If you google for perimenopausal symptoms you get a whole laundry list of symptoms. Enough to get you depressed. The menopause is often depicted as the end for a woman to be of interest or desirable. And at times it can feel that way when you are having night sweats, start forgetting things, having issues with sex, feeling depressed and can’t sleep.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The menopause is the start of a new period in your life, that can be quiet exciting. You are free from periods and all it entails physically and emotionally. The kids are grown up and they go there own way. So this is the time you can let out your inner wise woman and create a new phase in your life.
Perimenopausal symptoms are typically a Western issue. In the East the women hardly have any menopausal symptoms. There is no word in Japanese for “hot flashes” for instance. It is mostly a lifestyle issue. If you have a lot of symptoms, it means you need to urgently change your lifestyle. See it as a blessing instead of a curse. Your body is trying to tell you that you need to change your ways and what may have worked before, doesn’t necessarily work any longer. Acceptance is key. Here are some tips.
1. Exercise is so important. Especially strength training. It is a necessity for bone health, preserving and building muscle, improving insulin sensitivity, helps with depression, better sleep, feeling better about yourself. And of course to help you drop weight or keep your weight in check. Combine it with short interval training or trampoline exercise. With exercise alone I kept the first 2 years hot flashes and night sweats at bay.
2. Clean up your diet. Eat mainly natural, seasonal, organic foods. Use processed foods to a minimum. Sugar is not your friend. Stop snacking. Stick to 3 meals a day. Accept that you can’t eat what you use to do if you don’t want to gain 10 pounds or more. There is a lot written about eating soy products being good for menopausal women. I am not convinced and most soy products are just junk food. If you want to eat soy products, stick to natural fermented soy, like tofu and tempeh.
3. Stop drinking coffee. Coffee increases hot flashes. It disturbs sleep. Makes you depressed and also causes weight gain. Caffeine activates the fight/flight system and it depletes your adrenal system. You need to keep your adrenals in great form, because they are taking over the hormonal production of the ovaries. Any form of caffeine or stimulants depletes your adrenal system.
4. Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases hot flashes and night sweats. It interrupts your sleep and especially your deep sleep. It is a depressant, it makes you gain weight. It damages your brain. If you can’t stop it, drink only on rare occasions. Quit smoking falls in the same category. There is nothing healthy about smoking, so I don’t have to mention much about that.
5. Stress is not your friend. And you may have noticed that you have become more stress sensitive. As explained in point 3. your adrenals are taking over the hormonal production of the ovaries. Genius, isn’t it. The body has thought of everything. However it didn’t expect that we live in a highly stressed society 24/7. It is the stress of our jobs, our relationships, money problems, drinking coffee, alcohol, eating junk food, watching movies, listening to fear mongering media, illness and what ever else is stressing you out. Stress management is essential during this phase of your life. See what you can do to dissolve the stresses in your life. Meditation helps, exercise helps, eating good food helps, stop watching TV/media helps. I take ashwaganda. It helps to support your adrenals.