The end of your reproductive years doesn’t happen all at once. The transition leading to menopause, a multi-year stage called perimenopause, typically lasts for about four years. For some women, perimenopause lasts as long as 10 years. You’re officially in menopause once you haven’t had a period for 12 months.
Menopause is a natural part of aging and not a medical condition that needs to be cured. Still, certain perimenopausal symptoms can be challenging to live with — this transitional phase can trigger weight gain, mood swings, hot flashes, and more.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to reclaim control of your body and your health.
Here at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, with 12 locations in Monroe Township, Nuremberg, Laporte, Falls, Edwardsville, Shickshinny, Wilkes-Barre, Sullivan Trail Fall, Freeland, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania, our team of providers can help with a customized list of recommendations.
We can also provide comprehensive menopause care, which may include hormone replacement therapy and other helpful treatments. Keep reading to learn our top tips to help you thrive during menopause.
Staying well hydrated through the day and eating a healthy diet can go a long way toward easing the symptoms associated with menopause. Instead of choosing processed foods and refined sugars and carbohydrates, focus on eating fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, and lean, plant-based proteins, like beans and legumes.
Hydration and the right foods are important because during the transition to menopause, your body goes through significant hormonal changes. These changes can affect your metabolism and lower your muscle mass, making it easier to gain weight.
What’s more, staying hydrated and eating right help manage other symptoms associated with menopause, like sleep disruptions, skin changes, and low energy levels. If you’re struggling with your diet or your weight, talk to a provider at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania for customized recommendations.
Between racing thoughts and mood swings that make it challenging to fall asleep, and night sweats that wake you up when you finally do manage to nod off, your changing hormones during perimenopause can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
But getting plenty of high-quality sleep helps your mind and body thrive during this challenging time by minimizing the severity of many symptoms menopause can bring. Start by making sleep a priority, then work on improving your sleep hygiene.
To bring about better sleep, you can:
You’ll also want to avoid taking daytime naps if possible, as napping can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
You know regular exercise is good for your overall health. But did you know that getting more physical activity is especially helpful during the transition to menopause?
Regular exercise helps ease the physical symptoms and emotional stress associated with perimenopause. It also helps you manage your weight, sleep better, and slow bone loss, which increases after the transition to menopause.
To thrive during menopause, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days. You don’t have to join a gym — walking is a great way to move your body. Just be sure to incorporate strength training exercises at least twice a week. You don’t need to lift weights, either; simple body weight exercises like squats, planks, and pushups can help you tone your lean muscle mass.
The transition into menopause isn’t easy, and the hormonal changes and physical symptoms can trigger mental stress and mood swings. You can thrive despite these emotional symptoms by practicing de-stressing techniques, like meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, or journaling. Taking a more mindful approach can help you feel more in control of your body and your emotions.
Many women also find it very helpful to talk to a mental health provider. You may find that individual psychotherapy (talk therapy) or small group counseling helps you better navigate the depression, anxiety, and sleep-related issues associated with menopause.
If you’re struggling with depression, your Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania provider can give you a depression screening and a referral for personalized therapy.
Learn more about how to successfully navigate menopause by booking an appointment online or over the phone at one of the 12 centers nearest you. We accept all insurances and offer a sliding fee schedule; we also offer free transportation services with rides to and from your visit if you need help getting to our center.