As you get closer to your 40s, your body gradually stops producing estrogen and progesterone hormones, which are essential for regulating your menstrual cycle. Generally, its duration is 4-6 years, but it may vary depending on the individual. Estrogen is essential for bone health, heart health, mental health, etc. As this hormone decreases, it can also lead to the deterioration of women’s health.
But, many women don’t consider menopause seriously. Forbes report says, that 73% of women reported that they were not currently treating their menopause, which included hot flashes (16%), weight gain (15%), difficulties with sleep (14%), and night sweats (14%), among others.
The purpose of this article is to help you comprehend the steps we need to take to ease these symptoms and prepare your body for menopause.
Ways to prepare your body for menopause
1. Bone health
Estrogen promotes the activity of osteoblasts. The cells that create new bones. During menopause, low estrogen levels can cause a person to lose bone density. That’s called osteoporosis.
How to protect our bone health
1. In order to detect osteopenia or osteoporosis early and start appropriate treatment, women with early menopause should have bone density testing performed within 10 years of menopause.
2. You should take food that is rich in calcium and vitamin D such as dairy products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains, Fish etc. If dietary intake is insufficient, supplements may be suggested.
2. Heart health
Estrogen tends to have a positive effect on cholesterol because it can increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream, which can reduce the risk of plaque buildup in arteries.
How to protect our heart health
1. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive amounts of red meat.
2. Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts, as they can help lower triglycerides and improve heart health.
3. Engage in regular physical activity.
4. If lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient to manage your cholesterol levels, your healthcare provider may recommend cholesterol-lowering medications.
3. Mental health
Estrogen may increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, leading to an improvement in mood. During menopause, a decline in estrogen levels may result in a decrease in the levels of these neurotransmitters, leading to a decrease in mood.
How to protect our mental health
1. Share your experiences with loved ones who can provide emotional support and understanding.
2. Do Yoga and Pranayama ( deep breathing exercises) (such as Bhramari Pranayama). Practice Relaxation Techniques such as meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety.
3. You can take Brahmi which is Ayurveda medicine during menopause. This medicine should be taken under the guidance of an Ayurveda practitioner.
4. Pelvic muscle health
Why pelvic muscle health is important due to Urinary incontinence. The involuntary leakage of urine is a common issue for some women during and after menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause, including a decrease in estrogen, can contribute to urinary problems.
How to protect our pelvic muscle health
1. You should do pelvic floor exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Regularly performing pelvic floor exercises can improve bladder control.
2. Disposable pads or absorbent products can provide protection against leakage and help manage incontinence.
3. One more exercise is bladder training in which you should gradually increase the time between bathroom visits to help your bladder hold more urine and reduce urgency.
5. Metabolic health
It has been shown that estrogens influence metabolism, and a decrease in estrogen levels, such as during menopause, can lead to a slower metabolism. A slower metabolism can result in the body burning fewer calories at rest, making it easier to gain weight if calorie intake remains constant.
Estrogen plays a role in fat distribution in the body. Before menopause, women tend to store fat in the hips and thighs, which is often referred to as a “pear-shaped” body. After menopause, fat distribution may shift toward the abdominal area, resulting in an “apple-shaped” body. This change in fat distribution can be influenced by declining estrogen levels.
How to protect metabolic health
1. Engage in regular exercise to boost your metabolism and maintain muscle mass.
2. To build and maintain muscle mass, include strength training exercises in your routine. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, which can help with weight management.
Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman’s life, and by taking proactive steps to treat your body better, you can make this transition smoother and more enjoyable. These actions, from prioritizing bone health to managing stress and seeking medical advice when needed, can empower you to embrace the changes that come with menopause and continue to live a vibrant and fulfilling life.