Yes, we’ve all heard about the many symptoms that come with menopause like hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. But what about the signs that we may not even realize are connected to menopause? Here is some information about the symptoms you may have overlooked, why they happen, and some helpful tips to get you through “the change.”
- Memory Lapses
Women in their 40s and 50s approaching and going through menopause have long complained about becoming forgetful in normally routine situations. Like forgetting where they put their keys, or reading glasses, and having trouble concentrating. Forgetfulness is a normal symptom of menopause and rarely a cause for worry but if your memory lapses become more regular and serious, you should consult a doctor because you could have early onset of Alzheimer’s.
Trouble sleeping caused by menopause symptoms appear to result in brain fogginess and forgetfulness. It could also be caused by a high amount of anxiety but we have good news: Studies have shown that a menopausal woman’s memory does go back to normal.
- Hair Loss or Thinning
Have your ‘bad hair days’ been getting worse? Hair thinning in menopausal women is usually brought on by a decline in estrogen levels, causing hair to become thin, dry, and brittle. Other causes may include emotional stress or lack of vitamin D and exercise.
To promote hair growth, you can make lifestyle changes such as practicing stress reducing activities like yoga and including more protein and vitamin D to your diet. If your hair loss becomes severe, there are medical actions you may want to consider but continue with caution as they can cause side effects.
- Changes in Body Odor
With hot flashes come sweats that cause changes in your overall body odor even while maintaining good hygiene. Basically, estrogen helps regulate the part of the brain that controls body temperature. When hormones are fluctuating due to menopause, the regulation comes to a halt, tricking your brain into thinking that you’re overheated. This increases sweat production and changes in body odor.
By making a few changes to your diet and clothing, you can help make your symptoms less noticeable. Choose clothes with more breathable fabrics like cotton and bathing regularly to reduce body odor. You can also add seafood and nuts into your diet, because they are high in zinc and magnesium which can help combat body odor. Or if you want to get right to the source of your problems which is a hormone imbalance then you may want to consider Hormone Replacement Therapy.
- Itchy Skin
When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause, your body’s production of natural skin oils also drop and collagen production slows down. Collagen keeps the skin supple and strong so as you lose collagen, your skin will become more dry.
You can treat your itchy skin by adding omega-3 fatty acids in your diet such as salmon, flaxseeds, and soy. Moisturize after warm (not hot) showers, use gentle soaps, and hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking enough water throughout the day. In order to control a severe case of itchy skin, you will need to address your hormonal imbalance by talking to a medical professional. There are natural supplements you can take to address the issue.
- Less Social
Due to fluctuating emotions, you may begin wanting to take more time to yourself, practicing self-care, and thinking about what you want to do. Yes, your social life may be affected but there’s no need to worry, it’s just a sign that you’re now taking the time to focus on yourself and your needs. So, go out and get that full body massage that you’ve always wanted!
During this time, it’s important to prioritize healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising regularly and maintaining open communication with close family. if you’re experiencing serious anxiety or depression, it would be wise to seek medical counsel.
Diet for Menopause
During this time in a 40 and 50 somethings’ life, it’s important to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. This includes adding and taking away a few items in your diet. A few things that you should avoid during menopause, if not throughout your entire life, would be fast food, alcohol, spicy foods, and processed foods like potato chips or cookies.
While aging is a fact of life and gives us no choice in the matter, there are still things that we can do to help us age gracefully. Feeding our bodies with good nutrition can help alleviate certain symptoms of menopause, and it’s important to get all of the ‘good’ that you can during this time. Here are some key ingredients that you should add to your die:
Calcium – Even if you’re not in the menopause stages yet, you should consume plenty of calcium to build strong bones. It can lower your risk of developing osteoporosis. When we think of calcium, we automatically go to dairy products but there are plenty of non-dairy foods high in calcium like almonds, broccoli, dark leafy greens, etc.
Protein – Getting enough protein will keep you filled up and satisfied through the day instead of feeling hungry and binging on sugary sweets when you get a craving. Try protein-rich foods like eggs, black or kidney beans and foods high in Omega-3 like salmon, spinach, and chia seeds.
Fiber – Digestive issues begin to occur during menopause due to a hormonal imbalance. This is why adding fiber into your diet is essential to your health. Help yourself to healthy, fibrous foods such as whole-grain cereals, breads, pasta, fruits, and vegetables.