Answers to Your Questions About Lifestyle Changes and Menopause
Q: What lifestyle changes are necessary during menopause?
A: Menopause brings with it a variety of changes in your body, which may necessitate lifestyle changes. Lower hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can cause issues such as night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain and insomnia among others.
You may find it necessary to exercise more and possibly change your diet to compensate for the natural weight gain during this time period.
Q: Why should I change my eating habits?
A: During menopause, your estrogen and progesterone levels may drop drastically. In an effort to compensate for the loss of estrogen, your body will try and produce more fat, since fat cells contain estrogen. Lower testosterone levels are also responsible for the “middle age spread”. Without the lean muscle that this hormone helps generate, your metabolism drops and the way your body utilizes the food you eat changes.
Exercise boosts the levels of serotonin in the brain, making you feel happier. This is a good way to combat depression which commonly begins during premenopause and continues throughout the process.
While some weight gain is nearly inevitable, you can prevent gaining too much weight by eating a balanced diet. It should include plenty of fruits and vegetables and you will want to avoid eating too many processed foods or refined sugars as these can cause an insulin intolerance during the menopausal years. Insulin intolerance is a common women’s health issue and it can cause excessive weight gain.
Q: Do I need to change my exercise routine?
A: If you don’t have an exercise routine, you will need to start one. Exercise is very important during premenopause and menopause and the earlier you begin, the better. By walking or taking an aerobics class on a regular basis, you lower your risk of osteoporosis. Interestingly, it has been proven that women who exercise regularly have less menopause challenges to deal with.
Q: How can natural hormones or natural progesterone cream help me?
A: Natural hormones such as progesterone can help create the balance that will alleviate perimenopausal or menopausal challenges and make the entire process more comfortable. A good natural progesterone cream is easy to use; you simply need to apply it to areas where the skin is thinnest for it to take effect. Natural progesterone helps relieve insomnia, night sweats and hot flashes.
Be sure to look for natural progesterone cream that does not contain a lot of unnecessary ingredients. There are many progesterone products that cause a variety of side effects which have nothing to do with the actual hormone, but are caused by the additives in the product.
Q: Are there herbal remedies that can help me deal with the changes?
A: Herbs can be a great help, particularly if begun during premenopause. Herbs such as black cohosh or St. John’s Wort help boost serotonin levels, easing depression symptoms caused by hormonal changes. Black cohosh is a estrogenic herb, meaning that it helps relieve the symptoms caused by drops in estrogen levels. EstroRenew is an excellent combination of Black Cohosh, red clover and chasteberry available that has been produced specifically to aid with perimenopause and menopause;
To fight insomnia, you might try chamomile and valerian root or SleepEase spray from Sprayology. Look for a product that is formulated specifically for perimenopause and menopause, it will contain the herbs most useful for this stage of life.
Q: Are there activities that I should avoid after menopause?
A: While you might find yourself more tired due to hormonal changes and the insomnia that may come along with them, there is no reason to change your activities.
Q: How can I prevent sleep problems caused by menopause?
A: Insomnia is one of the most common complaints of women going through premenopause and menopause. There are several natural aids to help you sleep, including valerian root. A hot cup of tea before bed can help too. In many cases, natural progesterone can help since the insomnia is often caused by the night sweats and hot flashes that women experience. Consistent use of natural progesterone may help relieve these problems and may allow you to sleep better.
©Alternative Medicine Network 2009
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