We are going to take a short break from discussing pregnancy topics to talk about menopause. There are several misconceptions about menopause that I hear on (what seems like) a daily occurrence. Below, are three of the most common misconceptions about menopause.
All women gain weight during menopause. Declining estrogen levels certainly does not help boost your metabolism, but it does not mean you have to gain weight. A healthy diet and active lifestyle will win out in the long run. A tip that I tell patients who are concerned about weight gain is to stay away from sugar. This doesn’t mean you can never indulge, but if the large majority of your diet consists of high-protein and low-carb foods, your sugar cravings will decrease significantly.
Menopause begins at 50. This one can be deceiving, since the average age of menopause is 51; but to understand what I mean here, let’s take a look at what the definition of menopause actually is. Menopause occurs when you haven’t had a period for an entire year (12 consecutive months); however, there are a number of things that take place leading up to that point: irregular periods, skipped periods, hot flashes, night sweats, changes in libido, increased abdominal weight, and more. Just because menopause usually begins after the age of 50 does not mean you have not been experiencing menopausal symptoms for years leading up to this point. This phenomenon is called perimenopause.
Hot flashes are the most likely symptoms of menopause. What is the first thing you think of when someone says menopause? Is it hot flashes? Probably. I am not entirely sure why they get all the attention, perhaps because they are the most annoying or inconvenient of the symptoms, but what’s just as common if not more is insomnia. When you notice you are skipping periods or experiencing lighter periods it’s important to establish a definitive sleep pattern. Another way to increase your chances of sleeping through the night is to alter your workout routine. If you typically walk or run, try mixing in some yoga. By shifting the focus and targeting different muscle groups your body becomes more fatigued and you’ll have a better chance of sleeping through the night.
If you are menopausal, but your adult children are looking for an OB doctor, please send them my way or tell them to reach out to me through my website at www.stillsonwitt.com .