skin elasticity and moisture. Make your skin a priority, using gentle cleansers and moisturizers regularly. Treat each morning and evening like a mini-spa session; the TLC will be restorative, and your skin will look radiant.
8. Update your vitamin supply
Talk to your healthcare provider about your vitamin and mineral supplements. This may be the time to increase your intake of calcium, magnesium, D, folic acid, B vitamins, and others.
9. Focus on yourself
Most women in menopause have spent the past several decades caring for everyone else. This is the time to start taking care of yourself. Learning to say “No,” will allow you to gain more time, sleep, relaxation, etc., in your life, and all of these will help you to weather the menopause storm more gracefully.
Have questions about your menopausal transition? Schedule an appointment with Women’s Health Associates.