Welcome back to part 2 of our series all about the Menopause. If you haven’t read part 1, where we talk all about how the menopause affects our skin, make sure to read this first! So let us continue the journey now as we look inwards… into how internal factors such as diet and exercise connects with the menopause and what you can do to optimise your mental and physical health so you’re feeling fabulous!
“Changes in your hormones during menopause can impact your mental health as well as your physical health. You may experience feelings of anxiety, stress or even depression. Menopausal symptoms may include: anger and irritability.
Women can carry out lifestyle changes to help with menopause and perimenopause, such as looking at your diet, eating well, exercising and looking after their mental health and wellbeing and can help with symptoms during perimenopause and menopause,” says Dr. Hana Patel, GP Expert Witness.
Eat for better health
This becomes increasingly important after menopause as intestinal absorption of various vitamins and minerals is reduced. This particularly applies to vitamins B and D. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium from the gut. Around the time of menopause, women lose calcium from the skeleton and become at increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones).
“It’s vital to find a balanced, nutritionally complete diet you can stick to for the longer term,” says Says Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids can help support your overall health and help you feel better overall. Fatty acids in foods like salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, walnuts and almonds are great.
Soy is rich in isoflavones, which is a plant-based compound that seems to act like estrogen in your body. Menopause is a time when the estrogen in your body reduces, so eating extra soy could help replace that loss a little.
Move your body
Moving your body is important, no matter your age – but its important during (and after menopause) to keep up a regular form of exercise, whatever that looks like to you. Find something that makes you feel good: this could be an extra walk, yoga, pilates or something else.
“Exercise is vital for women, especially those in peri-menopause and menopause. The hormonal and physiological changes which occur have a significant impact on a woman’s body, and often, her mind. Consistent strength/weight baring exercise is a powerful tool for maintaining bone density, managing weight, and countering muscle loss.
It also plays a vital role in enhancing our mood, reducing anxiety, helping us get great quality sleep, regaining confidence, and achieving an overall sense of well-being. Finding a class, or group of women to exercise with, will also ensure a stronger sense of community, and belonging; helping women understand that they are not going through this transition alone,” says Claire Goodliff co-founder of Amazing Jane Activewear.
Look into hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
This might not be an option for everyone, but some women opt for HRT to manage menopausal symptoms to great success, as this would help your mood, energy levels, skin and more. Speak to your healthcare provider for more information.
“If you are menopausal – this might be at any stage of the menopause – why not book in to see your GP for a menopause consultation?
Some Sexual Health Clinics have designated Menopause Clinics. This is an opportunity to discuss your specific health and menopause issues and get the best advice for you,” says Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
How to deal with hot flushes and night sweats
Most of us naturally wake up through the night… but during the menopause you may experience night sweats that makes it more difficult to get back to sleep. If you’re struggling, try keeping your bedroom cool and wear loose cotton pajamas to help you keep cool. You may also find having a cool shower or cool drink could help, as well as cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and spicy food.
Take care of your wellbeing
Menopause can be a time of emotional and psychological changes too so take time for yourself and check in with yourself… how you’re feeling, where you’re at etc.
You might find practices like mindfulness, gratitude journaling, meditation and yoga could help you manage stress and create positive changes in your wellbeing. Embrace this new phase as an opportunity to celebrate your journey and practice self-love and be gentle with yourself.
Most importantly: be kind to yourself! “We know that being kind lowers stress and makes you feel good inside. This applies just as much when being kind to yourself as being kind to other people. Acts of kindness lower cortisol and adrenaline levels and lower blood pressure. It may even help ward off heart disease, improve the control of blood glucose and even help you live longer! So, take time to put yourself first and make your own health needs a priority, not an afterthought,” says Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
Be ready to adapt your routine to meet your body’s changing needs. Approach this new phrase with a positive mindset and your inner glow will shine through! Menopause affects everyone differently, so speak to a professional with your concerns, if needed.