Menopause

Menopause is an important stage in a woman’s life. It is when menstrual periods stop permanently and women are unable to have children.

The menopause age is between 49 and 52 years old. It is usually defined by doctors as when a woman doesn’t have vaginal bleeding for a year and a decrease in hormone production in the ovaries.

Symptoms of menopause include:

  • night sweats
  • mood changes
  • sleep disturbances
  • bone loss
  • hot flashes

If you are having hot flashes or just want to prepare for menopause, here are some foods that can help you deal with the symptoms.

Calcium

The risk of osteoporosis is high since hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken. It is important that you have enough calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen bones.

99% of calcium is found in the skeleton of your body which is why calcium is so important. It is a good idea to increase bone mass before menopause to help with the bone loss that occurs.

It is recommended that you consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium before menopause and increase to 1,200 during.

Here is a small list of foods that offer calcium to reach your daily intake goal:

  • Soy milk: 60 milligrams of calcium per 1 cup
  • Quinoa: 80 milligrams of calcium per 1 cup
  • Chia seeds: 80 milligrams of calcium per 1 tablespoon
  • Soybeans: 131 milligrams of calcium per ½ cups
  • Almonds: 183 milligrams of calcium per ½ cups
  • Swiss cheese: 220 milligrams of calcium per 1 slice
  • Yogurt (plain): 415 milligrams of calcium per 8oz

Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D go hand in hand. This is because vitamin D helps intestines absorb the calcium you eat.

If the calcium you are eating is not being absorbed into the body, there is no point of consuming all the calcium. It is important to have enough Vitamin D.

So how do you get more vitamin D?

The main source of this is the sun. Simply put, if your in the sun for longer periods of time you will absorb more vitamin d.

The problem is that the skin after a certain age cannot produce vitamin d so it needs to be produced by more sources. Plus the sun isn’t always out 12 months of the year so it is impossible for the body to get enough sunlight.

Foods such as cod liver oil, eggs, and oily fishes have enough vitamin D.

Another source is to get supplements that are rich in vitamin D. The daily consumption should be between 600-1000 IU of vitamin D.

Vitamin D and Calcium are not the only food groups you should be focusing on. Exercising and having a well-rounded diet are also important.

Exercise/Eat Clean

While eating healthy, it is important that you exercise on a daily basis. These two go hand and hand, just like calcium and vitamin D.

Considering that different foods alter your mood, it’s important to eat a clean lifestyle once you hit menopause.

It will make you feel better and actually benefit your health. Stay away from sugary or processed foods (no freezer foods!). This could be a hard adjustment but one that would be beneficial for you.

Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean added cost. Make sure you are not wasting food on a regular basis and take a few cooking classes if you are worried about cooking at home.

Eating healthy means eating food rich in magnesium, vitamin c, potassium, vitamin k and protein.

It is important to have a mixture of these food groups in your diet.

Avoid At All Costs

Alcohol

Alcohol should be avoided at all costs because it leads to poor bone health and increases your chances of a fracture.

Yes, drinking in moderation can be helpful sometimes, but that is only true with red wine.

At the end of the day, alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum and try to keep it less than 2 drinks a day.

Smoking

Calcium absorption is decreased when a person is smoking. It is also evident that smokers experience menopause at a younger age.

Starting menopause at early ages means the extension of the bone loss period.

To help you quit smoking, try out some Nicorette gum.

Salty Diets

It is nearly impossible to avoid salts when you are constantly eating out. Restaurants and fast foods have plenty of salt.

For example, a Big Mac has about 4,200 mg of salt – which is double the recommended daily dosage of salt.

The daily sodium intake should not exceed 2,100mg per day otherwise, it has negative impacts on bone density.

An easy way to avoid sodium/salty food is to use a light hand while making food. This is only useful when you are making food at home.

Or you can ask the restaurant to make your food less salty (but you never know if they will be able to accommodate the request or not).

It’s impossible to avoid some of these things but avoid them as much as you can otherwise they will impact your bone mass.

Premarin

If this is still not enough, a female hormone medication maybe right for you. Ask your doctor about Premarin.

Premarin is a female hormone that provides the right amount of hormones to help reduce the menopausal symptoms.

It is also used as a cancer treatment in men and women. This medication is made of conjugated estrogen’s which are naturally sourced mixture of estrogen’s.

Premarin can increase the chances of dementia or heart disease.

Since every woman’s body is different, make sure you are taking the medicine as prescribed for optimal results.

Some of the most common side effects associated with Premarin include

  • Wheezing
  • Weight gain
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • Swelling of eyelids face lips, hands or feet
  • Hives, skin irritation or rash
  • Tightness in chest, difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Breast pain or increased breast size

Some of the more serious side effects include:

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen or calves
  • One-sided weakness
  • Breast lumps
  • Confusion, dizziness or fainting
  • Hoarseness
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • Unusual vagal discharge/itching/odor
  • Changes in vision or speech
  • Swelling of feet or hands
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
  • Severe allergic reaction

If you have one of these serious side effects, seek medical attention right away. This may not be a complete list of side effects and should contact your physical for more information.

Be Prepared

Being ready for menopause is important. Help battle the symptoms by taking the prescribed amount of calcium, vitamin D, making sure to avoid salty foods and alcohol, and take premarin if needed.