Truth: Not every woman will give birth or have sexual intercourse. Yet every woman who lives to the expected life expectancy (86 in the United States) will experience menopause. Defined as the permanent end of menstruation, menopause is a turning point in women’s lives. As a milestone, it can have a large effect on a woman physical and emotionally. While menopause can bring symptoms of night sweats and hot flashes, irregular periods and difficulty sleeping, each women experiences menopause differently. Some women might experience seven years of uncomfortable hot flashes. Other women experience none to few symptoms. However physically disruptive menopause can be, it can also be the start of a rewarding, energizing, and creative season of a woman’s life.
Hormone therapy is certainly an option you’ll want to discuss that with your doctor. Call Creekside Center at 479.582.9268 to discuss menopause solutions with one of our caring physicians.
Here are eight other ways we recommend to guard against health risks and stay healthy after the “change of life”.
- Vitamins B12 and B6 – The average age of menopause is 51. Women over 50 need more of vitamin B12 to maintain blood and nerve health and vitamin B6 to help your body breakdown proteins. To get both, eat more eggs, fortified cereal, and red meat.
- Wear running shoes – Exercise is your best friend for dealing with menopause symptoms. The list of benefits is long – it helps build bones, improves mood, and reduces blood pressure. It eases tension and promotes restful sleep. Swedish researchers surveyed 793 women who had reached natural menopause. 14 to 16% of women who didn’t exercise experienced severe hot flashes; only 5% of those who exercised more than 2 hours a week did.
- Eating a Mediterranean diet – Increase your omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts, and canola oil, to help reduce hot-flash frequency and heart-disease.
- Try acupuncture – studies have found that acupuncture not only reduces frequency of hot flashes but also stress, anxiety, and pain.
- Breathe deeply – Stress triggers many women’s hot flashes. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can dial down the severity of length of hot flashes by 50%.
- Soy joy – Soy contains phytoestrogens, which gives similar, but weaker, effects as estrogen. Scientists have found that eating soy can reduce hot-flash frequency and severity. As a bonus, soy beans, lentils, chickpeas are also great sources of protein and fiber.
- Practice Safe Sex – Some women may think they don’t need to worry about safe sex because they don’t have a risk of pregnancy any more. Women over 50, however, are still vulnerable to STDs. If you have more than one sexual partner or have recently begun dating again, you need to be aware of the risk of these diseases and take necessary precautions to make sure you don’t become infected.
- Fewer calories – According to the USDA food guide, a woman over age 50 will need fewer calories than before 50. The number of calories you’ll need depends on how physically active you are. Essentially, you’ll need 1,600 calories if you have low physical activity; 1800 calories if you have a moderately active lifestyle, and 2000-2200 if you are active.
Menopause can be a rocky stage of life, but with a positive attitude, the next 40 years of life is only going to get better. Now is the time to do something you always wanted to try, but never had the time before. For example, you can learn the guitar, paint, volunteer, garden, or join a book club. Reconnect with an interest you had when younger. Take charge of your life and health. Schedule an appointment with Creekside Center to get more of your questions about menopause answered.
You can read more about menopause and perimenopause on an earlier blog post.
Do you have any other suggestions for how to handle the symptoms of menopause?