Getting Ready for Menopause
Menopause is a major change that happens in every woman’s life. Preparing for menopause can help you maintain better health and prevent the uncomfortable symptoms that often accompany this time.
Menopause refers to the complete end of menstruation, which typically occurs around age 50. However, perimenopause is the transitional period that precedes menopause, and it can begin as early as a woman’s 30s or 40s.
During perimenopause, levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone begin to change, which can contribute to symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Slower metabolism
- Low sex drive
- Thinning hair
- Brittle nails
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irregularity in menstruation
To get ready for symptoms like these and give yourself the best chances of staying comfortable and healthy as you go through perimenopause, it can help to:
Speak with a Doctor
Talking to a medical professional can help you develop a better understanding of the changes that are coming and how to stay healthy during your transition. Because the symptoms of perimenopause are tied to unbalanced hormones, a doctor who specializes in anti-aging medicine can be especially helpful.
Anti-aging treatments like hormone replacement therapy can help you avoid or relieve many menopausal symptoms by returning hormones to their proper levels. Estrogen is also responsible for protecting your heart and bones, so restoring this hormone can be a valuable step in maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing bone fractures.
Have a Plan
Many habits can help you safeguard your health and prevent symptoms as you prepare for menopause. Considering how to incorporate these habits into a personal plan will help you stay abreast of the changes ahead. Your plan can include:
Staying physically active can help you keep your heart healthy and your bones strong. Because menopause can also affect metabolism, physical activity can help you prevent the weight gain and loss of muscle mass that can occur during this time.
Most people should try to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense activity each week. Consider including things like:
- Cardiovascular exercises. Walking, cycling and swimming are all gentle cardio workouts that will help you maintain your heart health and keep your muscles strong.
- Strength training. Free weights, resistance bands and bodyweight exercises can help you keep your bones and muscles strong, which will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and weight gain.
- Flexibility exercises. Yoga and stretching can help you protect your joints and muscles. Activities like yoga can also offer relief from stress and anxiety.
A nutritious diet.
In general, a healthy diet should include lean proteins, whole grains and a variety of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. However, women preparing for menopause may also want to:
- Eat more calcium. This nutrient is crucial to bone health. Try to eat two to four servings of dairy, broccoli or legumes each day to maintain an adequate calcium intake.
- Eat less salt and bad fat. To protect your cardiovascular system, you should try to keep salt, saturated fat and trans fat to a minimum in your diet.
As you incorporate good habits like staying active and eating right, you should also try to break habits that can harm your cardiovascular and bone health, like:
- Smoking. Quitting tobacco is one of the most positive things you can do for your health at any age. It will reduce your risk of heart problems and numerous other medical conditions.
- Drinking. Try to keep your alcohol consumption as minimal as possible. If you decide to drink, avoid having more than one drink in a day, which is equal to a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof spirits.
Consistent health screenings.
In addition to seeing a doctor at the beginning of perimenopause, checking in regularly with a physician will help you ensure that every stage of the transition goes smoothly.
With the right plan and the help of an anti-aging specialist, you can stay healthy and comfortable during perimenopause and the rest of your life.