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What Lifestyle Changes Should I Make During Menopause?

When you are in any stage of menopause, your hormones are constantly fluctuating. It’s very common to experience many of the 40+ symptoms of menopause and have them morph over time. There are many lifestyle modifications you implement to both reduce the impact of menopause symptoms, as well as improve your lifespan and quality of life. The areas on which to focus include diet, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, and keeping your vagina and vulva healthy. 

Diet Diligence

Eating right during menopause can help reduce symptom flare-ups and also help with weight control, especially around the middle. Below are some basic recommendations, but for more in-depth information, please read Menowar’s Changing Your Diet During Menopause blog.

  • Consume a well-balanced diet that includes complex grains and whole foods, fish, high-protein foods, fiber, healthy unsaturated fats, a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and calcium-rich foods.
  • Drink water regularly, aiming for at least 80 ounces a day.
  • Minimize processed and fatty foods, sugary beverages and desserts, caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, as these can be menopause symptom triggers.

Exercise Enthusiastically

Exercise is crucial during mid-life to reduce menopausal symptoms and maintain a healthy weight and body shape.

  • Aim for at least 150 to 180 minutes of exercise per week and divide your time between activities that mix in cardiovascular health, strength, balance, and flexibility. 
  • Pursue cardiovascular activities like running, cycling, elliptical training, or swimming for heart health and weight management. If you prefer, you can also get much-needed movement by taking a 20 to 30-minute brisk walk outside or by doing house or yard work.
  • Incorporate strength training to maintain muscle mass and bone density to prevent osteoporosis. Try lifting heavy weights once or twice a week to start.
  • Consider working out with a partner, friend, or family member to stay motivated and accountable. Plus, socialization will help with your positive mindset and mental health. 
  • Exercise earlier in the day so your body is not too stimulated at bedtime. 

Practice Mindful Menopause Moments

Menopause can be a stressful time, and you want to have calming activities to reduce cortisol levels and prevent inflammation. Take some peaceful “me moments” to manage stress and anxiety and improve sleep.

  • Practice mindfulness through meditation, breathwork, or sensory experiences like walking in nature or aromatherapy. Try to “turn off” your brain and follow your senses and heart!
  • There are a variety of yoga forms and styles, all of which generally involve physical poses or movement sequences, conscious regulation of breathing, and mindfulness techniques to increase present awareness and positivity. 

Sleep Soundly

Quality sleep is essential during menopause for overall well-being. Addressing your vasomotor symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats – is a major step. There are also a number of sleep hygiene tips that can help increase your likelihood of getting the rest you need.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time daily. This will help regulate your circadian rhythm and maintain your cortisol/melatonin balance.
  • Stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime to avoid digestion issues at night. Similarly, limit alcohol or caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. 
  • Break away from your electronic devices at least an hour or two before bedtime. The blue light is a known sleep disruptor. 
  • Take a warm bath or shower before you start getting ready for bed and/or try a decaffeinated, herbal tea to get into relaxation mode.
  • Make sure your room at night is cool and wear light clothing. Have a fan nearby in case you get warm.
  • Cut out the ambient light and keep your room dark. 
  • Try a white-noise maker if it helps distract you from outside noises or play calming music as you are trying to fall sleep.

Keep Your Vagina Moisturized

You may find that the vagina and vulva get very dry and irritated during menopause. Vaginal moisturization during menopause is crucial as your natural lubrication decreases. There are a number of tips to keep “down there” feeling better. 

  • Using over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers that are designed to help achieve a normal vaginal pH and restore normal vaginal flora. 
  • Regular sexual activity is important to maintain the thickness and moisture of vaginal tissues, as well as the overall health of the vagina. It’s helpful to use silicone lubricants, instead of water-based ones, to reduce friction and irritation. 
  • Over-the-counter probiotic pills are good for maintaining a healthy vaginal flora and pH to protect against urogenital infections. 
  • Avoid products with fragrances and dyes including bath soaps, lotions, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, panty liners, pads, and tampons. Simply using warm water and patting the area dry will keep the vulvar area clean without irritating the skin. 
  • Baking soda soaks sometimes help relieve irritation. Soaking in lukewarm (not hot) bathwater with 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda 1-2 times per day for 10-15 minutes can help soothe vulvar itching and burning. 

In summary, while you can’t control the onset of menopause, there are many actions you can take to manage the impact of the symptoms and live a healthier lifestyle. 

If you have any questions or want to work with Menowar on a customized menopause plan for you, schedule a free consultation here.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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