Is menopause a nightmare?

I haven't have mine yet but I talked to my mother and friends and did some research in order to be prepared.

Is menopause a nightmare?

Most women enter menopause when they are 48-55 years old. I remember my mom when she had hot flashes out of nowhere. She was wearing t-shirts in winter and we were regularly finding her running to the window to gasp some fresh air. Flashes and weight gain are the most common symptoms caused by the hormone change in the body. What happens is that oestrogen and progesterone production in the ovaries drop and lead to a stop of the menstrual cycle.

How long does Menopause last?
Menopause can last anywhere between 10 months and 4 years. According to the definition, a woman only entered menopause after she didn’t have her period for an entire year.

Is there anything I can do to avoid hot flashes?
Yes there is indeed. This rush of heat may be triggered by alcohol or coffee. Drinking moderately and stop smoking will definitely help. Spicy food is an other factor known to lead to flashes. But mostly you may want to avoid stress with the help of yoga and sports.

What is the importance of sports during menopause?
Exercising is not only important to help you keep weight under control, it is also essential to keep your bones healthy. The decline in oestrogen production can affect the amount of calcium in your bones, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. Taking vitamin D supplements and eating calcium rich foods like milk, cheese and dark leafy greens may help. But mostly working out with weights will help your body maintain healthy bones.

How can I prevent weight gain?
The hormone change makes women feel like their metabolism slowed down. Of course the age is an other contributing factor. However, the solution for staying fit doesn’t change if you are a teenager or in menopause. This is what you should do to stay in shape:
– Eat a balanced diet that includes lots of plant based foods
– Stay away from refined sugar and fast food
– Walk 3-5 times a week for 50 minutes
– Exercise 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes

Do hormone replacements or alternative therapies help?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most widely prescribed treatment for menopausal symptoms. As its name suggests, it is a simple way of replacing the oestrogen and progesterone hormones. HRT aims to relieve menopause related symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disorders and osteoporosis. Some women report unwanted side effects such as breast tenderness, leg cramps, nausea and depression though. Research also has raised concern that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and even heart disease. This is why women have been reaching out to alternative therapies for menopause. Studies conducted in women with low mood showed no difference after an acupuncture treatment. There was also absolutely no evidence that Chinese herbal medicine or other herbal treatments including Ginseng had any benefit in menopausal symptoms. Those who have turned to yoga for relief have found that while asanas may not directly influence oestrogen production, specific postures can help control unpleasant symptoms.

In the end of the day, every woman needs to find out what works best for her. But what we should all do is embrace this phase of our life (after all it means no period pain anymore right) and dedicate our body some extra attention and love