We’re not big on 'shouldn’ts’, and as with so many things, the things we’re told we should not do during menopause are more generally advice for good overall health than prescriptive bans. However, individuals may find that some of the following help to calm or minimise symptoms and long-term effects.
Don’t give up on sleep: The decline of oestrogen and the symptoms that causes can cause a lot of women to have trouble sleeping. That might mean difficulty getting to sleep, interrupted sleep or waking very early. While it’s easier said than done, the best advice is - don’t give up. As therapists, we can help prepare the body for sleep and help individuals maximise the effectiveness of the sleep they get with massage, aromatherapy and reflexology.
Don’t give up on weight loss or weight maintenance: Hormonal changes can make managing weight much harder than it once was, but if you try to maintain a healthy weight it will help to support overall wellbeing and can limit the severity of menopause symptoms.
Limit your intake of refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine, spicy food and salt: The US Department of Health reliably informs us that too much these things can worsen menopausal symptoms. It’s also recommended that if you smoke, try to quit - partly for hot flushes and partly because it’s generally bad for health - but you knew that anyway.
Don’t wear heavy clothing: This is one that’s all about comfort. As women going through menopause tend to feel much hotter than usual. Wearing light layers means you can strip off if you’re uncomfortable! It’s also an idea to carry a fan.
Don't close your mind to Hormone Replacement Therapy: For some, holistic treatments and lifestyle changes are enough to help carry them through menopause, but for some it’s not and hormone therapies are a better solution. Try to keep an open mind and find what’s best for you - don’t suffer in silence because of preconceived ideas.
Don’t blame everything on menopause: While lots of changes do happen, and it can feel like one thing after the other, if you feel unwell and are not sure if it’s related, see your doctor and make sure it isn’t something more serious. Even if it is menopause related - if you’re struggling, talk to your GP, sometimes they know things.
Try not to stress: Easier said than done, but stress (which is heightened with hormonal changes), definitely won’t help anything. This is where complementary therapies like massage can be extremely helpful.
Don't stop seeing friends: Mood changes and feeling uncomfortable in your own body can mean you don’t feel like going out much. That’s ok, but don’t isolate yourself. Sometimes the best medicine is putting the world to rights with friends.
Don’t blame yourself: 85% of women experience menopausal symptoms and you’re not getting them because of something you did wrong. It’s totally normal.
Don’t be too aggressive with yourself: All these things are great, and individuals may find them helpful, but it’s also important not to beat yourself up about it. If you want the cake, have the cake - everything in moderation, including moderation.
US Department of Health: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-flashes-what-can-i-do