It happens to every woman at some point or another– menopause. It is a transitional time in a woman’s life when her body undergoes significant changes and adjustments- mentally and physically. Although it’s not always possible to completely eradicate menopause symptoms, there are steps that can be taken to manage and alleviate them.
Hot flashes/ Night sweats [i]
Hot flashes are one of the most common menopause symptoms. They are believed to be caused by the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates temperature, sensing that the body is too warm and trying to cool it down. This causes a sudden reaction of being overheated. Thankfully hot flashes stop on their own but in the meantime there are a few things to do to make them more manageable.
- Keep ice water or another cold drink handy at all times to help cool off and stay hydrated.
- Take a cold shower before bed.
- Avoid silk or synthetic materials and instead wear cotton clothing and use cotton sheets.
- Carry a small personal fan to help cool off if a hot flash creeps up when you are out.
- Layer clothes to help regulate body temperature more easily if a hot flash occurs.
- Take measured, deep breathes to help calm you mind and body during a hot flash.
- Avoid spicy food. When your body isn’t responding well to heat internally eating spices foods doesn’t help.
Sleeping problems associated with menopause are twofold. The transition t menopause itself makes it more difficult to sleep because of the now out-of-whack of the sleep producing hormone, progesterone.[ii] Also, night sweating and hot flashes wake you up once you finally get to asleep. In addition to the tips for managing hot flashes you should also:
- Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.
- Set a night routine and a regular bed time.
- Exercise during the day and not right before bed time.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid large meals right before bed.[iii]
Mood changes [iv]
When going through menopause your hormones are all over the place. It can make you feel like you are no longer in control and cause excess stress and anxiety. The most important thing to remember is that your mood swings won’t last forever. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Proper diet and exercise can help regulate your mood.
- Complex carbohydrates found in peas, beans, and other foods help to raise serotonin levels and a little hot milk before bed can relax you.
- Alternative therapies like yoga and meditation can help reduce stress and level off your mood.[v]
Weight gain [vi]
Many women start to gain weight during menopause. The hormone imbalance in your body makes it more difficult for you to lose weight. Although it can be more difficult to maintain your weight during menopause, there are strategies to help you try and maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat healthy, but don’t deprive yourself. When you deprive your body of food your metabolism slows down making it easier for you to gain weight in the future.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less meats, cheese, and desserts helps to keep off the weight longer and increase your health overall.
- Excising. You don’t need to overdo it, but you should try to get in some type of exercise every day. Start out my going on walks and maybe include a few friends to make it more fun and help you stay on track.
[i] Diseases & Conditions http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/menopause/hic-non-hormonal-ways-to-cope-with-hot-flashes-and-menopause.aspx viewed July 31, 2013
[ii] Menopause and Insomnia http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/ask-the-expert/menopause-and-insomnia viewed July 31, 2013
[iii] Menopause and Sleep http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/menopause-and-sleep viewed July 18, 2013
[iv] Mood Swings during Menopause http://www.epigee.org/menopause/mood_swings.html viewed July 18, 2013
[v] Diseases & Conditions http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/menopause/hic-non-hormonal-ways-to-cope-with-hot-flashes-and-menopause.aspx viewed July 31, 2013
[vi] How to Ward Off Menopausal Weight Gain http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-sarver-dolgen/weight-gain-how-to-ward-off-menopausal_b_2885781.html viewed July 18, 2013
- Posted by holx-admin
- On November 13, 2013