How To Deal With Effects of Menopause on the Body

The onset of menopause can have many different side effects for individuals. Menopause is unavoidable so how can you best deal with the negative effects it can have on your body?

For some lucky people, menopause is just a phase that they sail through with very little side effects.  However if you are here reading this, my guess is the opposite is true for you.  One of the major hormonal shifts during the menopause is the reduction of our estrogen and progesterone hormones. Your body becomes more reliant on the production of these hormones from your adrenals rather than you ovaries. The side effects of Menopause from hormone imbalance are: irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, excessive sweating and anxiety.

Some tips to reduce the effects of Menopause

Eat and drink right

The foods that you eat can have a direct impact on your hormones and how your body looks and how your body and mind feels.  Your hormones are no longer the same as your 20/30 yr old self, therefore you can’t get away with certain foods in the same way that you used to.  

Any food or drinks that raises cortisol (stress hormone) in your body is going to be doing so at the detriment of estrogen and progesterone production.  Avoiding Caffeine, Alcohol and processed foods can help reduce the side effects of menopause.  Increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits can help increase phytoestrogen which has a positive impact on your hormones.

Soy products can help increase estrogen and reduce the side effects of the menopause, but make sure there is not a family history of cancer.  Consult with a medical practitioner before starting a high soy diet.

Exercise

Anything that is going to help reduce stress is going to help.  If you find exercising stressful, the thought of it and even the doing of it!  Then find another form of exercise that you enjoy: walking, yoga, pilates, swimming etc. 

Exercising during menopause will improve your physical and mental health.   You just need to make sure that it’s also reducing the stress in your system.  The effective impact aerobics you did in your 20’s is probably not going to be effective now.  Your body and hormones are different, so it makes sense that your exercise should be different.

It is really important to start some form of strength training, as your risk of osteoporosis increases with menopause. Increasing the physical demand on the muscles puts more strain on the bones. This forces the bones to grow stronger to cope with these increased demands.   

Self-care

Menopause comes with hormonal and physical changes, which can also change our anxiety/stress levels.  Our bodies don’t behave how they always have done and that can feel like we are losing control.  Our anxiety levels can be higher for no real reason, apart from one very good reason – a lack of progesterone.  All of a sudden we can feel like we are not coping with everyday situations like we used to.

Share your feelings with people around you and build a support network. Learn to breathe properly, 10 deep full breathes a couple of times a day. This can reduce cortisol which then gives the adrenals a chance to increase estrogen and progesterone.

Try my eating and exercise tips from above for 4 weeks and if you still feel down then visit your doctor or a psychologist. 

To sum up

For every single woman dealing with Menopause, you need to understand that the effects of menopause can be minimised. The transition will be a little smoother if you are eating the right nutrition, exercising regularly, taking time out to breathes and destress.  These may seem too simple, however don’t underestimate the big impact simple changes can make.

Also if you are looking for exercise recommendations or a program to deal with the effects of menopause contact nicki@fitnessfaster.com.au