How a woman’s body changes due to menopause

It comes to every single woman of a certain age – the menopause. And in the same way that every woman’s menstrual cycle follows a pattern in a highly individual way, so does the menopause.

Typically a woman goes through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. Her body undergoes several significant changes due to hormonal fluctuations, primarily involving estrogen and progesterone. But the changes are not just physical, but emotional as well, and will fluctuate as she traverses the different stages – premenopause, perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

Menopausal symptoms

Briefly, the symptoms below will make their appearance at different stages:

  •  Menstrual cycles may become irregular, with periods becoming lighter, heavier, more frequent, or less frequent. Eventually, menstruation stops altogether.
  •  Many women experience sudden and intense heat sensations, often accompanied by sweating, especially at night.
  • Decreased estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort, as well as urinary symptoms like increased frequency or urgency. 
  • Estrogen helps maintain bone density, so declining estrogen levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. 
  • Many women experience weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, during and after menopause. The need to go for fuller busted swimwear is suddenly reality.
  • Hormonal changes can lead to hair thinning or loss, particularly in the crown and frontal areas of the scalp.

What can you do to mitigate the symptoms

While many women consult their doctor and go onto an HRT Hormone Replacement Therapy protocol, there are many other women who prefer to take a more holistic approach. 

Changing your thinking and mindset is probably one of the biggest steps to take when you start to recognize the signs of menopause. This is not to say that you need to consider yourself past it, old, beyond hope. Rather, you need to recognize it as a time of liberation, to embrace the next stage of your life when the pressures and expectations of youth are released and you can look forward to a new you.

There is a degree of acceptance. Acceptance that your body is not going to react in the same way. Foods you could probably eat without even thinking about now effect changes in your shape that you would rather not see. Intolerances become more pronounced. Sleep becomes more elusive. 

As you navigate these changes be curious rather than resentful. If they cause you discomfort, look at making changes to your habits and diet to help mitigate the changes.

Tackling the hot flushes

Ever a topic of conversation among women of a certain age, there is ultimately very little you can do to stop hot flushes other than to wait them out. However, you can alleviate the intensity by recognizing certain foods that trigger them. Often excessive alcohol, and spicy or highly processed foods can make them worse.

Dressing in layers, keeping the bedroom cool, practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, can also help alleviate symptoms. Some women find relief with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medications, but these should be discussed with a healthcare provider due to potential risks and benefits.

Bone Density Loss

Due to the decrease in estrogen, many women find themselves a greater risk of developing bone density diseases such as osteoporosis. There are many things that you can do to mitigate this. Consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, engaging in weight-bearing exercises like walking or strength training, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can help maintain bone health

Weight Gain

Adopting a healthy diet low in processed foods and added sugars and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help prevent weight gain. Regular exercise, including both cardiovascular and strength training activities, is also important for managing weight and maintaining overall health.