southdale obgyn logo

Your Menopause Survival Guide

Aug 26, 2021
Your Menopause Survival Guide
Are you overwhelmed by perimenopause? Transitioning to a new stage of life can feel like more change than you can handle. We’re here to help! We’re breaking down the common areas of change during perimenopause...

Are you overwhelmed by perimenopause? Transitioning to a new stage of life can feel like more change than you can handle. We’re here to help! We’re breaking down the common areas of change during perimenopause and providing support for any woman going through these areas.

Beating the heat

Hot flashes and night sweats are (unfortunately) common during perimenopause. If your hot flashes are getting in the way of your day, take a look at the foods and beverages you’re consuming. As tempting as spicy food, caffeine and wine may be, avoiding them may help reduce your hot flashes. Instead, eat soy-based foods to naturally boost your estrogen levels.

Beyond your food choices, take inventory of your wardrobe. Keep a couple shirts on hand that are made of cotton or another breathable fabric. Avoid thicker materials, such as wool. A small fan may be a smart investment to keep around while you sleep or relax in your house.

Fueling your body

You can’t fully stop your body from experiencing the change of perimenopause, but you can make life decisions that lessen the severity of the changes. Your food consumption is in your control and can ease some perimenopause symptoms. Eating a balanced, nutrient-packed diet is always important, but prioritizing that effort during perimenopause can help prevent weight gain from a slowed metabolism, cardiovascular diseases and weakened bone strength.

To compensate for your declining estrogen levels, try some of the following foods as a natural estrogen source:

  • Flax seeds
  • Soy
  • Dried fruit, especially apricots, prunes and dates
  • Nuts, especially pistachios, peanuts and walnuts

Managing your stress

Mood swings, weight gain and other perimenopause symptoms are all easy reasons for your stress level to increase. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is your body’s indicator to prepare for a stressful situation. With a decrease in estrogen during perimenopause, your cortisol levels increase, leaving your body more frequently in a stressed state. This can affect your sleep and increase other perimenopause symptoms.

If you feel stressed, try the following activities to decrease your cortisol levels and manage your perimenopause symptoms:

  • Exercise. Whatever movement or intensity level you enjoy, give it a try!
  • Talk. Find a trusted person or attend one of our perimenopause workshops to share stories with other women experiencing perimenopause.
  • Eat well. Focus your attention on what you can control – your food choices. Try skipping the caffeine and swap it with a natural estrogen source.
  • Pamper. Big changes can be overwhelming. Prioritize an activity that is purely for enjoyment, and take small steps towards this next stage in your life.

Perimenopause birth control

Are you wondering if you have to stop birth control when you enter perimenopause? The short answer: NO! Being on birth control is a choice during perimenopause and every other stage of life. Using birth control during perimenopause can help with hormonal imbalances and pregnancy prevention. As your hormone levels decline, ovulation is less regular. This can make it more difficult to predict pregnancy.

If you’re continuing your birth control method from pre-perimenopause, or if you’re choosing to start it for symptom relief, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the best method for this stage of your life.

Getting the rest you need

Sleep is important for daily functions, as well as a healthy body and mind. Hormone fluctuations, hot flashes and mood swings can make it difficult for perimenopausal women to maintain a regular sleep schedule. The following simple changes can help aid your insomnia:

  • Wear light, loose clothing to bed to stay cool
  • Keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated
  • Avoid spicy foods right before bed
  • Maintain a regular bedtime schedule that includes turning your phone and TV off early and going to bed at the same time each night
  • Exercise regularly, preferably earlier in the day to avoid a bedtime adrenaline rush
  • Avoid excessive naps and caffeine

Perimenopause comes with a lot of change, but breaking down the areas of change can help you prepare. Small changes in your lifestyle can help you reduce your perimenopause symptoms. With the information you’re learning, you can take control of this next stage of your life, and your healthcare provider is always here to help you through whatever changes you encounter.