OPINION: The Health and Wellbeing column with Mel Spencer: Taking control of menopause issues

The big ‘M’, still to a certain extent a taboo subject, is something that all women go through with approximately 3 in 4 experiencing symptoms.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 10:38 am
To help combat negative effects you should be aiming to exercise.

The big ‘M’, still to a certain extent a taboo subject, is something that all women go through with approximately 3 in 4 experiencing symptoms.

Whilst it’s a natural process some of the symptoms can prove problematic, however they can be treated or lessened with lifestyle changes – the focus of this article.

Starting with the basics, menopause occurs when you stop menstruating and your ovaries stop producing eggs resulting in levels of oestrogen and progesterone falling.

Mel Spencer.

Perimenopause is the time leading up to this when your body is transitioning and hormone levels fluctuate producing symptoms of menopause.

Most symptoms relate to the above mentioned oestrogen deficiency and include hot flushes, fatigue, mood changes including anxiety and depression, brain fog, a change in body shape and achy joints.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but some of the most commonly experienced symptoms.

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, exercise can feel very counter intuitive and you’re probably more likely to want to comfort eat and move less, but exercise and correct nutrition before, during and after menopause offers many benefits.

Women also lose up to 10% of their bone-strength in the first five years after menopause which can lead to osteoporosis. This is where resistance training comes in as it helps to keep bones strong.

It also maintains muscle mass helping to keep that metabolism firing and burning fat. Heart health’s another important factor as the risk of heart disease increases.

Menopause can be a challenging time but you can take some control which can be a very empowering experience.

To help combat negative effects you should be aiming to exercise (particularly strength training), and eat a healthy balanced diet (ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium). Nutrition is very important and deserves an article in its own right!

Lifestyle alone can be enough to manage symptoms, however if more intervention is required then HRT should be considered and advice sought from your healthcare professional.

Having said that, HRT should not be seen as a substitute for lifestyle measures and a holistic approach should be adopted.

The average life expectancy for females is 83. As a woman going through menopause you are likely to have more adult life after it than before. Start tweaking your lifestyle as soon as you can and be ahead of the curve.

I’ve seen the benefits time and time again in my clients. What are you waiting for?!

Mel is a fully qualified Personal Trainer and NASM qualified Women’s Fitness Specialist with a focus on the menopause and the management of symptoms via exercise and nutrition.

If you have any questions in relation to this article, you can contact her at www.melspencerpt.co.uk

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