4 Tips to Take Care of Your Body During Menopause

Irritability, weight gain, bloating, insomnia, and hot flashes – these are just part of life during perimenopause and menopause, right?  No!  It does not have to be this way.  Perimenopause and menopause begin on average for women in their 40s or 50s.  During this time, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone levels fluctuate and ultimately decline. Many women struggle for years with symptoms related to these hormonal shifts, but do not realize there are natural steps you can take to support your body. Below I will discuss four easy ways you can begin today to help reduce or prevent these symptoms.

1. Weight Training
As women, we generally begin to lose significant muscle mass starting as early as 30-years-old. With menopause averaging for most women in their 40s and 50s it is imperative to maintain adequate muscle mass through weight training, even before hitting this stage. Building muscle mass can help support your metabolism, prevent menopausal weight gain, help maintain bone density and improve your energy levels.  If you have never added weight training to your lifestyle, it is not too late.  Start now and work with a trainer to help build your muscle mass and prevent injury.

Add or maintain weight training 3-4 times per week.

2. Manage Stress
I know, I know, you have heard it before. However, sometimes the simplest things are the easiest to forget and the most important for your overall health. Managing stress is very important when it comes to menopausal symptoms.  High stress increases your cortisol levels which can actually decrease your estrogen and progesterone accelerating menopause.  Stress itself can increase hot flashes, cause weight gain, insomnia and irritability. Stress might be there in your life so find ways to support your body during stress.  You can try meditation, journaling, or yoga: just make sure you make yourself a priority.

Add daily mindfulness to help support your stress hormone.

3. Sleep
Make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Less or poor quality sleep puts your body in a state of stress and throws off two very important hormones for your weight: leptin and ghrelin. When leptin and ghrelin are not working correctly you have more sugar cravings and easily gain weight.  Sleep is important for so many aspects of your health it is imperative this is a priority. During menopause many women have issues with insomnia due to hot flashes or anxiety.  It can sometime be difficult to regulate sleep during menopause so here are three of my favorite tips to help promote sleep quality:

Get into bed around the same time each night, try adding in 5-10 minutes of meditation before bed and take magnesium glycinate 400 mg.

4. Limit Sugar
Sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as white breads, pasta, and baked goods, can create blood sugar spikes, promote constant cravings, irritability, creates weight gain and even can induce hot flashes. By limiting these foods in your diet and focusing more on proteins and healthy fats (such as coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, avocado, walnuts) you can maintain a healthy weight and help stabilize your hormones. Also consider substituting complex carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa which create less blood sugar spikes.  Caffeine and alcohol can also exacerbate hot flashes so during perimenopause and menopause limit these items as well.

Eat a balanced diet limiting sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and caffeine.

Perimenopause and menopause can be difficult life stages for many women, but it does not have to be this way!  By following these tips, you can support your body in an effort to reduce any negative symptoms.  If you are still struggling with symptoms, make sure you have your health care provider evaluate your hormone levels.  Some women will benefit from herbal hormonal support or bioidentical hormone replacement.  Here at CentreSpringMD we want to make sure you are thriving during this stage of your life!

To optimal health,

Christina Grace FNP-C

Christina Connors Grace is a certified family nurse practitioner and registered nurse. She brings a passionate, caring approach to patient care with a wealth of experience in women’s and family medicine.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Christina Connors Grace.

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Categories: Menopause, Women's Health