Menopause is a natural biological process that occurs when a woman has gone twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period. The average age for menopause is 51, but symptoms can be experienced many years before or after. It is worth noting that the types, severity and duration of menopausal symptoms can vary among women, and some women may experience no symptoms at all. Some of the general symptoms that you may experience include:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Disturbed sleep
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Slowed metabolism
- Thinning of hair
- Dry skin
The transition to menopause may be uncomfortable for some women, which is why self-care is crucial during this time. Here are some ways that you can improve your overall wellness during menopause:
1. Eat well
During menopause, getting the nutrition you need is as vital as ever. Pay attention to your diet and have a balanced intake of lean protein and whole foods with calcium and vitamin D – nutrients that help prevent osteoporosis. Cut out salt and saturated fat from your diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. You may also want to reduce alcohol consumption which may trigger hot flashes in some women.
2. Stay active
Exercising is one of the best ways to boost your well-being during menopause. Staying physically active brings a myriad of benefits – on top of being a natural stress reliever, it also promotes good sleep and combats menopausal weight gain. Exercise may also prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps to cool your body and maintain a stable temperature. Staying hydrated also helps decrease bloating due to hormonal imbalances and replenish dry skin tissue with moisture. Make sure to have eight to twelve glasses of water per day.
4. Get some fresh air
Going out for a breather is always good for your physical and mental health. Going out for a stroll or light run is a great way to get your dose of vitamin D and some exercise. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen!
5. Keep cool
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause that could cause considerable discomfort. Dress in airy, lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen, and switch to cotton bedding to help with night sweats. Consider investing in a portable fan to keep yourself cool in public or at work.
6. Get enough sleep
Getting adequate sleep is crucial for good health and general wellness. Adults are recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. However, menopausal symptoms like night sweats can make it difficult to get uninterrupted sleep. Consider speaking to your doctor about ways to manage your symptoms, and put away your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. Dress in breathable sleep clothes and make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and well-ventilated.
7. Stay in touch with your loved ones
Menopausal changes can be frustrating and result in mood swings. Speaking to your loved ones and surrounding yourself with good company will help. You might even find that some friends are experiencing similar changes – take the opportunity to connect and exchange tips to make the transition less stressful.
8. Speak to your doctor
If you find yourself troubled by menopausal symptoms, it may be worth speaking to a doctor. Your doctor will be able to suggest lifestyle changes and recommend treatments to alleviate severe symptoms. For example, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the most effective treatments for improving menopausal symptoms.
As Dr June Tan Sheren sees many women to support them on their menopause journey. If you want to know more about Menopause and HRT we have developed the following Osler Factsheets:
Take charge of your menopausal health and speak to our experienced doctors at Osler Health today.