For women, hormones associated with sexual function and reproduction naturally start to decline leading up to menopause, and this is known as being perimenopause. I like to call it practicing for the menopause and it usually starts in your 40’s but can be earlier. It can be a far more disruptive time than the actual menopause (defined by not having a period for more than a year). Many of the symptoms associated with menopause can occur sporadically for several years beforehand. You may have no symptoms, but we should all think about adjustments that will protect our health through this period of our lives and beyond. This is the time to take care of you, being prepared will be time and effort well spent.
Think about your diet, shifts in hormone levels, can mean your weight increases more easily, this can bring risks to your health. No fancy diets required here, just eat a diet that consists of whole natural foods, unprocessed and low in refined sugars. Lots of fibrous fruit and vegetables and a balance of all food groups. Gain some knowledge around portion sizes as this helps with to not overeat. Limiting alcohol intake can help with weight control and help alleviate some symptoms of perimenopause.
Bone loss accelerates during and after menopause, if we get into the habit of exercising beforehand, we can slow down this process reducing our risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. Choose exercises such as yoga, tai chi, walking, running, dancing, resistance training with weights or using your own body weight. Try to mix it up to keep things interesting for you and your body. Muscle retention is also part of being active and can help support your bones as well as keeping you in tip top shape keeping other functions steady within the body.
Practice good sleep hygiene, setting a good bedtime routine up can help with the quality of your sleep as this can be affected during peri/menopause. Getting up and going to bed at the same time, set a curfew on electronics before bedtime, try not to have caffeine past mid-afternoon, or alcohol or food too close to bedtime at least a couple of hours before is best. Think about your bedroom environment, is it set up to aid a good night’s sleep?
Alcohol and smoking can make symptoms like hot flashes worse. Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol you may find that this helps alleviate these as well as protecting your bone health and lowing the risk of other health conditions developing.
Protect your mental health, you may notice things like feeling more anxious, poor memory, brain fog also occurs, and they can be really upsetting and hard to deal with. Find ways to support your mental health create me time give yourself space to relax, take part in something you enjoy, practice simple mindfulness techniques. Talk about how your feeling make sure you share with friends and family you will find some feel relieved, that they can also share similar experiences and help others to understand how you are feeling.
One You Lincolnshire provide FREE support for Lincolnshire residents looking to Eat Well, Stop Smoking, Move More and Drink Less. To register click here
Lisa Dean, Health Coach Lead
July 9, 2021