Women know it will happen someday, the dreaded M-word. It’s not that there is a sense of fear about menopause itself. It’s that the transition from perimenopause to menopause comes with some well-known symptoms. We’ll be transparent, perimenopause may also come with some symptoms that you didn’t expect. The good news is that there are numerous ways that you can make it through. We’ll offer a few tips here.
Spotting the Signs of Perimenopause
You may be aware of the common signs that you’ve entered perimenopause. They include flashes and decreased sex drive. Long before these notorious symptoms occur, you may notice others. These include:
- Increase in stubborn abdominal fat
- Mood swings or increased anxiety or depression
- Urinary tract infections
- Foggy thinking or difficulty remembering
- Spotting or irregular periods
- Heavier menstrual flow that includes clots
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Vaginal itching or irritation due to dryness
Managing Perimenopause with Lifestyle Changes
While there are times when it is beneficial to talk to your doctor about medications to ease your perimenopause symptoms, there is also a great deal of value in making lifestyle choices that will better support your physical and emotional health through this season of life. We recommend:
- Revamping your diet, if necessary. During perimenopause, it becomes especially important to eat a heart-healthy diet. The Mediterranean Diet has been referenced many times as an ideal plan to follow. In general, your perimenopause diet should include an abundance of fresh, whole foods. Leafy greens are especially nourishing, providing calcium and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds can help boost estrogen naturally and may potentially decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.
- Supplement as needed. Calcium, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants are essential for optimal health during all stages of life. Depending on your daily vitamin and mineral intake from food, your doctor may also recommend supplementing with a reputable product.
- Exercise daily. You don’t have to exercise for hours a day, sweating it out at the gym to try to maintain a specific weight. The purpose of exercise during perimenopause is multi-faceted. Daily exercise of just 30 to 45 minutes can increase your energy levels during the day, help you sleep better at night, and also help keep your metabolism humming along. Some types of exercise even promote bone density and muscle strength as your body changes. Daily exercise is also beneficial for the production of the brain chemicals that can mitigate the symptoms of anxiety and depression that often occur during this stage of life.
- Get intentional about stress management. Unmanaged stress can make perimenopause much more challenging than it needs to be. By noticing when you get stressed and how you respond to stress, you can develop habits that are easy for you to implement when needed. For example, if you tend to “crumble” under stress and “zone out,” a brisk walk can help you regain a more regulated state. If your response to stress is to get anxious and fidgety, you may benefit more from sitting under a tree or in a comfortable chair where you can take deep breaths for a few minutes until your nervous system has calmed.
Neither perimenopause nor menopause needs to be alarming and intolerable. Together with your gynecologist, you can find ways to make it through as the healthiest version of yourself! To talk to one of our accomplished physicians about your current health needs, call 937-771-5100. We’d love to schedule a visit for you at Huey & Weprin OBGYN in Kettering or Englewood, OH.