Menopause is an important phase in a woman’s life when menstruation cycle ceases permanently. This causes severe hormonal changes in the body as women tend to stop producing the hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Menopause usually occurs between 45 to 55 years of age but due to current lifestyle and stress, it is seen that women may undergo perimenopause or early menopause before 40 years of age.
Menopause usually lasts for few years during which a woman experiences numerous symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, tiredness, night sweats, insomnia and irritability. The prevalence of menopausal symptoms in Indian women was found to be 47%, which means almost half of the women experience the symptoms of menopause. To deal with these symptoms, most women tend to take supplements and follow natural remedies for relief. Here are a few simple tips to manage the symptoms of menopause naturally.
Tips To Manage Menopausal Symptoms
1. Eat foods rich in phytoestrogens
The symptoms of menopause are attributed to lack of estrogen in the body. So it is advised to eat foods rich in phytoestrogen which are compounds obtained from plants which mimic the effects of estrogen. Phytoestrogens bind with the estrogen receptors in the body and help maintain the balance of the hormone estrogen thereby helping to fight hot flashes. Foods that are high in phytoestrogens include soybean, tofu, soy products, flax seeds, sesame seeds, linseed, and beans.
2. Say NO to trigger foods
Foods such as caffeinated beverages, alcohol and coffee can act as triggers for hot flashes. Excess of caffeine acts as a diuretic which can disturb the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Moreover, it can also stimulate the nervous system which in turn can worsen the symptoms of menopause. Also, reduce the intake of processed foods and foods loaded with sugar as these can cause sudden changes in the blood glucose levels which can make you irritable and lethargic.
3. Exercise regularly
The health benefits of a regular exercise regimen ranges from improved stamina and metabolism to stress relief and healthier bones. And the same rule applies to postmenopausal women. Hot flashes in postmenopausal women occur due to low level of estrogen in the body as it impacts the thermoregulatory and vascular function. But exercising regularly is known to improve thermoregulatory control by improving the blood flow to the skin, brain and other parts of the body, relieving hot flashes.
4. Take nutritional supplements
In addition to hormonal changes, there are numerous physiological changes that happen in the body with menopause such as low calcium and Vitamin D levels. Also, there are changes in the normal gut flora which happens after menopause. These changes can put you at risk of osteoporosis, digestive woes and malnutrition. Hence, it is advised to take vitamin supplements to prevent the risk of health complication post menopause and also improve the symptoms of menopause.
5. Try yoga and meditation
The health effects of stress can also be seen in women post menopause. One of the key reasons for worsening of menopausal symptoms or the occurrence of premature menopause is stress. Hence, it is important to get rid of stress during this phase as it can impact you physically as well as mentally. To relieve stress, try different yoga asanas which help calm the mind and body. You can even join a hobby class or practice meditation to fight stress.
6. Lose weight
Most women tend to gain weight post menopause which could be due to age, changing lifestyle, hormonal imbalance or genetics. But whatever is the cause of weight gain, gaining excess weight, especially around the abdomen, is not good for the health. Being overweight or obese not only affect your symptoms of menopause but also increase your risk of heart disease and chronic conditions such as diabetes. According to a 2012 study, postmenopausal women who lost around 5 kgs or 10% of their body weight over a year, were at a low risk of experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.
7. Drink enough water
During menopause, women tend to experience vaginal dryness which could be due to a decrease in the level of estrogen hormone. Drinking water not only prevents dehydration but also helps in relieving the symptoms of menopause such as dryness and hot flashes. It also helps in reducing the bloating which occurs due to hormonal changes in the body. Also, drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is good for overall health including weight loss.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
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