Can You Avoid Menopause? Nope. As a woman, you can’t escape menopause. But you can make the whole thing less miserable. The key is to take steps in advance of menopausal symptoms to improve your health which will allow you to have an easier experience through the process.
Menopause causes your body to change. Symptoms are the result of a decrease in your hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms can include hot flashes, weight gain, brain fog, poor sleep, irritability, and vaginal dryness. No wonder we’re not all going around sharing the experience. It’s not something fun to share over lunch with friends, right?
Let’s take a look at what’s really going on in your body and what you can do about it.
The science behind menopause explained
Women are born with ovaries that stored egg cells. Ovaries aside from storing and producing egg cells also act as an endocrine gland that secretes hormones. Ovaries secrete primarily estrogen and progesterone which control the menstrual period and ovulation. Menopause happens when the ovaries can no longer release an egg every month, thus menstruation stops. Menopause is a normal part of women’s lives and can begin around the age of 40 without showing any signs that things are shifting. The process is very subtle or even unnoticeable at first.
“Normal” Menopause Has Three Stages
This is the stage that usually happens several years before the menopause. This is when the ovaries slowly make less estrogen. During this period you may have no noticeable symptoms that anything is changing or you may start with mild hot flashes or skipped periods. Peri-menopause ends when a woman enters the menopausal stage wherein the ovaries completely stop releasing eggs. During the last 1 to 2 years of this stage, estrogen levels fall faster, and that’s when your menopausal symptoms become more noticeable.
This is the stage when it marks the end of your menstrual cycle. It happens when you have gone 12 consecutive months without a period. At this stage, your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
This is the stage years after your menopause. Menopausal symptoms usually ease or disappear altogether. It’s important that you start weight bearing exercise, collagen, and nutritional supplements before the age of 40 to decrease the health risks in post-menopause.
Entering menopause can happen to women younger than 40. There are some factors that can contribute to early menopause. Sometimes diseases, genetic factors, or surgery may cause this stage to begin earlier than 40. Other causes may include:
- Premature ovarian failure. This is when your ovaries prematurely stop releasing eggs for unknown reasons. The levels of estrogen and progesterone change. It is called a premature ovarian failure because it happens before the age of 40.
- Induced menopause. This is when your ovaries have to be taken for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer. This could also happen due to radiation or chemotherapy which damages the ovaries.
Lifestyle changes that help with symptoms of menopause
There are many lifestyle changes that can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause, but you have to be willing to make some changes. And, I know, change can be difficult, especially as you age. Be open and try some of these options.
How to stay healthy through menopause:
- Eat Foods Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium and Vitamin D are good for bone health. During menopause, the bones can weaken because of hormonal changes. These hormonal changes increased the risk of osteoporosis, thus it is important to get enough Calcium and Vitamin D. I like taking these in supplement form as well as food to make sure I get enough. Here’s the ones I use.
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight. During menopause weight gain is common and this could be because of the combination of hormonal changes, aging, lifestyle, and genetics. Also exercising helps you sleep better and feel happier by raising serotonin levels naturally. It’s also great for the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. A diet filled with mostly veggies and some fruits helps with several menopausal symptoms. Plus fruits and veggies help with maintaining a healthy weight.
- Avoid trigger foods. There is food that can trigger menopausal symptoms such as caffeine, alcohol, and sugary and spicy foods.
- Sleep 7-9 hours a night and avoid a hot bath or shower right before bed as that can increase your night sweats.
You Can’t Avoid It
But you can make it easier on yourself. Trust me, I’ve seen it all when it comes to menopausal patients and the ones willing to make changes in their lifestyle are the ones who do the best. Ask for support. If you need my help, check out my Menopausal RESET program. Or make an appointment with me to have a quick chat about how I can help you. Remember, Menopause doesn’t have to be miserable. If menopause is a hot, horrible mess for you, then let’s talk!