Menopause: A New Season of Life
Menopause is often painted to be this time where women are undergoing intense changes which cause mood fluctuations, severe hot flashes, sleep issues and more. To be fair, some of these symptoms can occur, but they do not have to be debilitating to the point where they drastically affect your quality of life. There is a stigma associated with the experience of menopause, as per our Menopause at Work Survey. It is important to normalize the discussion of menopause as a season of life and to affirm that it is not something that you have to suffer through.
Food and Lifestyle:
In terms of general lifestyle changes, it would be wise to layer clothing which is easy to remove in the case of a sudden “hot flash”. With changing estrogen levels, there are also increases in blood cholesterol parameters. For this reason, there can be a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a resistance to weight loss. One of the well-studied styles of eating for menopause is the Mediterranean diet, which incorporates healthy fats (eg. cold-water fish, nuts and seeds), complex carbohydrates (eg. vegetables, fruit, and whole grains), and lean sources of protein . Additionally, having appropriate forms of movement and stress-management strategies can be helpful.
Bone health is incredibly important because as estrogen levels decrease, the activity of the cells which build bone decreases which can result in poor bone production. Weight-bearing exercise is important to cause the stress on the muscles and bone tissue necessary to improve bone production. This includes brisk walking, weight-training, and playing sports. Furthermore, you might consider increasing your dietary intake of the nutrients which contribute to bone mineral density, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D3 .
There is always more that can be done to help regulate the changing hormone levels to decrease the severity of menopause symptoms. This often includes herbal extracts which modulate reproductive and stress hormones, such as rehmannia, peony, and chaste tree . Speak with your healthcare practitioner about what may be best for you.
1. Alkhatib, A., Markos, K. (2014). Effects of exercise training and Mediterranean diet on vascular risk reduction in post-menopausal women, Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation. 57(1), 33-47.
2. Jackson, R.D., LaCroix, A.Z., Gass, M., Wallace, R.B., Robbins, J., Lewis, C.E. et al. (2006). Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures, New England Journal of Medicine. 354(7), 669-683. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa055218
3.Li, M., Hung, A., Binh-Lenon, G. & Hong Yang, A.W. (2019). Chinese herbal formulae for the treatment of menopausal hot flushes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, PLos One. 14(9), e0222383. https://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0222383