The Facts about Perimenopause
Expert’s Name: Gail Edgell
PERIMENOPAUSE – WHAT IS THAT?
The term perimenopause refers to the years preceding the permanent stopping of your monthly “menses” or menstrual cycle. As you approach menopause female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone become irregular, causing unpredictable fluctuations.
Perimenopause can start as early as age 35 with reoccurring symptoms that can last anywhere from just a few years to as many as ten years or more. Every woman going through perimenopause will have a varying degree of symptoms, which can include (but certainly is not limited to):
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Mood Swings
- Loss of Libido
- Memory Loss
- Migraines and/or Headaches
- Decreased bone density
- Weight Gain
I’m ready to start taking better care of myself. What can I do to get started?
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
- Ensure that you are eating protein at every meal. Not only does protein help you feel fuller longer, it helps to build muscle.
- Incorporate soy. One serving of soy into your diet daily allows you to reduce your fat intake without sacrificing any actual protein in your meals.
- Make sure that your carbohydrate intake is equivalent to, or less than, 60 grams per day.
- Don’t just skip fat – eat good fats. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Eat whole grain. Foods such as brown rice and oatmeal contain fewer calories and are high in fiber.
- Avoid alcohol and aim to drink six to ten glasses of water each day.
GET REGULAR EXERCISE
- Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, and swimming aid in combating anxiety and depression. In addition, you may experience fewer hot flashes.
- It is important that women engage in strength training during perimenopause to give your metabolism a boost and prevent osteoporosis.
- Women should exercise 3-4 times per week to maintain their weight; women who want to lose weight should exercise daily.
VOW TO GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
- Develop a bedtime routine that will help you relax; listen to light music or read a book.
- Dim the lights a half hour before bed. Avoid the television and computer.
- Avoid caffeine before bed. Instead, try some herbal tea such as chamomile.
- Do not exercise too close to bedtime, but make sure you are exercising during the day.
- Have sex, it is ultimately more relaxing and it helps you fall asleep.
The bottom line is that when you exercise, eat, and sleep better your hormones work better. When your hormones are working properly, you will ultimately look healthier and feel better.
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