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Feeling unprepared for menopause? Don’t wait to struggle to manage symptoms when you can rather celebrate this season and prepare for what’s to come or perhaps the unexpected. This is a time of great change but can be embraced by learning simple lifestyle changes to prepare for menopause naturally.
Firstly, remember menopause is a natural life stage. This season begins due to a natural age-related drop in oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is a hormone involved in fertility, libido, mood, bone health, metabolism, and much more. As levels decline and your body adjusts, many symptoms can appear, such as the hot flushes, decreased libido, nervousness, insomnia, and low mood.
Here, Wanderlust Naturopath Natasha Korfiatis shares five ways in which you can prepare for menopause naturally.
Oestrogen supports bone health in women, but as it naturally declines with age, the risk of osteoporosis and fractures increases. Before and during menopause, it is best to optimise calcium and vitamin D intake. Calcium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, yogurt, bone broth, and almonds, should be plentiful in the diet. However, it can be difficult to get enough without supplementation. Women over 50 require 1200 mg of calcium and 1000IU of vitamin D daily. So, pop out into the sun to up those vitamin D levels, and if it’s suitable for you consider supplements.
Exercise is essential at every age but can particularly help manage menopausal symptoms. Declining estrogen levels cause changes in metabolism. As a result, the risk of weight gain, increased blood pressure and increased cholesterol to name a few. Menopausal women also commonly experience low mood, anxiety, and forgetfulness. Regular exercise supports weight management, heart health, bone strength, mood, memory, and cognition. Menopausal women should aim for around 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. More weight bearing activity is ideal however, movement of any kind is better than none. Do more of the exercise you love, whether it it’s yoga, walking or swimming to keep active.
Stress can worsen symptoms of menopause, such as anxiety, low mood, insomnia, high blood pressure, and hot flushes. Difficulty dealing with menopausal symptoms may also cause anxiety. Some evidence suggests that psychological practices, including mindfulness, can reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes. Mindfulness is a form of meditation in which you focus on the present moment, clear your mind, and relax the body. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, yoga, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation may be helpful to manage stress-related symptoms of menopause.
When it comes to water, the more the better, especially in menopause. Keeping hydrated can also reduce hormone-related bloating and dryness in menopause. It is recommended that women drink 8-12 glasses of pure water per day. A diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables supports hydration, as vegetables such as celery, cucumber, and tomato are more than 90% water.
You may consider herbal medicines to manage menopause naturally. The most popular and most researched is Black Cohosh, which helps to relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and excessive sweating. Other options to help manage menopausal symptoms include herbs traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine, such as Ashwagandha to relieve nervous tension and support a healthy stress response, and Shatavari to enhance libido and support vitality.
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