Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for our overall well-being, and it can play a significant role in perimenopause. It is the transitional period that occurs before menopause. During the perimenopause stage, the level of estrogen starts to decline. This can lead to symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness, joint pains, and disturbances in bladder habits.
This can be prevented by adopting healthy habits, that help support hormonal balance and which consequently promote overall health.
Here are some ways in which a healthy lifestyle can be cultivated that can support overall well-being and help mitigate the risk of perimenopause.
Table of Contents
Balanced diet and nutrition
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is vital for a person’s overall health. For this, incorporate a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and beneficial fats into your daily meals. Focus on foods rich in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytoestrogens that support reproductive health. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is particularly important to maintain bone health, as women with perimenopause run an increased risk of osteoporosis. Avoid or limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and unhealthy fats as they can contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances.
Regular physical activity
Engaging in regular physical activity is crucial for overall well-being, which can help regulate hormones, manage stress, and maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that weight-bearing exercises lead to increased muscle mass and the development of increased bone mass. A minimum of 30-40 minutes of exercise, four times a week is recommended. One must strive to achieve a minimum by incorporating physical activities like jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming into your routine. This will help reduce symptoms with the release of endorphins, which promote a positive mood. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight with the help of regular exercise can alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause.
Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance and negatively impact reproductive health. Adopting stress management techniques can help reduce the onset of early perimenopause. Participate in practices encouraging relaxation, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. It is vital to prioritize self-care and allocate time for activities that you enjoy the most. Adequate sleep is also crucial for stress management and hormonal regulation, hence one must ensure 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
Avoid smoking, consumption of alcohol
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can accelerate the onset of early menopause and a higher likelihood of experiencing perimenopausal symptoms. Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt hormonal balance and negatively impact reproductive health. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are essential steps toward promoting overall health and can help reduce the risk of perimenopause.
Participate in wellness programs
Engaging in wellness programs that incorporate Yoga, Tai chi, Pilates, and other holistic practices can be beneficial for women by promoting overall well-being and potentially reducing the risk of perimenopause. These activities offer various advantages and regulate hormone levels and induce relaxation, helping to maintain regular menstrual cycles and delay perimenopause. Pilates exercise improves circulation, body weight, and muscle tone, all of which positively impact hormonal health. Practicing yoga and breathing techniques targets the endocrine system while reducing stress, and supporting hormonal balance.
Managing Perimenopausal symptoms
Women with moderate to severe perimenopausal symptoms can be offered either hormone replacement therapy or combined hormonal contraceptives until the age of natural menopause unless contraindicated. It is crucial to seek guidance from a healthcare professional to evaluate on an individual basis, the potential risks, and determine the most suitable approach for preventing early perimenopause. . It can be used in the form of pills, skin patches, sprays, gel, vaginal rings, and intrauterine devices.
There are health risks like osteoporosis and heart disease associated with menopause, which happens after perimenopause. Estrogen plays an important role in preserving bone health. Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density is decreased and bones become more fragile, leading to bone fractures. Women in menopause are also at risk of heart disease. Hormone replacement therapy increases estrogen levels and reduces the risk of bone fracture and heart disease. According to various studies, women who go through menopause in later life may experience better cognitive functions and delayed aging effects compared to those who go through it earlier.
It's important to note that individual experiences may vary from person to person, and discussing any concerns or specific health considerations with a healthcare provider is advisable. One must remember that every small step toward a healthier lifestyle can make a significant difference in your well-being.
About the author: Dr. Amrita Chadalawada is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Mirror. All views/opinions expressed in the article are of the author.