8 Lifestyle changes to help ease perimenopausal symptoms

1. Diet

It is important to consume a healthy diet. This should include foods such as fresh vegetables and whole grain products. Lower calorie dairy products that are rich in calcium, (e.g. milk, cheese, cottage cheese and low-fat ice cream) should also be included.

2. Weight control

It is very important to determine the optimal weight for each individual’s height and body type. Body mass index charts should be used, and women should work to maintain their ideal weight.

3. Exercise

Regular moderate physical activity for at least thirty minutes three times per week is ideal. If time is limited, aerobic exercise such as jogging or fast walking is preferred. However, if time is not an issue, muscle building or maintenance should be attempted using light weights or other forms of progressive resistance.

4. Smoking cessation!

This is very important in the management of perimenopause. In smokers, the level of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream increases each time a cigarette is consumed. Carbon monoxide has been shown to increase the rate of breakdown of estrogen in the body. This can lead to worsening hot flushes. In addition, smokers tend to lose bone at a higher rate than non-smokers, and this can contribute to worsening osteoporosis at an accelerated rate.

5. Dietary supplements

Women should consider taking vitamin and calcium supplements during perimenopause. Vitamin D is recommended because it’s necessary to insure the integrity of normal bone, and many people are deficient in vitamin D (vitamin D is frequently derived from sun exposure and eating foods rich in vitamin D). Foods containing significant amounts of vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna)
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Egg yolks
  • Selected mushrooms
  • Fortified milk
  • Some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals

However, please note that excessively large doses of both calcium and vitamin D can be harmful.

6. Stress management

As a matter of general health, attempts to diminish stress are helpful in controlling the symptoms of perimenopause. Yoga and deep-breathing exercises during a quiet time tend diminish stress, which can contribute to hot flushes, insomnia, and problematic interpersonal relationships. Other stress management techniques include:

  • Plan your time.
  • Be prepared.
  • Relax with meditation, deep breathing exercises, Yoga, or Tai Chi.
  • Relax the muscles by taking a hot shower or stretching.
  • Try to exercise at least 10 minutes at a time 2 hours and 30 minutes a week. Pick an activity you enjoy like cycling, walking, swimming, aerobics, or running.
  • Eat healthier foods.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Talk to friends or family about issues that are causing you stress.
  • Seek professional help if you need it.

7. Get more sleep

Attempts to maintain a consistent sleep pattern are advisable. Try to avoid drinking caffeine late in the day, as this can contribute to insomnia. Insomnia, in turn, may intensify depression and anxiety, which are frequently seen in perimenopausal women.

8. Talk to your doctor

Talk to a health-care professional if there are problems with painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness.