Every woman has to go through menopause. Most women experience natural menopause between the ages 45 and 55. In the United States, the average age for women to experience menopause is 51 years.1 However, there are women who experience the symptoms of menopause at an earlier age than usual. This could be due to medical treatments or for no known reason at all.
Here’s how you can avoid early menopause or reduce the symptoms of early menopause.
7 Steps To Prevent Early Menopause Symptoms
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercising is one of the best ways to delay perimenopause (a period of a woman’s life shortly before menopause begins). Physical activities help regulate hormones and also maintain the body fat.
While some exercise is good for your body, overdoing it can cause adverse effects. There is an association between excessive or intense exercise and menopause. Excessive exercising may create a hormonal imbalance causing irregular ovulation and may also cause early hormone depletion.
If you stop menstruating for a month or two, even if your weight is fine, it is time to consult a doctor to know what you are doing wrong.
2. Stop Smoking
Smoking is recognized as one of the factors that may cause early menopause.2
The chemicals found in cigarettes – nicotine, cyanide, and carbon monoxide – can aggravate the rate at which eggs are lost. Eggs lost cannot be regenerated or replaced. Due to this, women smokers experience menopause earlier than nonsmokers.
A study on perimenopausal women smokers showed that they experienced more severe hot flashes (a menopausal symptom) than nonsmoking women.3
3. Avoid Environmental Toxins
Did you know that your makeup, water bottle, body wash, or even your microwaveable lunch box may be triggering serious hormonal changes in your body? More research is required to substantiate this; however, there is a possibility that these are causing hormonal imbalances.
Scientists say that early menopause may be triggered because of certain chemicals in the environment called endocrine disruptors. These may mimic or partially mimic naturally occurring hormones like estrogen, producing overstimulation. It may also cause imbalances in growth hormone leading to increased body mass, a negative effect on menopausal women.
These toxins are often found in plastics and phthalates used in cosmetics, household goods, and even food containers. Reducing your exposure to them can help minimize your risk of hormonal imbalance.
4. Ditch Alcohol
Alcohol may not induce early menopause, but it can trigger the symptoms if you have other factors. Heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with decreased fertility.4
Apart from alcohol, caffeine which is commonly found in coffee, tea, some soft drinks, and chocolate may also have adverse effects on fertility. If you drink more than a cup of coffee per day, you might want to bring down your coffee cravings.
5. Maintain Your Weight
Estrogen is stored in fatty tissues and being overweight can be a major cause of excess estrogen. Estrogen in excess may cause risks to the ovaries. Being underweight can also adversely affect your health. Basically, being on the two extreme ends of the weighing scale i.e., overweight or underweight can trigger early menopause.
However, the good news is that weight is something we can control, and maintaining your weight is one of the easiest ways to balance hormones. Exercising, eating healthy, avoiding cigarettes, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress levels can help in maintaining a healthy weight.
6. Keep Your Bones Healthy
As you approach menopause, there’s a decrease in the ovarian hormone, resulting in a drop in bone density. A drop in your bone density increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Regular weight-bearing exercises can help you keep your bones stronger. You can also add calcium and vitamin D sources of food to your diet to maintain healthy bones. Foods rich in calcium include kale, sardines, broccoli, and raw milk. Vitamin D-rich sources include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, and cheese. It is always best to have them in moderate amounts.
7. Manage Your Blood Pressure
Fluctuations in blood pressure is common during menopause. Therefore, it is always important to manage your blood pressure. Weight gain is common during menopause and this can cause your blood pressure to increase. Extra weight on your body puts more strain to the arteries resulting in high blood pressure.
Avoiding too much salt in your food, eating heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoiding alcohol can effectively help in reducing your high blood pressure. If you don’t find any change in your blood pressure values, it is important to consult your doctor and follow the prescribed medications, if any.
So, consider these steps to prevent symptoms of early menopause and enjoy your womanhood to the fullest.
|↑1||Norsigian, Judy. Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause. Simon and Schuster, 2008.|
|↑2||Perimenopause – a patient education video. American Society for Reproductive Medicine.|
|↑3||Cigarettes Can Sabotage Hormone Balance. National University of Natural Medicine.|
|↑4||Hakim, Rosemarie B., Ronald H. Gray, and Howard Zacur. “Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility.” Fertility and sterility 70, no. 4 (1998): 632-637.|