Menopause is a natural process and many women go through it without much trouble. For those who have symptoms (like hot flashes, mood swings, or trouble sleeping) there are lots of lifestyle changes, natural remedies, and medications that can help.
No matter how your own menopause journey unfolds, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are six steps to help get your body and mind ready.
1. Get in a healthy groove now
Most of the lifestyle changes that help ease menopause symptoms will sound pretty familiar. That’s because they’re the same things that help people feel well and stay well at any age. If you’re getting ready for menopause, it’s the perfect opportunity to go back to the wellness basics:
- Eat a nutrient dense diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. Include calcium to help keep your bones strong.
- Get regular exercise. Find physical activities that you really enjoy — and that fit with your schedule and lifestyle — so it’s easy to stick with your routine.
- Explore healthy ways to lower your stress. Popular strategies include deep breathing, meditation, walking outdoors, connecting with friends, or finding quiet time to be alone with your thoughts.
- Adopt good sleep habits. Consider moving electronics out of the bedroom, setting aside time to unwind at the end of the day, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule.
2. Know your menopause symptoms — and check in with your healthcare provider if you notice anything new
The signs of approaching menopause don’t have to take you by surprise. Even though each person’s menopause is unique, these symptoms are among the most common:
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinating more often or having less bladder control
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
Keep in mind that the symptoms of menopause can also be signs of other health changes, so it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider when you notice something new about your body or mood.
3. Be ready to treat symptoms if they bother you
If you start to have bothersome symptoms, don’t wait to get support. There are lifestyle changes and proven natural remedies that can make a big difference. Medications can ease more severe symptoms and prevent health risks. You can work with your healthcare provider to find the approach that’s right for you.
4. Make a plan for your emotional health
Not everyone experiences mood changes with menopause, but some of us do. People with a history of depression, PMS, and postpartum depression seem to be more likely to experience depression again around the time of menopause. So if this is part of your history, consider talking to your healthcare provider about the signs and symptoms that can help you catch a mood problem early. Then, set up a plan so you can act right away if you need to.
Even if you’ve never had depression before, talk with your healthcare provider if you notice mood changes that bother you.
5. Don’t go it alone
There’s still a taboo around talking about women’s health in general, and menopause especially. But we have the opportunity to help break that taboo. We don’t have to be ashamed or go through menopause all alone. Instead, reach out to friends going through the same life changes and share your own experiences.
6. Embrace what’s next
One of the best kept secrets about menopause is that there’s a lot to look forward to: the end of periods, PMS, and cramps; no more worrying about unwanted pregnancies; and goodbye to hormonal headaches, to name a few. And it’s not just physical changes. Many women feel more sure of themselves, more content, and more motivated after menopause than they ever have before.
Oprah Winfrey said it well: “So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. But I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time, and talent.”
If you have questions about what to expect during menopause, how to get ready, or what to do about symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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- Kaitlin Vogel. “Whether You’re 25 or 65, Here Are 50 Quotes About Menopause That Will Resonate With Every Woman.” Parade. Parade. July 26, 2021. https://parade.com/1239990/kaitlin-vogel/menopause-quotes/.
- “Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms.” The North American Menopause Society. The North American Menopause Society. https://www.menopause.org/for-women/expert-answers-to-frequently-asked-questions-about-menopause/menopause-faqs-understanding-the-symptoms.