Advice for a Healthy Menopause
Staying healthy during and after the menopause is important for both the relief of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and sleep disturbance, and to reduce the longer term risk of excess weight gain and osteoporosis due to low bone density.
Staying cool - Hot flushes and night sweats
Hot flushes and night sweats are experienced by nearly 50% of women and tend to occur in the first year after your periods have stopped. Their cause is not fully understood but they are linked to a rapid decline in hormones as the ovaries produce less oestrogen and progesterone.
To help with these symptoms it can be helpful to:
Wear lighter clothing and layers that can be easily removed
Keep your bedroom cooler at night
Try to reduce your stress levels
Avoid triggers like spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes
Symptoms are more severe in smokers and women who do little or no exercise.
Changes to hormonal balance during menopause can lead to mood swings, anxiety, lack of vitality and tiredness. Added to this is that menopause often coincides with major changes in a woman’s life such as caring for dying or ageing parents, divorce or ‘empty-nest’ syndrome with children leaving home.
Active relaxation can take many forms but ideally it should be something that fully engages your mind and body in unison. Switching off by just watching TV, reading a book or listening to music do not engage the mind and body fully. Good examples of active relaxation are:
It has been shown that women who regularly exercise suffer less severe menopausal symptoms and are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Regular, sustained and aerobic exercise have been shown to be the best for strengthening bones, joints and muscles and lowering the risk of bone density loss and fractures.
Smoking leads to earlier menopause, more severe hot flushes and poorer response to HRT medications.