One moment you just walk through life actively and in a good mood – and then suddenly: First hot flashes or inexplicable sweat-outbreaks, easily perceptible mood disorders or even irritability and sleep disorders creep into your everyday life. Menopause is here!
Now begins the phase of life, in which your body undergoes a natural change. Which mainly means, that around the age of 50 the proportion of the female sex hormone estrogen drops. This change, called menopause, doesn't always have to come with a nerve-wracking mix of symptoms – but for many women, the decline in estrogen often results in physical changes and stress. Which often also puts a veil on the soul.
Face up to the change!
Of course, you can just let the menopause and its side effects overrun you – but why not face this difficult part of your life with your head held high and telling it with a firm voice: "I won't let this hormone-chaos spoil my day!"
This is a good first step to counteract the melancholy that can creep in with the hormone switch. We will show you some screws that you can turn to make your menopause a little more pleasant. After all, some of our team have already been through this – and let them tell you: Menopause is definitely not the end!
However, what our editors and up to 85% of all women in the menopause confirm: One of the most common side effects of the menopause are the unbearable hot flashes, which are usually announced by light head pressure and discomfort. A heat wave over the reddened face, neck and upper body is followed by an outbreak of sweat, which leads to damp skin all over. The irritating consequence: heat build-up and chills, sometimes up to 30 times a day.
Are you sleeping badly? Here is the explanation: Hot flashes at night, which can last up to several minutes, shorten the deep-sleep-phase and can significantly affect your sleep-wake rhythm. But the good thing is that hot flashes usually decrease during the menopause – just like all the other symptoms that hormone depletion causes in the body and mind.
Menopause makes you weaker for now not forever.
As if hot flashes and sweats weren't annoying enough, there are of course other signs that you are in this harsh phase of your life. Common menopause symptoms are:
- Pain during intimate sex and irregular or decreasing intermenstrual bleeding
- Irritability, nervousness or even depression
- Beginning memory and concentration disorders, it can become difficult for you to memorize simple information
- Joint and muscle pain, even if you are not prone to osteoporosis
- Loss of muscle mass due to age and less exercise
- Seemingly gaining weight for no reason, because you are burning less of the energy you consume through food
- Skin aging and changes in the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes Dryness can also increase in the pubic area
- Sensitive bladder or even incontinence and kidney problems
- Thinner hair and in some cases even hair loss
Particularly uncomfortable: Your bones and joints can suffer a deep hit in and after the menopause. In some cases, estrogen depletion and deficiency lead to instability in the bone system. Up to 30% of all women have a risk of permanent bending of the spine, which can be seen in decreasing body size or, in the most severe case, in a clearly visible hump in the upper area of the back.
The good news is: a little physical fitness can be a good kick fighting osteoporosis. Especially isometric exercises, in which you specifically train to maintain muscle tension, should be at the top of the living-room-workout list. The reason for this is: in later years of life bones become more fragile and break more easily, because the lack of estrogen during the menopause can lead to a fatal stop in daily bone building and remodeling. Regularly trained muscles can protect your bones!
For your first steps to positive muscle power, we have selected a few exercises that you can easily try out in your living room.
Eat better during your menopause.
With daily fitness exercises you are already taking a big step. But the right diet can also bring back a bit of happiness to your body and mind – and provide a handful of strong guns against the invasion of menopause-discomforts.
First of all, around the age of 50 you need 400 fewer calories per day than a 25 year old. Simply because the body burns less energy with age. Foods with a high energy content in particular therefore allow fat to grow more easily. In contrast to the lower energy requirements, the need for nutrients increases because these are often no longer adequately absorbed and processed by the organism.
You certainly don't have to change your entire diet, but a little more attention to what you eat here and there can help you to keep your well-being in the comfort-zone. More healthy nutrients and fewer calories can counter inflammatory messengers and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular complaints, vascular diseases, diabetes and tumors in the intestine, kidneys, pancreas, breast and uterus. And honestly: Why not develop a new taste in this new phase of life? Just try these tips for a start:
- White flour products, ready meals and sweets are delicious – but should gradually disappear from the menu due to the empty carbohydrates, the high proportion of spices, especially salt, sugar and the industrial additives, as these tend to promote cravings and thus feed the fat deposits. Rather rely on more complex carbohydrates from whole foods as well as fiber and secondary plant substances from vegetables, fruits, potatoes, spelt and whole grains. This will satisfy your hunger and keep your bowels active and fit
- Omega-3 fatty acids can protect against arterial calcification and reduce the risk of heart and stroke attacks. Fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel should float on your plate several times a week so that a good blood-flow is ensured for your heart and arteries
- Use vegetable oils. A high content of unsaturated fatty acids and valuable plant substances is always preferable. Walnut, olive, wheat germ or linseed oil are the healthy favorites
Feed your muscles and bones as good as you can.
You should also feed your muscles with enough protein to preserve them. There is a versatile menu with a high protein-content for this:
- Consume a high proportion of vegetable protein from soy products and legumes such as red lentils, kidney beans and peas every day
- You can secure animal protein with white meat such as poultry, but also with eggs, low-fat milk products such as curd, yoghurt, hard cheese, milk and of course fish. But be careful: Because of the high proportion of saturated fatty acids that can encourage cardiovascular diseases, you should enjoy animal protein rather reduced
Take care of your bones too! Decline of estrogen can also affect bones. Sufficient calcium is therefore recommended to prevent bone loss. A dose of 1000 milligrams a day can already make your bones feel well nourished. Here too, there are small treats that easily can bring calcium into your circulation:
- Hard cheeses such as Emmental cheese and mountain cheese already offer you around 300 milligrams of calcium per slice – the remaining calcium for the day you can get with a natural yoghurt, a few nuts and a small glass of milk
- Be sure to note: Your body now needs significantly more vitamin D to promote calcium intake in order to maintain a healthy metabolism for your bones. During summertime, the sun outside ensures that our skin produces it itself, in winter nutritional supplements with vitamin D can be a great help
Even more good ideas from Mother Nature.
The breakdown of estrogen is the source of discomforts during the menopause. Fortunately, you can always count on Mother Nature to provide you with helpers from her garden for a little relief:
- Secondary plant substances (phytohormones) can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and are mainly contained in soy products. You can find similarly working lignans and isoflavones in linseed, legumes, cereals, berries, pome fruits and salads
- Traditional medicinal plants such as sage can curb sweat-outbreaks. Sage tea contains essential oils that soothe the nerve endings of the sweat glands. Sage preparations in the form of drops or tablets can also be useful for an antiperspirant reaction
- The black cohosh (Cimifuga racemosa) is also versatile and can have a positive effect against hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, depressed moods and anxiety
Since the symptoms of menopause sometimes include indigestion such as intestinal inertia and constipation, here is a tip on how to get rid of the ballast:
- Eat at least 30 grams of fiber a day. Whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds and vegetables are the ideal suppliers here. But yoghurt, curd and vegetables soaked in lactic acid such as pickled cucumber or sauerkraut can also ensure that your digestion gets going again. However, you should avoid raw food in the evening so that your intestines don't have to work too hard at night
A little wellness nurishes the soul.
Take an active stand against menopause: With a little fitness for muscles and bones and a careful diet, you can certainly enter through the door to the new phase of life more relaxed. In addition there are a few ideas from the wellness-world:
- Walking for 30 minutes twice a week can counteract hot flashes
- Steam baths, saunas and alternating showers strengthen the bloodcirculation and help your body to to compensate temperature fluctuations
- A dry massage in the morning, for example with these massage gloves made of 100% raw silk, makes the body stronger against hot flashes and boosts the metabolism. Detoxification is promoted, slags are broken down, and you can get a generally more positive body feeling
To look at the menopause completely in a positive light is certainly not possible. After all, it is your body that you deal with every day and that makes life difficult for you right now. Grant it the discomfort, let yourself be carried away from time to time – but devote a particularly attentive care to your body right now. It will thank you later.
Midlife-crisis instead of menopause.
To conclude, let's briefly deal with a cliché that you are probably familiar with: men around their 50s who suddenly behave compulsively youthful, have an eye for young girls, buy sports cars. It is often said: this is the midlife-crisis. The man just wants to feel young again.
Of course there is a bit of truth here, and midlife-crisis sounds more sophisticated than menopause for a man. The fact is: Men are not spared from menopause either. Instead of an estrogen changeover, a falling testosterone level is the trigger for the so-called andropause.
Which perhaps also explains the myth of the midlife-crisis: around every tenth man has to deal with sexual disturbances, mood swings, lack of strength and lack of drive during his menopause. Resigning to it is not for everyone, which is why some want to compensate for the physical symptoms of the new phase of life with a change in lifestyle. So if a man around 50 seems a little strange to you, please remember: it could be the male menopause.
Editorial office for nutrition: sw