How to reduce menopause symptoms
Females pass through multiple life phases: infancy, puberty, the reproductive phase, pre-menopause, menopause, post-menopause, and the elderly years. Each of these phases affects a female differently. With your hormones constantly fluctuating, do you know what to expect from your menopausal phase or how to handle the changes?
- Menopause is a period that signals the end of menstruation and the fertile period in people with uteruses and ovaries.
- Symptoms of menopause include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and the absence of menstruation.
- Things you can do to address or reduce your menopause symptoms include managing your weight, eating more fruits and vegetables, and taking hormonal supplements.
People with ovaries typically enter menopause when they are in their 40s and 50s. For those in the U.S., the average age that menopause occurs is 51 years. According to the National Institute on Aging, the menopausal transition often starts between ages 45 and 55, after which females enter post-menopause.
Menopause is a period in life that signals the end of menstrual cycles. The term describes the changes individuals experience just before or after their period stops.
Menopause is not a disorder. It simply marks the end of a woman’s fertility period. ‘Postmenopause’ is a term used when a person has been without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. It refers to the many years following menopause when a female is without menstrual cycles.
Females experience menopause differently, with the symptoms lasting for many years. Some common symptoms of menopause include:
- Emotional changes and mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort
- Vaginal thinning
- Irregular or absent menstruation
- Lower fertility
- Breast reduction and tenderness
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain and build-up of abdominal fat
- Changes in hair color, texture, and volume
- Urinary incontinence
- Increased risk of developing health conditions
If you are getting closer to 40 years or have started experiencing some symptoms of menopause, you don’t have to fret as menopause symptoms are normal. However, there are some things you can do to help you get through the phase.
Natural ways to reduce menopause symptoms
Fortunately, some natural supplements and remedies can provide relief from symptoms. Below are some things women can do to reduce the symptoms of menopause.
1.Eat phytoestrogen-rich foods
Photo source: Shutterstock
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that occur naturally in some plant products. These compounds mimic the effects of estrogen, a female reproductive hormone that decreases drastically during menopause.
Estrogen is an important hormone that helps maintain vaginal flow, lubrication, and elasticity of the vaginal wall. It is the hormone that is responsible for developing and maintaining the female reproductive system and its characteristics.
Phytoestrogen-rich foods may help balance hormones like estrogen in women. Asian countries like Japan consume phytoestrogens in high amounts. This may explain why menopausal women in Asian countries seldom experience hot flashes.
Phytoestrogen-rich foods include:
- Soybeans and soy products
- Sesame seeds
2.Prioritize weight management
Photo source: Shutterstock
Weight gain during menopause is common. The reasons for this include ageing, hormone changes, genetics and lifestyle changes.
Weight gain, especially when it involves fat around the waist, increases the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Losing excess fat can help reduce symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes.
One way to avoid weight gain is by exercising regularly. Everybody needs exercise, both the young and the old.
Aside from helping maintain body weight, exercising has been associated with better health outcomes such as reduced stress, healthier bones and joints decreased risk of diseases like stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
One of the most effective ways to evade menopause symptoms is by eating meals rich in fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are excellent foods for keeping weight in check because they are low in calories. They may also help prevent bone loss, which is also common in women of menopausal age.
Also, fruits and vegetables are good for the heart, as they may help prevent cardiovascular diseases. This is very important considering that the risk of heart disease tend to increase after the onset of menopause.
Keep a symptom diary
People’s body systems differ. For some people, certain foods can trigger symptoms like mood swings, night sweats, and hot flashes.
Foods that can trigger menopause symptoms include alcohol, caffeine, and foods that are spicy or surgery.
It might help to keep a symptom diary. In the diary, you list your symptoms along with any particular thing (like food) that you feel triggers them. The next thing to do is to try to avoid those triggers.
Take hormonal supplements
Photo source: Shutterstock
Taking hormonal supplements like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can help address some menopausal issues in women suffering from menopause due to low estrogen.
DHEA occurs naturally and is produced in the adrenal glands. The primary function of DHEA is to produce hormones like estrogen. However, as women age, their bodies' DHEA production declines, affecting estrogen production during menopause.
RxList experts agree that DHEA is one of the most effective solutions to vaginal thinning during menopause. They suggest that using vaginal inserts that contain DHEA may reduce pain during sex due to thinning vaginal walls.
Despite some studies suggesting the treatment of menopause symptoms with hormonal supplements, nobody must take over-the-counter supplements. There is usually not enough scientific data supporting the use of some of these supplements for treating menopause symptoms.
If you must take a hormonal supplement, it should be under a doctor’s supervision to avoid the risk of diseases like cancer or side effects like acne and excess body hair.
Drink enough water
Women in their menopause often experience dryness. This might be a result of low estrogen levels. Drinking up to eight glasses of water every day can help with these symptoms.
Also, drinking water can help reduce the bloating that accompanies hormonal changes.