Every year, roughly 2 million American women enter menopause, a new phase of life that brings lots of changes — some positive, some … not so much.
Certainly, not having to worry about unplanned pregnancies and monthly periods is among the major bonuses of menopause. But other side effects — like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, and “brain fog” — are neither pleasant nor welcome.
The good news: You can take steps early to minimize the downside of menopause and reduce its symptoms. The key is to start during perimenopause, the months and years before menopause begins.
At The Center for Women's Health, our team offers compassionate, comprehensive menopause care for women in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia. That includes helping women get ready for the next big phase of their lives.
In this post, learn eight things you can do now to prepare yourself for menopause.
1. Get moving
Menopause increases the risks of several medical issues, including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis (loss of bone density), and weight gain. Regular physical activity reduces all these risks and helps you manage mood-related symptoms too.
Starting an exercise program isn’t always easy. Beginning in the years before menopause can help establish a routine before menopause symptoms kick in.
2. Optimize your eating plan
Your diet plays a role in your physical and emotional well-being. Making healthy changes now sets you up for better health as you get older. Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Look into multivitamins designed for older women.
3. Drop those extra pounds
Hormonal shifts make it harder to lose weight during menopause. Shedding those extra pounds before menopause can be a lot less frustrating. Plus, it can help reduce your risks of health issues, like heart disease, that tend to increase during menopause.
4. Learn stress management
Menopause is associated with mood-related changes ushered in by fluctuations in hormone levels. Dealing with hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep issues can also contribute to stress.
Learning to manage stress early — through meditation, yoga, or focused breathing, for instance — can help support your emotional well-being when menopause arrives.
5. Improve your sleep habits
Menopause increases your risk of sleep apnea, and drops in hormone levels can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Lack of quality sleep makes it harder to cope with menopausal changes and makes symptoms worse too.
Optimize your sleep habits and bedtime routine using these tips and reap the benefits for your health and well-being.
6. Learn all you can
Knowing what to expect during menopause puts you in control of your life and health. Read all you can about the stages of menopause, and learn about what menopause symptoms you might experience, like vaginal dryness, sleep problems, mood changes, and low libido.
7. Ask about treatment options
Our team offers an array of menopause treatment options, from lifestyle changes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We can also point you to support groups to help you cope and provide a place to share your experiences with other women in the same stage of life.
8. Stay on top of health needs
Menopause doesn’t mean you don’t need mammograms or pelvic exams anymore. Regular doctor visits help identify problems early so we can treat them before complications occur. These visits are a great time to ask questions, raise concerns, and discuss treatment options.
You can’t avoid menopause, but you might reduce or avoid its symptoms with a little planning. To learn how we can help, request an appointment today with the team at The Center for Women's Health.