Lifestyle Modifications For Menopause

Table of Contents

Menopause is a natural process in women when their reproductive abilities end. It marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and with it come significant changes in the body. Menopause is a natural occurrence, but its associated symptoms can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are several steps that women can take to prepare for menopause and reduce the impact of its symptoms.

Physical Health

One of the most important things that women can do to prepare for menopause is to take care of their physical health. This plan includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. A healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the severity of menopause symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Diet & Exercise

A balanced diet is essential to maintain good health, and it can also help reduce the risk of certain health conditions associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Women should eat a diet rich in fruits, whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. They should also avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of alcohol.

Regular exercise is also crucial for good health, particularly as women approach menopause. Exercise can help to improve mood, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy weight. Women should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, including walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga.

Good Sleep

Getting enough sleep is also important, particularly as women approach menopause. Many women experience sleep disturbances during this time, which can exacerbate other symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. Women should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and create a sleep-conducive environment by keeping their bedrooms dark, quiet, and cool.

Emotional Health

In addition to taking care of their physical health, women should be aware of the emotional changes that can occur during menopause. Many women experience mood swings, irritability, and anxiety during this time, which can be challenging to manage. Women should take steps to manage stress and maintain their mental health, such as practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, seeking support from friends and family, or talking to a mental health professional.

Hormone Health

Finally, women should be informed about the options for managing menopause symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can effectively reduce hot flashes and other symptoms, but it is unsuitable for everyone. Women should talk to their healthcare providers to determine the best approach for managing their symptoms.

In summary, menopause is a natural process that all women will experience at some point. While it can be challenging to manage the symptoms associated with menopause, there are several steps that women can take to prepare for this transition. By caring for their physical and emotional health and staying informed about the options for managing symptoms, women can navigate this stage of life with greater ease and comfort.

Here we discuss with noted journalist Ann Marie Mcqueen, and her research on how to prepare for menopause.

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone, and happy Friday. Well, today, we bring up a fascinating topic. We generally don’t discuss it; we have not discussed it as perimenopause and menopause. This segment of women has been ignored, and we want to bring the limelight to it. Joining me is Ann. Ann is a noted journalist. And she has created a fantastic platform to cater to women going through menopause and perimenopause called heart flashes, and she’s also an author. Thank you so much for joining me. 

Journalist Ann: Thank you. Thank you very much. Yep, I started a platform. I wanted to; it’s called Hot Flash Inc, a newsletter and a podcast and all those things because we needed to focus on some of the research and some of the lifestyle stuff. After all, there are many polarities in the discussion, It’s like do it naturally or go HRT, and there’s vast space between that. 

Lifestyle Changes In Women During Mid-40s

NourishDoc: Yeah, and I have seen it, and it’s beautiful. Let’s focus a little bit on the lifestyle changes that happen to women entering their mid-40s. 

Journalist Ann: Well, I mean, I think what ends up happening is many women are saying, I didn’t know, I didn’t even know about perimenopause. I didn’t know what was going on. It’s not so much; it’s before you miss a period. Maybe your periods change, but you think I’m still getting my period regularly. So, it’s not that, but things can start to go awry for some women, and you can have sleep problems.

You can have fatigue, you can start getting headaches, and you can get a range of symptoms. Your periods change; they can be longer or shorter. You can have many mood issues, and many women talk about this time, being at the doctor and asking for help. No one knows what’s going on, and then, once, for me, once I missed a period, I was like, oh, okay, okay, I know what’s going on. One thing that happens is that you’re in your 40s.

You’ve lived your life a certain way, usually pretty high velocity, and then, you get in your 40s, and the things that you did to sort of calm down don’t work as well anymore; it doesn’t; you can’t like heavy HIIT workouts. They wear you out. You start to get burnt out. And I think that’s what ends up happening. Women hit a wall. And then they’re in perimenopause, and they don’t know it. And we’re also a little bit of denial, right? Because menopause still has a stigma. So I know it’s like, oh well, anything but that. Right? Like Anything but that. I’d rather have some other thing. 

Relationship Issues

NourishDoc: You are right, and also, I mean, when a woman is going in their relationship, right? Relationship with their spouse, if they are married, or with the kids, talk to us a little bit, the transition that happens, and then someone who has kids, the kids are leaving, right? There’s an emptiness syndrome that’s happening, and now with all these menopausal symptoms, and kids leaving and the spouse. 

Journalist Ann: Yeah, there’s a lot of empty nesters, but women have kids a lot later, so many women have kids Under ten at home. They’ve got aging parents. It’s the most demanding time in our careers, or people may need to be aged out of their careers. However, many people are just working, and it’s also a time if you have a had a long-term relationship that maybe you’ve built up that basement of things you have yet to discuss. Is this a relationship I want?

One of the things I interviewed is Lynette Shepherd. She had a website called Menopause goddesses, and they were in Hawaii. And they got a group of women. There were 15 or 16 of them together, just going through this perimenopause menopause thing. And they all agreed that you shouldn’t end your relationship until it’s over.

There was only one divorce out of that group, but there were many discussions about divorce. It’s not a time to do anything rash. You’re in a significant transition. Some people call it an upgrade, and I like that word. I like to think about it as your brain power diminishes. However, you’re like all parts of our body are entirely recalibrating.

Hormonal Changes

So think your body is constantly like estrogen going up and down. Your progesterone and testosterone are diminishing, and your body’s just constantly trying to figure out where to go and what to do. And it’s cognitive, it’s mood, it’s physical. So it’s just a perfect time to reevaluate your lifestyle. Like a lot, if you’ve been drinking wine to relax at night, that’s probably going to stop working for you, food, it’s an excellent time to eat whole foods and nourish yourself, and it’s just a good time to do everything nourishing and restful and things that will energize you and to realize that it’s temporary.

I pull everything out when I do a big cleanup of my kitchen stand. Then, it’s chaos, and you’re tired, but it will be like putting it all back together nicely. Because when you see women who’ve gone through menopause, gosh, they’re like, most often, I talk to women who’ve gone through menopause. They’re so centered, and they’re calm, and they’re energetic, and they’re happy. Like, I always say it’s going somewhere good. It is. 

Simple Strategies To Be Mentally Strong

NourishDoc: So, what do you recommend? You have a significant following on Insta and all the work that you’re doing. How do women manage this phase of their life? One is the physical part like we just talked about the estrogen and the progesterone, and then the physical changes happening; that’s number one. And due to that, there’s a mental part because now you’re not as energetic.

The physical changes that are happening in women’s life translate into relationships, every anything that’s happening physically will translate into mental relationships. How do you suggest some simple strategies or things women should do to navigate this turbulent time? Not turbulent like a rocky. But still a rough time. 

Journalist Ann: Yeah. For some moments, it’s nothing there’s 10 or 15% of women don’t have anything, but I think there is a soul shift because many of us have been caring for other people. Maybe we haven’t listened to our true selves. So, first of all, acknowledge that you might go through some growth and change and start becoming the person you are always meant to be and that maybe you haven’t. But I think it takes a pretty big approach. So, is my nutrition as good as it can be?

What things can I fix, reassessing the role of alcohol changing movement? I used to kill myself in the gym and do challenging Bikram yoga classes. Now, I do much walking, and I shifted to strength training because that’s good for preventing osteoporosis. It’s an excellent time to have sleep hygiene; make sure you’re not looking at that phone, and think about supplementing with magnesium. We can all use that, and most of the experts recommend it.

This is also a time and people, and people don’t talk about this. However, research has shown that adverse childhood experiences or trauma are not dealt with, which doesn’t mean you need to go to therapy. It just means you need to do a little bit of work to figure out what might be dogging you, what you might have been ignoring; doing a little bit of work because there is research that adverse childhood experiences undealt with can worsen and, sorry, exacerbate, perimenopause and menopause.

So, taking some time to work through those things can ease up many things happening in your mind; we’ve all known that feeling when you ignore and deny something. It always comes out. So I say the lifestyle and its experts are all over the place on hormone therapy; we’re pretty sure it is safe. But some doctors you’ll still go to, and they don’t want to give it to you until you’ve gone through menopause which is one year without your period.

So if you’re adamant and feel like you need it, you can find a doctor. It shouldn’t be too hard. Doctors don’t know a lot about hormone therapy. So, I recommend people do their research, but I think it is safe, and if you don’t want to go that route, it doesn’t always work for everyone either. So, clean up the lifestyle aspect, and I love this naturopathic Dr. Lara Bride. She is sort of a rescue remedy where she says daily walks. I would add to that in the morning with the morning she says magnesium and taurine, magnesium powder, and taurine at night and cutting out alcohol.

She has said that in her patients, that helps them with about 50% of their sleep, the night sweats, and the problem they have. Hot flashes and night sweats are a problem for many women. However, if you start tracking, you can see that as soon as things trigger them, as I’ve certainly talked to women who say they’re triggered by stress, I know they’ll be triggered for me by alcohol. Other people coffee, other people say, there are all sorts of things that can trigger them.

So, that’s also something to pay attention to, but it’s also just knowing that so many symptoms can happen and that you will ride it out. Usually, it’s like a sort of roller coaster. Like, I found that nothing lasts too long. Like, I’ve had, and I’ve had an itchy face for a couple of months like this, but I guess. That’s just, and there are many women on TikTok talking about itchy ears, and you wouldn’t put that two and two together.

There’s like, just knowing that there are so many symptoms, like, say, dentists will say that women have many gum problems, sore, inflamed gums, bleeding gums, you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t connect that; usually, Physiotherapists will say they see a lot of frozen shoulders, and we know there’s much joint pain and that kind of thing. So, watch sugar consumption because that can worsen physical body pain. 

How Can We Empower Women At This Stage?

NourishDoc: And to add, this is a support, like peer support; women-to-women support for each other can also help. The work you are doing is enabling or empowering women to have support. Do you want to talk about the support part? 

Journalist Ann: Yeah, well, I mean, look, it’s a bizarre time, and if you’re having symptoms and you don’t know what they are and you’re, we’ve all seen the headlines. I’m a journalist. I’ve seen many worst-case scenarios, like the person who had the one symptom and then died of whatever. So, I think I’m not like many women, though, where I’ll just be walking around thinking am I dying of this? Like, is there something in my head? Am I going to die?

And I think a lot of us are walking around like secretly really worried about our health, and you can’t run like, yes, we should get things checked out. We should get things checked out; if they’re new and different, and they’re pronounced. However, you can’t go running to the doctor every 5 minutes, like you; it’s just not practical, and so, that’s why it’s good to have friends that you can speak to and just honestly be like, okay, I’ve got like what like do you think this is anything and many friend groups, they don’t talk about it yet, because it’s still sort of, there is still stigma and people, people don’t want to admit that they’re going through it.

So, I’d say, if you’re friends. By the way, my friends talk about it now because I’ve been talking about nothing for a couple of years, but they weren’t talking about it either. Even when I started talking about it, so I found much solace in the Hot Flash Inc community; there are loads of group on groups on Facebook, there are funny videos on TikTok, and anything that can make you feel like, okay, like I’m not going crazy because I think that’s what a lot of us worry that we are sometimes. 

NourishDoc: No, I think you are right. People many women don’t want to talk about it because, for some reason, and like in pregnancy, when women are pregnant, they love to talk about it; it’s something to be proud of, and for some reason, when women are hitting this phase, I don’t know what it is, then maybe they’re not proud of.

Maybe they’re a little bit scared, just apprehensive, oh, now I’m going to get old, the changes, the physical changes, and also your hair sometimes thinning, your skin, all those and the fear of osteoporosis, dementia, relationships. There’s an unknown chartered, unknown territory that you’re entering, and you have no idea. 

Journalist Ann: Yeah. But I will say once you talk about it, I think everything in my experience in life, everything is so much better when you face it head-on. I just had a silly banking issue that I avoided for three weeks, making me uncomfortable. Then I went and assorted it out, and it’s okay. It’s so much better out. Like, it’s never as bad as you think, and when you talk, I mean, I thought, oh, I’m single too.

So, when I started, I was like, well, this will be the nail in the coffin. I’m never going to be at have a relationship, and I’m talking about menopause all the time. That’s going to be a complete turn-off, and that’s not true, either. No one; I’ve dated several people since I started this, and every guy’s just been like, oh? They’re our age, too, like they’re not, and if anyone would be a jerk about it, I think it’s their problem. So, I would encourage people to talk about it. It’s freeing. It’s not like you have to be in a business meeting and yell about menopause. However, it’s like bringing it up; people are relieved and excited to hear and talk about it. 

Andropause In Men vs. Menopause In Women

NourishDoc: I did want to mention that we women go through menopause, but I was researching yesterday. Men have their version of menopause called menopause, right? So, they’re also going through and need more energy. It’s not just the women; nobody talks about it because lives don’t want to talk about it. Right? That they have confidence. 

Journalist Ann: Yes. I want to do more on this. I have friends who are like don’t do men people that are anti-men these days. They’re like, no men get all the attention. I’m like; they do what they don’t because we still can’t talk about men’s mental health very openly. And men do go through andropause. And I think all of us might be having a more challenging time. There’s a theory that there’s an evolutionary mismatch in which so many things are coming at us that we’re just less equipped to handle.

That’s one theory, but it’s happening to men too. It’s called andropause. It happens at a much slower pace. Their testosterone diminishes. They can have hot flashes too, and they can have lots of problems. I don’t know whether you’ve been hearing the term low T; that’s a term I’ve been hearing lately, and men are going on hormone therapy.

So it’s something for both people to pay attention to, like, it’s no longer this, like, my wife’s going through menopause. She’s going to grow a mustache, and I’m just going to be like the same awesome person, like, hormonal issues are striking all of us, so, yeah, I’d like to do a lot more about that with men because they think it’s poorly understood. I know men, and they’re several men in their forties who struggle, who are struggling, struggling with mood, struggling with adverse childhood experiences, and feeling good gut tissues.

Gut Health In Menopause

Gut issues are a huge thing, and I would say maybe the first thing to look at because I think if your gut is not, a lot of us have, the food, the food weed isn’t great, it’s all been sprayed with lipoate like all the crops like many things were going on in our guts. Suppose people could focus on their gut and get it in good shape. In that case, they will be much better regarding their menopause and perimenopause symptoms. I know I had a gut issue. The symptoms are very similar to perimenopause, like brain fog and bloating; bloating is a big perimenopause. However, I’ve been a lot once I sorted the gut issue out. I’ve been a lot better, and that goes for men too. 

NourishDoc: Okay. Well, this is great; I love the way you said that the men and the women, both of them are going through these changes, or physical changes as well as mental changes. We should talk about it often when we deal with anything head-on. It’s almost more accessible and better, and you’ll feel lighter. And we don’t talk about it in our society. And to your point. 

Journalist Ann: Just will this be more open about it? We talk about puberty all the time. You’ll see like a kid, and it’s like, oh, she’s almost, and he’s going through puberty, and it’s like nothing. It’s like; I don’t know why. And animals go through this too. People always say it’s only whales. It’s not only whales. It’s just that they haven’t. I’m convinced that they haven’t studied animals closely enough. I’ve read a study that giraffes go through it. Several kinds of whales.

I read a story of a veterinarian in the UK who said dogs go through it. They’re often fixed, but they’ll still go through it even when they’re fixed. And I think if they start studying long-living turtles, and parrots, you might start seeing many animals going through it. We’re just on the cusp of knowing and discovering so much more about it because women’s health is under research. And I’m just so excited to find out whether my cat will go through menopause.

Testosterone & DHEA Role

And I’m excited to learn what role testosterone and DHEA play. There are so many things to find out. And a lot of there’s a there’s quite a lot of links being drawn between cardiovascular disease, dementia, and osteoporosis is it tied up with menopause. But it’s sometimes in the discussion online. It makes it seem like menopause causes those things. Sorry, my cat’s getting in on the conversation. I don’t know that menopause causes any of those things. It can put us at greater risk due to this recalibration I was talking about. However, paying attention to this is essential because we are at risk for dementia more than men. And cardiovascular disease is something that can be a killer for us too. 

NourishDoc: And I don’t think it’s a switch. No, it’s not just a switch, like, a woman is, the period stops coming at age fifty, whatever, fifty-two. It’s not a switch that the day your period is gone, now suddenly you’re going to have dementia issues or a cardiovascular. It stems from how well you have taken care of yourself in your early twenties, 30s, or even 40s. Then that can translate into some problems that we are talking about today. 

Journalist Ann: Yeah, and they’re working; we’re going to see more and more of this moving forward, but this is a time of life. I think; here’s one link. This is a time of life when we’re much more susceptible to becoming insulin resistance and insulin resistance like the precursor to type 2 diabetes which is a terrible risk factor for all sorts of diseases, including cardiovascular disease. I don’t know that people always connect the dots. It’s not just that it’s menopause and this and dementia; well, many factors go into dementia.

The conversation in the media seems to have honed in on estrogen, and I’ve even seen articles that say, is menopause the reason for dementia? No, there’s a ton of, there’s a ton of reasons. There are a ton of things you can do, exercise being, like, one of the number one things, keeping yourself busy and challenged, having good relationships. There are so many things, nutrition, all of it, sugar, but yeah, like estrogen is the, it is something that can, people are talking about as being very protective for the brain.

It’s very confusing, but I bristle when people make it seem like menopause is some disease. Like it’s very natural. It’s the other side of puberty. It can be tricky. We might need help. But they’ve studied that when you think about it negatively, it can make it worse. And we know that in our lives. And we dread something instead of approaching it with a state of curiosity, and it makes a difference in how the experience unfolds. 

NourishDoc: This is quick. This is great bringing it out and talking about it. We bring these sessions daily, and we will start focusing more on women who are forty-plus and will also include men. Do you want to talk about anything before we wrap up today? This is a quick 10-15 minute session that we bring daily to be aware of each topic. 

Lifestyle Modifications Vs. Hormone Therapy

Journalist Ann: That’s amazing. Well, it’s important to trust yourself. What I see a lot on social media is people just like picking an expert and like we all want a quick fix. We all want to say, I want to take this and be done with it, and I don’t know that this is one situation in our life that we should necessarily do. It’s a time to be thoughtful, listen if you’re going to be on social media, listen to a range of people, and use your common sense.

We’ve been all around for a long time. We have much wisdom. This is when we figure out what is best for us, and we don’t need to tomorrow what to do. For example, I’m thinking about hormone therapy, but I’m thinking about it. I’m to me, it’s good for you, and it’s safe, but to me, to go on something that I have to get every month and take every day like, these are essential things to consider. I don’t do any of that lightly. I know what I feel in my heart, and I’m trying to be more in tune with my intuition, which is great about this time of life.

So, take your time. Choose your experts wisely. If you’re on social media, stay away from that. People shout at you to do one thing or another because we don’t need any of that. And don’t suffer in silence. Talk to people. Talk to people. And find a doctor that knows about menopause. I think it. One recommendation is that it takes work for some people to find a doctor. For example, in Canada, it’s impossible, but even if you’re the menopause expert there who knows about menopause. And if they don’t know, you must learn about it yourself. And that’s okay. I’ve got lots of information. You can print it out and say what about this? Leave it with the doctor. Let them think about it. You have to take charge. This is our time to be responsible for everything; everything will be better if we do that. 

NourishDoc: Well, thank you so much, Ann, for being with us. This topic needs more discussion and openness. Then it needs to come out in the sense that we should be talking about it the way we talk about puberty, pregnancy, and so many other things. We talk about this as a society, only some of the world. The exciting fact is that there could be $1 billion women who will be perimenopausal and menopausal all over the world, $1 billion. And then that’s it. Many women want to talk about it, but nobody wants to talk about that. 

Journalist Ann: More than ever before. That’s a tipping point, and that’s why everything’s changing. Everyone’s paying attention to it. Yeah. 

NourishDoc: Well, thank you so much, Ann, for joining me. Thank you. Yes, everyone else. Please keep supporting us; we are developing many programs and workshops for women of this age. 


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