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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Menopause
You may need to make some lifestyle changes that will help you maintain good health after menopause. Remember that the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis increases as you age. Some easy lifestyle changes may help reduce menopause symptoms and improve overall health.
You can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers by taking care of your heart.
- If you smoke, quit —Smoking is the number one preventable cause of premature death
- Eat a healthy diet—Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Your diet should be low in saturated and trans fats.
- Exercise regularly—Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. It releases chemicals in your brain, which make you feel better.
- Manage stress—Stress comes from every aspect of life. Learn to relax and find time for yourself. This includes exercise and other pleasurable activities. Some relaxation techniques include meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback.
Your body replaces bone tissue on a regular basis. With menopause and aging, bone loss speeds up which makes it harder to replace. This can lead to a osteoporosis. You can reduce your risk of osteoporosis by getting 1,200-1,500 mg of calcium and 800 units of vitamin D each day.
Increase your dietary calcium intake by eating:
- Leafy green vegetables.
- Calcium-rich low-fat dairy foods, like yogurt or milk.
- Calcium-fortified fruits and juices.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Increase vitamin D intake by eating:
- Fortified milk or other low-fat dairy products
You can also get vitamin D with sun exposure. Be sure to limit how much time you spend in the sun. You only need a few minutes at a time a few days a week.
Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements with vitamin D or calcium.
Here are some ways to improve sleep:
- Get on a regular sleep schedule
- Reduce noise, temperature, and light in the bedroom
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed
- Eat a light dinner and avoid heavy evening meals
Cutting back on caffeine may reduce symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. It may also reduce the loss of calcium from your body and reduce your risk of other health problems. You can drink alcohol in moderation. Moderation is 1-2 drinks a day.
If you are having hot flashes, try making a diary of when they happen and what seems to trigger them. This may help you find out what to avoid. Otherwise:
- When a hot flash starts, go somewhere that is cool.
- Sleeping in a cool room may keep hot flashes from waking you up during the night.
- Dress in layers that you can take off if you get warm.
- Use sheets and clothing that let your skin breathe.
- Carry a small, battery-operated fan in your briefcase or purse.
- Try having a cold drink like water or juice at the beginning of a hot flash.
- Avoid hot foods like soup or spicy foods.
Calcium and vitamin D for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 26, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Dietary recommendations for cardiovascular disease prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 18, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Drink to your health at menopause, or not? North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/drink-to-your-health-at-menopause-or-not. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Menopause. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause. Updated April 17, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Staying healthy at menopause and beyond. North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/staying-healthy-at-menopause-and-beyond. Accessed April 18, 2013.
1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Borrelli F, Ernst E. Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga racemosa ): a systematic review of adverse events. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;199:455-466.
1/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamedKaszkin-Bettag M, Ventskovskiy BM, Solskyy S, et al. Confirmation of the efficacy of ERr 731 in perimenopausal women with menopausal symptoms. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15:24-34.
- Reviewer: Kim Carmichael, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 04/29/2014