There are many changes in women´s bodies along with the transition between the end of the fertile age (or menstruation) and after menopause. In some cases, those changes tend to be complications. Therefore, it is necessary to have certain habits to keep a healthy life in menopause.
For sure, you might be wondering how much should our body change to make it necessary to pay more attention to our lifestyle?
And, although the answer can be complex, it can be summarised in the next facts (Hoffman, 2020):
- As women get older, their ovaries reduce their hormonal activity and stop releasing new eggs.
- In turn, this hormonal variation produces changes in organs, such as the ovaries that were affected by hormones like oestradiol or estrogen.
- This modification, among others, causes a loss in bone mass (something that turns them thinner and more fragile) less vaginal elasticity, fewer arteries flexibility and stiffer articulations.
The previous is just a glance at the list of changes that happen in women´s bodies during menopause. All these modifications may bring unknown health problems to women.
That’s why, it’s important to know what are the changes, and how they can be prevented with healthy habits, that will let you lead a healthy life. Today we will explain this andmore.
How do these menopausal changes affect you?
Menopause can can cause the possibility of suffering symptoms such as (Peacock, 2021):
- Vasomotor: flushings, flutters, migraines, skin dryness or night sweating. These are common symptoms and happen to up to 75% of menopausal women.
- Furthermore, we need to know that, with or without vasomotor symptoms, during menopause, there is an increase in the risk of suffering cardiovascular illnesses.
- Genito-urinary: there may be vaginitis, lower libido or difficulty in control the urge to urinate.
- Psychological and neurological: including sudden changes of mood, low mood ,depression, anxiety or irritability; loss of memory, difficulty to pay attention and self esteemtchanges.
- Other signs and symptoms: Arterial tension can be higher, weight gain is a real possibility and also breast reduction, due to loss of estrogenk (MedlinePlus, 2020).
The amount and variety of symptoms do not appear immediately, sometimes they never do, but in order to delay them and reduce their intensity, women need to keep a number of habits that build up a healthy life. We will tell you next.
Recommendations for a healthy life during menopause
Healthy habits are behaviours and customs that are part of your lifestyle; that is to say that they are practiced routinely. The aim is to keep them, so as to get countless benefits to prevent and control diseases and their complications. (Rippe, 2018).
That´s why we have prepared a list of the best healthy habits that will help you have a healthy life in menopause.
Keep a balanced diet.
There is a very real phrase that says “we are what we eat” because a great percentage of our health quality has to do with our nutrition.
For instance, a rich protein and fat diets, such as bacon or skinned chicken will increase the probability of suffering from cardiovascular illnesses. This risk is even bigger in menopause (Stamatelopoulos, 2018; MedlinePlus, 2020).
To maintain a balanced diet and have a healthy life (Brończyk-Puzoń, 2015; USDA, 2020):
- Keep a 4 to 5 daily meals menu. Also, divide the dishes into portions for each meal, and separate them to be sure your day by day menu includes the needed quantities.
- Fruits and vegetables only do not add all the nutritions, so mix them among other ingredients.
- Try to include at least 50% of fruits, vegetables and grains in your ingestion.
- You can keep a portion of meat or fish within each meal, as they contribute to very important proteins for muscle maintenance.
- Limit salt consumption to less than 2 grams a day in all your meals.
- Avoid the consumption of high-fat food, alcohol and tobacco.
- Avoid drinking sodas and replace them with water or low-fat milk to avoid sugar excess and artificial conservatives.
- Try to drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
- Remember that, in case of flushings and excessive sweating, you must drink even more water.
Are vitamin supplements necessary for a healthy life?
If you maintain a balanced diet you will obtain all the nutrition you need, even in menopause. Some of the key nutrientsare (EUR-Lex, 2012):
- Vitamin B6, that helps regulate the hormones.
- Magnesium helps maintain a health brain.
- Iron, necessary for thinking function and body oxygenation.
- Iodine, which is essential for the nervous system function.
- Vitamin B3 helps with skin function and vagina mucus.
- Omega 3 is used for heart and brain functions.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are important for bone maintenance.
- Vitamin C collaborates as an anti-oxidant and in iron absorption. It also helps in the skin and bones revitalization when promoting collagen absorption.
However, in some special cases, as before the risk of suffering osteoporosis or when someone is already ill, is advisable to supplement with Vitamin D, calcium and some other vitamins and minerals (Hoffman, 2020).
On the other hand, if you cannot get a well-balanced diet, you can use Nutrition Supplements to have a healthy life.
Please consult your healthcare professional before use.
Do not forget to do exercise to have a healthy life
Physical activity is very important for the healthy maintenance of your bones, heart, muscles and the rest of your body.
That’s why the World Health Organization (2021) recommends we do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week to keep a healthy life.
You can create your own exercise plan including some of the following activities (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2021):
- Strength activities: consist of different types of weight liftingand help to strengthen the muscles.
- Flexibility training: stretching exercises, for example, practiced in yoga or dance. These activities help to maintain the muscles, bones and articulations flexibility.
- Balance Practice: such as standing up on one foot or walking with shut eyes. These help train your sense of balance.
- Aerobic exercises: running, walking, climbing stairs or riding a bicycle. Help your heart and lungs and are recommended to be the centre of your training plan.
Do not put your emotions and mental health aside
Menopause is a period in which you may suffer from much stress and emotional lability (sudden changes in emotions). All this can put your mental health at risk.
Nevertheless, by following this advice you will be better equipped to deal with difficult moments and maintain a healthy life (Mental Health Foundation, 2021):
- Express your feelings without restrictions. Although it may annoy someone you can practice sharing in a respectful and caring way.
- Before a very stressful moment, have a break and listen to relaxing music.
- Try to balance your free time with your working hours.
- Do not forget to strengthen your resilience, the ability to adapt yourself to difficult situations.
- Sleeping is extremely important! Keep good sleeping habits that guarantee your body and mind are rested.
Now that you know what changes and complications you may experience at the end of your fertile period, don´t hesitate to apply all the tips in your daily life. It is possible to have a healthy life during menopause with the given recommendations.
Brończyk-Puzoń, A., Piecha, D., Nowak, J., Koszowska, A., Kulik-Kupka, K., Dittfeld, A., & Zubelewicz-Szkodzińska, B. (2015). Guidelines for dietary management of menopausal women with simple obesity. Przeglad menopauzalny = Menopause review, 14(1), 48–52. https://doi.org/10.5114/pm.2015.48678
USDA. (2020). Guía Dietética para Americanos 2020-2025. Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos. 9na edición. Diciembre, 2020. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
Hoffman, B. L., Schorge, J. O., Halvorson, L. M., Hamid, C., Corton, M., & Schaffer, J. I. (2020). Williams Gynecology (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 978-1-260-45686-8
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Fitness tips for menopause: Staying active. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/fitness-tips-for-menopause/art-20044602
MedlinePlus. (2020). Cambios en Las Mamas Con La Edad: Medlineplus Enciclopedia Médica. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/003999.htm
MedlinePlus. (2020). Información sobre Las Grasas Saturadas: Medlineplus Enciclopedia Médica. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/patientinstructions/000838.htm
Mental Health Foundation. (2021). How to look after your mental health. Mentalhealth.org.uk: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health
Organización Mundial de la Salud. (2021). Actividad Física. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity
Peacock, K., & Ketvertis, K. M. (2021). Menopause. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/
Rippe JM. Lifestyle Medicine: The Health Promoting Power of Daily Habits and Practices. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018;12(6):499-512. Published 2018 Jul 20. doi:10.1177/1559827618785554
Stamatelopoulos, K., Papavagelis, C., Augoulea, A., Armeni, E., Karagkouni, I., Avgeraki, E., Georgiopoulos, G., Yannakoulia, M., & Lambrinoudaki, I. (2018). Dietary patterns and cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women: Protocol of a cross-sectional and prospective study. Maturitas, 116, 59–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2018.07.006
EUR-Lex. (2012). establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health. Commission Regulation (EU). https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012R0432