World Menopause Day.
Yesterday was world menopause day, aimed at raising awareness of this often-ignored life stage in women.
Due to changes in hormone levels many women experience a range of symptoms at this time from joint pain and brain fog to hot flushes and night sweats and everything in-between. And, while these can be difficult to control and deal with, there are a number of strategies that can be taken to help ease these symptoms.
At the moment, it can be difficult to get access to healthcare, so doing what we can to take control of our own health is extra important.
Regular exercise can help reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health and bone & joint health.
Stress has been shown to exacerbate some symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes.
Changes in hormone levels mean that there is increased risk of heart conditions and osteoporosis.
Joints can become painful at menopause as a decrease in oestrogen levels can make tendons and ligaments less flexible and strong.
Bones become less dense also due to the drop in oestrogen levels.
This all seems like bad news, but the good news is that exercise can help to alleviate some or all of these symptoms. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy e.g. walking, cycling, swimming, pilates, dancing, yoga etc but do include some strength training in your routine as this is vital for bone building.
Maintain a healthy diet. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables can help to regulate hormone levels, improve heart and bone health and contribute to overall well-being. Avoid foods and drinks that are full of sugar and unhealthy fats. Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol. Drink lots of water.
Without a good night’s sleep we’re more likely to suffer from brain fog, general fatigue, heart problems and even chronic pain. Try to set up a good sleep routine, going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day. Avoid alcohol and try not to take caffeine drinks too late in the evening.
Take some time out.
And breathe…. give yourself some slack. We are not super human so try to take some time to yourself each day. Write it in on the schedule in the same way that you would pencil in all the other chores you have to do. Whether it’s to take a 20 minute walk, listen to music, read an article, chat to a friend, get a massage or just sit and take some breaths in and out, it’s important to take some time to reduce stress and allow the body and mind to have a break.
Remember that menopause is a normal life stage just like childhood or puberty and should not be feared as a terrible disease. Women should feel comfortable to talk about it and to take the steps necessary to gift themselves the time and resources to deal with it. So take some time out for yourself today and improve your self-care, you’re body will thank you for it!