Your experience with menopause can involve symptoms that range from annoying to debilitating. In many cases, these symptoms start before the onset of menopause and can last for years.
It’s not uncommon to experience menopausal symptoms as early as four years before your last period and have them last until four years later. Approximately 10% of women have some symptoms for 12 years after their last period.
While you can’t avoid menopause or most symptoms, you can work to reduce their effect and feel more comfortable as your body changes.
Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois, provide caring, professional services for women experiencing menopause.
Based on a comprehensive examination, we advise about what you can do to regulate symptoms and improve your quality of life, whether you’re just beginning menopause or you’ve been dealing with symptoms for years.
Find out how to survive and thrive during this natural change. Menopause doesn’t have to affect your overall quality of life.
Keeping your body properly fueled is essential to thriving during this stage of life. If you’ve been following a healthy diet for most of your life, you won’t have to change much. But if you’ve slipped into bad habits, there’s never been a better time to pay attention to what you eat.
Dairy products, which include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins D and K, help maintain bone health at a time when decreasing estrogen levels can increase your risk of fractures. These vitamins and minerals may also improve sleep.
A balance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and quality protein can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease. Foods that contain phytoestrogens, such as soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas, can help to naturally replace lost estrogen.
While you’re working to consume foods that can support your body as it faces change, it’s also important to avoid foods associated with poor sleep, hot flashes, irritability, and other common menopausal symptoms.
Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are linked with more frequent menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and irritability. Avoiding high-salt and spicy foods may also help you manage symptoms.
Keep a food diary to help you identify associations between foods and menopausal symptoms so you can find out which foods affect your body.
Women often experience dryness in menopause, which can be associated with the decrease in estrogen levels. Drink 8-12 glasses of water daily to reduce bloating and help alleviate dryness.
For many women, drinking water also helps to produce a feeling of fullness, which can reduce the number of calories you consume throughout the day.
Exercising regularly gives you an edge in maintaining healthy joints and bones, decreasing stress, and improving quality sleep. This can help elevate your overall wellness and prevent diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and stroke.
Strength training and weight-resistance exercises increase your metabolism and build muscle mass. Regular exercise can also improve mental health and assist in stress relief.
Lower hormone levels during this stage of life can result in poor sleep quality and increase sleep disturbances such as night sweats and sleep apnea. Sleeping less can also aggravate existing menopausal symptoms.
Maintain a nighttime routine and sleep in a cool bedroom to manage menopausal symptoms. Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime and learn relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body.
You don’t have to endure menopausal symptoms that interfere with your ability to function normally. Many women manage menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy that can regulate changing levels of estrogen and progesterone and reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Other options to relieve symptoms include over-the-counter treatments and lifestyle strategies individualized to your specific symptoms.
Learn more about ways to thrive during menopause. Contact our Chicago or Northbrook, Illinois, office today to schedule a consultation.