Menopause is somewhat of a taboo word among some women, and with menopause and perimenopause (a.k.a. pre-menopause) can come feelings of insecurity and grief. This doesn’t have to be the way! Menopause is a natural progression of life that can carry with it some positives as well! Let’s dive into the details of Perimenopause and Menopause, and discuss what changes will happen to your body, why these changes happen, and things you can do to reduce or even eliminate the challenges that perimenopause and menopause can create.
The beginning of puberty in a woman starts her increase in estrogen production. These estrogen levels ebb and flows with each period throughout her life, and increases significantly during pregnancy. This process continues throughout a woman’s life until she enters perimenopause.
Menopause typically starts around age 48, but well before Menopause women typically go through what is called Perimenopause. This is the precursor to menopause, and comes with it some challenges.
As many as 4 years before menopause, women can experience perimenopause symptoms as their body’s transition towards menopause. These symptoms can include:
- Irregular periods
- Varying in period flow from heavier to lighter
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increase in UTI’s (urinary tract infection)
- Hair changes
- Reduced Sex Drive
- Tenderness and sensitivity of breast tissue
- Increased PMS before periods
As estrogen levels drop in your body and you move towards and into menopause, you may also experience the following:
- Dry skin
- Hot flashes
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Vaginal dryness
- Increase in urination
- Night sweats
Menopause is clinically defined as having no periods for at least one year. So even if your periods are irregular and sporadic, as long as you are still having them you have not yet arrived at menopause.
Why do women experience menopause?
The primary reason for women experiencing menopause is a decrease in the production of estrogen. Estrogen the primary chemical that allows women to have babies, so once the body reaches an age where having babies is no longer viable, the process of menopause begins. The reason for the decrease in estrogen is due to a woman starting to run out of functioning eggs. Women have a limited number of eggs in their ovaries, typically around 400,000 at the start of their first period. When menopause begins women can have as few as 10,000 eggs remaining.
How can you help with your Perimenopause or Menopause symptoms?
There are many methods you can use to reduce the discomfort of menopause.
Reduce your stress - Reduce your Menopause Symptoms!
Stress has been shown to increase the symptoms of menopause in studies. Doing yoga, meditating, and even taking deep breaths throughout your day will help you with the symptoms of menopause.
Yoga – Here is a link to a great Yoga video specifically designed to relieve hot flashes and balance your hormones during perimenopause and menopause. Here is another link that has a Yin Yoga program to help you with mood swings as well as hot flashes. Finally - if you are looking to start a series of Yoga, have a look at this excellent 30 day challenge by Adriene. She is one of the leading Yoga instructors on Youtube, and her positive mindset and great personality will keep you motivated as you work your way through this beginners Yoga course.
Mediating – Meditation is a great tool for anyone experiencing stress or anxiety of any kind. Specific to Menopause and Perimenopause, meditation can help calm the mind and relax the body. The great thing about meditating is that once you have learned the techniques of meditation, you can tune in and begin a meditation whenever you have a few spare moments. You don't need guided meditation after a while, you can simply bring yourself into your meditative space. I have found after doing a 10 part series of mediation by Sam Harris, I am able to call up on my meditation throughout my day. I take just a few minutes and reset my mind to a more relaxed state. If you search for the app "Waking Up" you will be able to access the first 5 beginners meditation sessions free. Here is a link to a Sam Harris free meditation class called "looking for the self" you Youtube..
Personal reflection about meditating: While many people seem to connect to the breath as an effective way to meditate, I have never found this effective for me. What I prefer is to use sounds to connect myself to my meditation. I find some repeating sound in my environment - from a rustling leaf, to birds chirping, to a whirring fan, to a humming air conditioner - something that resonates with me in the moment. Give it a try!
Deep breathing – Check out Wim Hoff's amazing deep breathing work – He has developed a method of deep breath's followed by moments of relaxing that thousands of people around the world suggest is life changing. You can have a look at his guiding breathing help here, to see a look at who Whim Hoff is, check out this introduction to Wim Hoff. Update - Recently Wim Hoff celebrated his 61st birthday by taking a 61 minute bath in ice water!
Positive and relaxed Mindset – Having gratitude is the cornerstone for Brené Brown's work. Check out this video, where Brené is interviewed by Oprah and discusses ways to stop the anxiety spiral. I would also recommend you watch Brené's wonderful Ted Talk about vulnerability and its power here.
Keep Your body strong: Here is a great video by Kristie Ennis who discusses how to beat the belly fat that is often associated with menopause. This increase in belly fat is caused by a change in hormones as well as a change in metabolism.
Here are some workout exercise programs specifically for Menopause:
4 Minute Menopause workout - Designed for women who don't have too much time and want a quick workout targeted at the challenges of Menopause.
7 Day Challenge to speed up metabolism - Slower metabolism happens naturally as we age, and menopause speeds up this process. Check out this workout to quickly target your metabolism and boost it up each day! Each workout is just 7 minutes long!
Get outside! You can go for walks, meditate outside, do yoga outside, walk your dog, or even do a quick exercises outdoors. A recent study from science daily has proven what we all instinctively know to be true. Spending time in nature has shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Well - reduced stress = reduced menopause symptoms, so all those other amazing health benefits of getting your butt outside are just bonuses!
Play Pickle-ball! I'm a bit biased, as my partner and I started playing pickle ball about 6 months ago and we just love it! There are often available pickle ball courts outside, and you can just setup a court in driveway if you have one! Simple to learn, great exercise, and loads of fun, I was able to find 2 pickleball paddles and 4 balls on Amazon for around $20, and we made our outdoor court with a camping rope tied to two backward chairs, and some children's sidewalk chalk for the lines.
Reduce Caffeine Intake: to reduce menopause and peri-menopause symptoms. According to research done by the Mayo clinic (check out the video below) reducing or eliminating your Caffeine intake can help reduce your menopause symptoms. Its worth a try, anyway!
Eating healthier foods – foods rich in calcium and vitamins and healthy fats are great ways to reduce the effects of menopause. According to Health-line, the best foods to eat include dairy products, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and phytoestrogen containing foods such as soybeans, grapes, plumbs, peanuts, flax seeds, barley, berries, green and black tea are examples of food that is high in phytoestrogen will increase your estrogen levels, as well as reduce hot flashes!
Foods to avoid during your peri-menopausal and menopausal periods include foods with added sugars, processed carbs, alcohol, caffeine, high salt and spicy foods. To dig in even further on recommended healthier foods to eat during menopause check out this great healthline article here.
Yoniflex and menopause:
Yoniflex can help with menopause in several ways:
First, with the reduction of estrogen, menopause will lead to both bone density reduction and a reduction in muscle size and strength. Using your Yoniflex pelvic floor exerciser will help to maintain the strength of your pelvic floor and reduce many symptoms associated with menopause and the loss of muscle strength.
YoniFlex has been shown to improve:
- Reduce or eliminate Issues with frequent urination
- Improve your feelings of sexual desires
- Reduce PMS symptoms
- Increase in Sexual function and sensation
- Reduction or elimination of urinary incontinence
- Increased feelings of confidence and self assurance
If you are looking for a tool you can use in the comfort of your own home to reduce your symptoms of menopause, we recommend trying YoniFlex.
NOTE: the YoniFlex is NOW AVAILABLE!
After months of testing and ground work, we have now officially launched our YoniFiex pelvic floor trainer.