By the time most women are in their early fifties, they are thinking of what will happen when they go through menopause. Women enter menopause after 12 consecutive months without a period, and for most women that happens in their early fifties, with the average age being 51. Here are four ways you can prepare yourself for going through menopause.
Check Hormone Levels
As you start to transition toward menopause, you may begin to have menopause-like symptoms, which is called perimenopause. These symptoms include hot flashes, irregular periods and sweating at night. If you haven’t had any of these symptoms, ask your doctor to test the baseline levels of your hormones.
A baseline level is the measurement taken when your hormone levels are at their best. When you start having symptoms, you doctor can order another blood test with which to compare your levels. The readings will tell you what your oestrogen, testosterone and thyroid levels are, which can help indicate whether you’re transitioning into menopause.
Watch Your Weight
Many women begin gaining weight when they go through menopause, because their hormone levels are fluctuating and it can be harder to maintain their weight. In addition, you may be going through several changes in your life at this stage, including preparing for retirement, seeing your children move out of the house or downsizing your home. Stress can lead to overeating, which will lead to weight gain. To avoid weight gain, make sure you maintain a healthy diet, and try to exercise on a regular basis to help with any weight changes you may experience.
Strengthen Body through Exercise
Oestrogen is a hormone that helps maintain healthy bones, but as you go through menopause, your oestrogen levels will drop and your body may not be able to make enough new bone to replace what you lose. Many postmenopausal women will develop weak or brittle bones, which is known as osteoporosis. This can lead to broken bones.
To prevent problems with bone loss, you should add foods to your diet that contain vitamin D and calcium, including fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy foods. In addition to diet, you should do weight-bearing exercises to help strengthen muscles to support your bones. Walking, yoga, tai chi and light weight training are exercises that will help keep your body strong.