In this article, we ask Gabrielle Gottlieb,
“What do you wish all women knew about menopause?”
Menopause is not a disease. It is a natural life transition which all women go through. To some degree, the experience is different for each of us. Some women seem to sail through with relative ease, whereas others may encounter varying severity of symptoms.
I recommend that women prepare for menopause before they are blindsided by symptoms and concerns. Research shows that training for menopause, will prepare the body and mind to be more aware and adapt as changes arise.
As you find yourself going through a phase, you will recognize what is happening. Start thinking about how to live with your body’s changes and shifting emotions in order to curtail any potential pitfalls and maintain a positive state of mind. If you have been accustomed to pushing yourself it’s important to learn to use your energy more carefully by sleeping or doing restful activities when you feel tired.
Manage Unhealthy Habits
How do you deal with stress? If your methods are not working any longer, or you have some unhealthy habits, try incorporating holistic practices into your life. Yoga, meditation and slow and relaxed deep breathing will balance your energy, ease hot flashes and promote relaxation and presence of mind as your body goes through changes. Specific herbs and supplements can support your health through your menopausal transition and beyond. Some are available over the counter, but it’s best to seek advice from a trained professional. Cutting down on meal size and eliminating caffeinated and alcoholic beverages along with spicy foods can also reduce frequency and severity of hot flashes.
There is a potential for all of this to be a learning experience from which you can grow. Be more honest with yourself. Know yourself and honor yourself, for this is the path of purity and love of your body, mind and spirit in this life as you flow through your enlightening transition.
Once menopause has arrived, you need to be concerned about healthcare maintenance. Your body is aging and you will need to work much harder to take care of yourself. Practice mindful eating, treat your body as the temple it is, and be kind to yourself during various phases. To prevent menopausal weight gain and promote heart health try to get at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a day. Women with osteoporosis should avoid high impact aerobics.
Practice strengthening your balance. Be sure to include strength training in your routine to support bone and muscle strength. Remember that you need sufficient muscle mass to boost your metabolism and burn body fat. While the stair master is a great way to burn fat, cycling and swimming can be more fun. Put some pizazz back in your love life and go dancing with your partner. One of my 63-year-old patients takes zumba classes!
Exercise the biggest muscle, your brain.
Enroll in a foreign language class. It’s great for your memory. Maintain a social life with friends. Stay interested and motivated in your life. Try new, creative things you’ve never done. Be realistic in all your goals. Moderation, not perfection, is the key.
Be patient and kind with yourself
Menopause is a magnifier over your life, anything that is going on is magnified greatly. –Dr. Northrup.
Menopause passes a critical beam of light over your life. So, any “unfinished business,” regrets and problematic areas of your life may appear to loom large, especially when you have always been the nurturer for others and have not sufficiently nurtured yourself and focused on your own needs. This is your time.
Menopause not only affects the body, but also presence of mind in how you feel about yourself. It affects the mindset, and emotions. It is important to know what routines work for you and to stay with them. Do the best you can. Believe in these time-tested methods and most importantly, believe in yourself. We are all in this together and should honor each other and ourselves. It takes time to adjust. Give it all time, and give it hope.
We recommend acupuncture for menopausal symptoms based on research and experience, both first hand and from patients. See below for our favorite articles and let us know if you have any questions.
- A Stanford University study found that acupuncture not only decreased the frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women, but it also significantly decreased their intensity and improved sleep. (more)
- 102 postmenopausal women were recruited into a study comparing the effects of acupuncture and placebo treatments. The study showed that acupuncture significantly reduced hot flashes more than placebo. (more)
- Another well-designed study that found that acupuncture is significantly more effective than placebo in treating hot flashes in postmenopausal women. (more)