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Here’s What You Can Do to Make Life Easier During Menopause

Menopause Symptoms

Going through menopause can be hard—it can bring about a host of not-so-pleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, joint pain, and irregular periods [1]. Apart from these physical complications, menopause can cause certain psychological challenges such as mood swings, anxiety, or even depression [2].

However, it doesn’t mean you need to succumb to the pains and problems of menopause and let it make you feel dejected. There are some steps you can take to make the symptoms less uncomfortable and make your life easier while you pass through this inevitable phase of life. Today we are going to talk about lifestyle changes, food choices, and supplements that can ease your menopausal symptoms and offer you some relief when you need it the most.

First, some basics.

So, what is menopause? Menopause is the stage of a woman’s life that is marked through the end of her menstruation. It is diagnosed after 12 months has passed without a menstrual cycle and can typically happen during in the 40s or 50s [1]. Menopause presents a number of symptoms that arise due to the hormonal changes that take place during this phase [3]. These symptoms can certainly be bothersome but don’t let them make you feel disheartened if you’re currently going through this stage. Here’re some tips you can try to make your life a little easier.

Make some lifestyle changes to relieve menopausal symptoms

Lifestyle Change

Limit foods and drinks that can aggravate symptoms.

Spicy foods, and beverages like alcohol and coffee can trigger hot flashes [3]. It’s best to limit these foods and drinks to minimize the effects of hot flashes.

Drink plenty of water.

Now this might sound cliché but you need to keep yourself hydrated to relieve the discomforts of hot flashes.

Have a good night’s sleep.

We know this is easier said than done as many symptoms can make it hard to fall and stay asleep but enough sleep is critical to keep the symptoms at bay. Try limiting caffeine intake and create a calming wind-down routine to help you easily fall asleep. Use cotton bedding to keep your bed cool and keep ice water and ice packs next to your bed to use cool off night sweats.

Practice relaxation.

Make relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation a regular habit. These will help to calm irritability and anxiety attacks associated with menopause.

Make better food choices

Healthy food options

Calcium-rich foods

Bone loss and related pain is one of the major symptoms of menopause [4]. Calcium improves bone strength and helps to maintain healthy bones [5]. Foods that are high in calcium such as dairy milk, yogurt, and soy products [6] can provide required calcium amounts to keep your bones strong.

Leafy vegetables

Leafy veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and collard greens improve bone health while cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprout can help alleviate hot flashes [7]. Eating plenty of vegetables will also help in weight management.

Lean proteins

Proteins will help preserve the muscle mass but make sure you choose the leaner options such as chicken, turkey, tuna, and lentils. Higher fat versions can compromise heart health as they can elevate cholesterol levels.

Soy products

Soy is known to contain phytoestrogens—a plant chemical that mimics estrogen [8]. Studies show that soy can reduce hot flashes and night sweats in some women  and this is thought to be due to the presence of these estrogen-like compounds [7].

Consider taking one of these Supplements

Take supplements

Calcium

As we already said, calcium is vital for healthy and strong bones. You can fulfill almost all of your calcium requirement through the diet but you might need to take external supplements if you tend to avoid certain food groups such as dairy.

Vitamin D

You might need vitamin D supplements even if your diet is on point—especially if you don’t get enough sun exposure. Vitamin D also play an important part in bone health and it is vital for calcium absorption [7].

Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown to relieve a variety of menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and depressive symptoms [9]. Magnesium deficiencies has also been linked to bone diseases [9].  

A word of caution: Here we listed the most common supplements used during menopause but in reality, there are no universally-accepted supplements for menopausal symptom relief. Your requirement may vary and the best thing is to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

Wrapping up, going through menopause is not easy but try these simple lifestyle and diet modifications to make the symptoms less intense. Discuss with your doctor about the supplement requirements and available treatment options. They might not completely alleviate the symptoms but will make them more tolerable.

 

References:

[1]         “Menopause - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397

[2]         “Menopause and your mental wellbeing | NHS inform.” https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/womens-health/later-years-around-50-years-and-over/menopause-and-post-menopause-health/menopause-and-your-mental-wellbeing .

[3]         “Introduction to Menopause | Johns Hopkins Medicine.” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/introduction-to-menopause

[4]         “Primary osteoporosis in postmenopausal women - PMC.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5643776/ (accessed Sep. 10, 2023).

[5]         “Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance - Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097 .

[6]         “A Guide to Calcium-Rich Foods - Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation.” https://www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/a-guide-to-calcium-rich-foods/ .

[7]         “Menopause Diet: What to Eat to Help Manage Symptoms – Cleveland Clinic.” https://health.clevelandclinic.org/menopause-diet/ .

[8]         “Straight Talk About Soy | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/soy/

[9]         “Effect of magnesium supplementation on women’s health and well-being - ScienceDirect.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364621000079 .

 

 

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