Menopause comes with its share of unpleasant side effects. During this time of life, women may experience hot flashes, weight gain, changes in mood, and more.
Doctors often prescribe hormone therapy to relieve symptoms, but this comes with its own set of side effects. Fortunately, there are also lifestyle changes that make menopause more bearable. They may not eliminate the need for HRT, but they can decrease reliance.
So what are the lifestyle changes you should be making to reduce menopause symptoms? Read on to find out.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Menopause doesn’t necessarily cause weight gain, but the hormonal changes paired with lifestyle and genetic factors may make it difficult to keep weight under control. Research also shows that a healthy weight can reduce hot flashes symptoms. A study of 40 overweight/obese women revealed that a 10% weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in hot flashes.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly will reduce the chances of weight gain which can negatively affect health and increase the occurrence of hot flashes.
Staying cool will also help keep hot flashes at bay. Women can stay comfortable by wearing breathable clothing and dressing in layers that can be removed if they are feeling warm. They can also lower room temperature and use fans and ice packs when they get overheated.
There are certain triggers that are linked to vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes. These include spicy foods, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Minimizing or eliminating these items from your life will make menopause more tolerable.
Mind and Body-Based Therapies
There are several mind-and-body-based therapies that may reduce mood swings as well as anxiety that can bring on hot flashes. They include:
Exercise: Exercise boosts mood and decreases stress. It also helps keep weight under control making it effective in reducing hot flashes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy, which focuses on correcting unhealthy thought patterns, has been shown to improve sleep and well-being and reduce the impact of vasomotor symptoms.
Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises may reduce feelings of anxiety that occur with hot flashes, but they won’t reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Hypnosis: There have been limited studies on hypnosis’ effects on hot flashes, but research so far has shown it can improve sleep and hot flash interference.
Calcium is recommended for menopausal women as it reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Eat calcium-rich foods such as almonds, cheese, milk, yogurt, and salmon. It’s wise to accompany calcium with a vitamin D supplement which will aid with absorption.
Menopause is a difficult time of life for many women. The right lifestyle choices can ease symptoms so you can make a smooth transition. Which of these will you be trying when the time comes?