YOUR HEALTH TRUTH
Sharing knowledge on menopause and overall women's health
Dear Menopause, When Will You Go Away?
September 10, 2023
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just the phase of life called menopause? It's a term that every woman dreads... because we are all too familiar what it means... hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, and not knowing when it will all end... For most women, menopause starts in our late 40s and early 50s, and last for a few years or even decades… Even though it's a totally natural thing that all women eventually experience, it can still get a bit overwhelming because it can be different for everyone.
You officially reach the menopause stage when you've gone 12 months without having your period. Some women can experience peri-menopause and post-menopause symptoms too, the stage before and after menopause.
What causes menopause? When our body experiences a significant drop in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, it can have a massive impact on our health and overall wellness… It brings along some unwanted menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gains, joint pains, insomnia, mood swings etc… For some of you who are lucky, menopause is just a phase where you experience a bit of discomforts here and there. But for others, it can totally turn your life upside and down, leaving you feeling helpless and anxious.
And fret not! We are here to help you! Keep reading this article to found out how you can combat menopause symptoms.
5 Common Symptoms of Menopause
>> Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Hot flashes and night sweats are among the most common menopausal struggles. In fact, about 75% of women above 50 actually experience hot flashes during menopause.
With that said, the degree of discomforts also depends on individuals. What are hot flashes exactly? Hot flashes are those sudden and unpredictable burst of heat throughout the entire body that can happen at any time of the day. You might feel like your body temperature is on a rollercoaster ride, changing from normal to hot to cold within a short span of time. Depending on individuals, hot flashes can be as short as 30 seconds, or it can last for five minutes.
If you experience hot flashes at night, it is more commonly known as night sweats. Night sweats are often worse than hot flashes because your body might struggle to return to its normal state afterwards, making it tough to get back to sleep immediately. Therefore, the frequent awakenings and discomfort can seriously affect the sleep quality, and making us feeling even more tired the next day... For most women, hot flashes and night sweats can last for about seven years but can persist for over a decade.
>> Joint Pain
Based on research, the second most common menopause symptoms that many women face is joint pain. A study involving over 8,000 women experiencing menopause, discovered that more than 60% of them reported experiencing muscle and joint aches.
So it is definitely a prevalent struggle for many women. In most cases, the discomforts come from the stiffness and soreness in the joints and muscles. The decline in mobility and flexibility, especially in the hips and knees, can be quite challenging for some to continue the same kind of lifestyle...
Menopausal women are also at a heightened risk of developing osteoarthritis, particularly in the hands. Osteoarthritis, a condition resulting from wear and tear on the joints, causes swelling, stiffness, and pain in the affected joints. The primary reason for joint pain is due to the drop in estreogen because estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining joint fluid levels. Once estrogen level drops, the muscles around the joints start to feel the pain and soreness easily. Other factors such as weight gain and dehydration, can put added strain on the joints.
>> Weight Gain
Like many women after 40s, you start to realise the "belly pouch" and "muffin top" that just can't seem to go away... even though you have not made any changes in your diet or lifestyle. So, why do women tend to put on weight during menopause? There are many factors that can lead to weight gain.
Firstly, when we were in our 20s, our body tends to burn more calories with higher metabolism rates. As we grow older, our muscle mass and metabolism rates drop, which means burning few calories by doing exactly the same thing on a day-to-day basis. As such, we may noticed that we tend to put on weight more easily.
Secondly, during menopause, the decline in estrogen levels may cause stubborn fats to accumulate around the abdomen more easily, particularly visceral fat. Visceral fat refers to the layer of fat surrounding your organs, it's one of the more difficult to burn off. This type of fat is often linked to issues like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health concerns.
Lastly, there are several other factors can contribute to weight gain after menopause. For women in their 50s and 60s, it's inevitable to reduce the amount of physical activity, partly due to the joint pain and soreness, resulting in lesser calories burned and higher muscle loss. For those looking to work on building muscle, you can try Truvani protein powder on top of your muscle training sessions. However, I personally prefer an easier (& less tiring option), which is simply to add probiotic into your diet, Wejoy Better Slim really helps to burn those belly fat!
>> Insomnia/ Sleep Disorder
Sleep-related issues are quite common during menopause. As mentioned earlier, some ladies experience sleep disorder because of night sweats. Approximately 39% to 47% of women shared that they experience poorer sleep quality during peri-menopause, and 35% to 60% of women for post-menopause.
And the primary reason for that? You should have guessed it by now, a decline in estrogen and progesterone can trigger many changes in your body, especially affecting your sleep patterns. Regarding our sleep pattern, progesterone actually plays an important role because it is a hormone that aids in promoting sleep. Hence a reduction in progesterone is one of the primary reason for poor sleep quality.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can have a negative in many areas of our life. Without a good night's rest, we will wake up feeling tired and drowsy, making it difficult to be productive and stay focus at work. More importantly, studies have shown that people who lack sleep, tends to experience more mood swings. For anyone having sleep disorder, I highly recommend this brand called Wejoy Balance, I'm personally taking it myself, and I have also recommended it to many of my friends who are in the same situation as me.
>> Mood Swings
Last but not least, with all the stress from work, family and everything else, dealing with menopause just makes it worse. Some of these emotional shifts you might observe include:
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Poor memory and concentration
- Mood swings
Sometimes, we feel like we don't recognise our body anymore... While menopause itself doesn't cause depression, research suggests that approximately 20% of women shared that they actually felt depressive at some points. So, if you find yourself feeling irritable or sad, It's important to remind yourself that all these changes are temporary and they will eventually go away.
If you say anything mean or hurtful to your loved ones, share with them honestly and openly that you're going through a difficult phase of your life, and ask for their understanding and support during this time. It's important that you share your concerns with someone you can trust, and not keep everything to yourself because that is extremely bad for your mental health. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to us here
6 Ways to Combat Menopause Symptoms
1. Maintain A Healthy Gut Is Crucial!
Maintaining a healthy gut is crucial for our overall health and overall well-being. With all the high-sugar, high-fat fast food options in our society today, it can be difficult to know what's really good for our gut, and what's negatively impacting it. Here are five common foods that you should try to avoid if you are trying to improve your gut health, and what you can do to fix it.
- Processed foods are often high in sugar and fats while lacking the essential nutrients required for your gut's proper functioning. Consuming too much processed foods can upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut, causing inflammation, bloating, and other digestive problems. What can we do? Aim to reduce your consumption of processed foods and choose whole, unprocessed alternatives, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, nuts and healthy fats.
- Sugar, in any form, not just refined white sugar, can cause burden on our guts. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucrose can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and trigger inflammation and digestive issues. Research shows that consuming high-sugar diets in a long-run can increase constipation and compromise overall gut function. To fix this, one of the most straight-forward ways is to consider limiting your intake of sugar (even artificial sweeteners) and opt for natural alternatives like honey, maple syrup, or stevia. However, do note that it's good to consume everything in moderation, even if they are natural...
- Gluten-free, something we all look out for whenever we buy food nowadays. Gluten is a protein found in foods like wheat, barley, and rye, and they can lead to problems like indigestion, inflammation and gut lining damage. For some people who are more sensitive to gluten, it may even result in conditions like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many studies have demonstrated that gluten can cause stomach discomfort, bloating, so it's definitely important for us to choose gluten-free diets. Moreover, adopting a gluten-free diet has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, inflammation, and the risk of weight gain or obesity. What can we do about it? I believe the answer is obvious. Consider removing gluten from your diet and opting for gluten-free alternatives such as rice, quinoa, or potatoes.
- Milk, cheese, butter... While we love dairy products, they can be problematic for individuals with lactose intolerance, causing upset stomach, bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. Even if you don't have lactose intolerance, dairy may not be the best choice for maintaining stomach health, because it can also cause skin problems when consuming dairy products too often (PCOS). Research suggests that dairy consumption can alter the bacterial composition of the gut within a short period, promoting strains associated with intestinal issues and inflammation. So, to maintain good gut health, consider eliminating dairy from your diet. If you really have to take dairy, then opt for options such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
- Lastly, fried foods. We all should know by now that fried foods are really bad for our health, not only our guts. It's high in unhealthy fats, which can trigger inflammation and damage the gut lining, potentially leading to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). To fix this, consider removing fried foods from your diet and choosing healthier cooking methods like baking, roasting, or grilling. Alternatively, if you really want to have fried food occasionally, choose air fry over traditional methods.
2. 4 Light exercises That Helps To relieve joint pain
Experiencing joint pain can lead to a lot of inconveniences in our daily life. For those who were used to having an active lifestyle, such as running, playing sports, dancing etc., going through joint pain during menopause can feel like you can no longer enjoy those activities. The truth is, there are various adjustments and activities that you can do to reduce those stiffness and soreness in your joints.
- Yoga: Yoga is known to provide many benefits for our body, reducing muscle tightness, promote relaxation etc. Choose a type of yoga practises that suits your needs, whether it's deep breathing exercises, yoga sessions, or meditation practices. Engaging in supported and restorative yoga poses may provide some relief. Yoga also contributes to physical relaxation by enhancing your flexibility and stretching abilities. It may be difficult for some of us at first, but consistent practises can help to ease muscle aches and joint discomfort.
- Stretching: On top of practising yoga, doing stretching at home can be a great way to rejuvenate stiff joints and enhance flexibility. Regularly stretching your shoulders, back and hips can keep your joints well-lubricated, reducing stiffness and discomfort. If you're going for any cardiovascular activities, remember to stretch well beforehand to prevent injuries and muscle strains.
- Swimming: For those who find running causing too much strains on your knees, swimming is an excellent alternative for strengthening your joints and muscles without subjecting them to excessive strain. Swimming not only enhances flexibility, muscle strength but also enhances balance. Furthermore, it's a safe and effective way to burn calories, improve metabolism while helping to manage menopause symptoms.
- Walking/ taking a stroll: Many people may have the misconception that you should rest more at home if you're having joint pain. However, low-intensity cardio exercises is actually better in keeping your joints well-lubricated, enabling smoother and less painful movement. In addition, it also benefits your cardiovascular and bone health.
3. Top Supplement Ingredients for menopause relief
- Other than making adjustments in our diet and physical activities, adding supplements into our daily life can accelerate the results, so we can see faster results in a shorter time. With hundreds and thousands of supplements in the market, how we do know what ingredients to look out for? Keep reading!
- Ashwagandha KSM-66 is a trademarked, high-concentration extract sourced from the Ashwagandha plant, renowned for its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens mainly helps the body to keep calm and cope with stress. Studies have revealed that KSM-66 can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. A study in the Journal of Midlife Health, involving 51 women aged 45 to 55 experiencing at least five daily hot flashes, showed that those who took KSM-66 experienced a significant reduction in both the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
- Black Cohosh: If you've tried menopause supplements before, you should be familiar with black cohosh. This herb, native to North America, has a centuries-old history of use in treating various conditions, including menopausal symptoms. It's one of the most common ingredients in menopause supplements for its ability to diminish the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Fenugreek, another well-known herb with roots in traditional medicine. It is a type of phytoestrogen that is used to replace the low estrogen levels in our body, making it an ideal component for menopause supplements. Fenugreek has been proven effective in reducing hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in Phytotherapy Research found that taking fenugreek for 12 weeks led to a notable reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. If you're keen to try this, check out Wejoy Balance
- For those dealing with poor digestion and bloating, adding probiotics into our diet is an easy and effective way to promote better digestion and boost immunity. High-sugar and high-salt diet, stress and pollution from the environment can lead to excess inflammation in our body, this encourages weight gain and fluid retention and makes weight loss difficult. Just by taking 1-2 capsules of probiotic supplement Wejoy Better Slim daily, it can help to rebalance gut microbes, reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and around the belly effectively!
- Magnesium plays a critical role in maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, as well as boosting energy naturally, reducing physical and mental fatigue. So if you find yourself having low energy and feeling tired easily, it could be due to insufficient magnesium levels in your body. Other than drinking 3 cups of coffee everything to keep yourself functioning properly, try adding food with high magnesium into your diet or take magnesium supplements. By doing so, magnesium can help restore energy levels, reduce fatigue, and ensure the body functions at its best. Moreover, magnesium is essential for maintaining healthy circulation, which is crucial for delivering oxygen to cells. Inadequate circulation can deprive cells of vital nutrients needed for optimal functioning and energy.
4. Drink Plenty of Water And stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water has many benefits for our skin and body. Maintaining proper hydration isn't just essential for your overall well-being; it can also play a role in managing your weight effectively. Drinking a cup of water before every meal can help to suppress appetite , promoting a sensation of fullness, and therefore we will eat lesser to feel full. If you ever experience symptoms like headaches, mood swings, persistent hunger, or difficulty concentrating, it could be a sign of mild dehydration. The easiest way would be to drink more water and keep yourself hydrated all the time.
According to a scientific publication in the Journal of Obesity, increasing water intake has been closely linked to weight loss among overweight and obese adults. Drinking sufficient water means burning more calories, scientifically referred to as resting energy expenditure.Just by drinking water, your resting energy expenditure can surge by 24% to 30%! Isn't that amazing?
Water intake not only aids in calorie burning but also reduces food cravings. By replacing sugary beverages with water, you can lower your calorie and sugar intake significantly. To ensure you remain adequately hydrated, always bring a water bottle with you and aim to consume at least eight cups of water daily. Additionally, if you're really craving for sweet food/sugary drinks, choose water-rich foods such as fruits instead, such as watermelons, oranges and apples etc.
5. superfood to accelerate your weight loss goal
While exercise and adopting a healthy lifestyle are crucial for weight management, here are some of the superfoods that can help you to accelerate your weightloss goal!
- Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, broccoli are nutritional powerhouses. These vegetables are not only low in calories, but also abundant in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and vitamin K. Calcium and Vitamin K play a vital role in bone health maintenance—an essential concern during menopause when osteoporosis risk heightens. They also contain high amount of fiber that can promote digestions and help you feel satiated, reducing the urge for junk food. Cooking Method: You can quickly prepare a nutritious side dish by sautéing a mix of spinach, kale, and Swiss chard with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic. Alternatively, toss various greens in a balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing salad.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are not only fresh and delicious, they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats offer numerous health benefits, including inflammation reduction and support for heart health. A drop in estrogen can often lead to weight gain and inflammation, so it's even more important to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids to boost metabolism and reduce inflammation. Cooking Method: Enjoy a heart-healthy dinner by grilling or baking a succulent salmon fillet with a splash of lemon and a dash of herbs. Alternatively, craft a quick and easy lunch by preparing a delightful tuna salad with canned tuna, olive oil, lemon juice, and diced vegetables.
- Greek yogurt, rich in nutrient, probiotics, calcium and protein. It's no doubt a superfood for those looking to lose weight. Probiotics are renowned for fostering gut health, which can positively impact weight management and reduce bloating. The calcium in greek yogurt supports bone health, while its protein keeps you feeling full and satisfied, curbing unnecessary snacking. However, do make sure that you choose Greek yogurt and not those packed with artificial sugar! Cooking Method: simply add fresh fruits, nuts, and a drizzle of honey into your Greek yogurt and there you have it, a yummy bowl for breakfast. Alternatively, use it as a base for nutritious smoothies by blending in your favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are a natural source of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants shield your cells from free radical damage, particularly beneficial during menopause when hormonal fluctuations may increase oxidative stress. Berries are also rich in fiber, aiding digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. Plus, the berries actually taste sweet and juicy! It's a great alternative as an afternoon or bedtime snacks! Cooking Method: Create a satisfying breakfast by combining various berries with Greek yogurt or oatmeal. For a refreshing and nutritious treat, blend berries with a splash of almond milk to craft an antioxidant-rich smoothie.
- Lastly, Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, serve as delightful and nutrient-dense snacks. They are rich in healthy fats, protein, and essential minerals. The healthy fats can also assist in burning belly fat and muffin top, a common concern during menopause. However, I would suggest to avoid macadamia nuts because it contains the highest calories and fats, so it's easy to overindulge, you might even end up putting on more weight than before... Cooking Method: Roast a handful of mixed nuts with a pinch of sea salt for a crunchy and gratifying snack. Or, enhance your salads, yogurt, or oatmeal with chopped nuts to introduce texture and added nutrition.
6. Keep Track of Your Progress and take one step at a time
Taking a big step towards shedding those extra pounds or changing your diets is not going to be easy, it takes a lot of planning, commitment and self-discipline. So, it is important that we know why we are doing all these. I recommend starting by clarifying the reasons behind your decision to begin this journey. What motivates you to shed those pounds? Is it to fit into your favorite outfit, look stunning for an upcoming vacation, or have more energy while playing with your children or grandchildren?
Keep a journal with you at all times to document your progress and accomplishments. This journal will not only allow you to make necessary adjustments if things don't go as planned but also serve as a motivational tool to keep you on track. On a daily basis, keep track of the changes you've made in your diet and exercise routine, pen down your thoughts, emotions, and plans as you embark on your weight loss journey.
For lasting results, it's essential to focus on both your dietary choices and physical activity. Your weight loss targets should be practical, measurable, feasible, and within reach. Make it a habit to check your journal daily to assess your progress and record your feelings as you move forward. You can also find a workout buddy who will keep you accountable, and share your experiences with each other to keep yall motivated and commited!
Every woman will go through menopause at some point, and although it's a natural process, it can still be perplexing or even unsettling for some.
With this information, you can now take measures to minimize your chances of encountering these menopause symptoms. Remember, this is a journey, but a sprint. Do not rush into changing everything in your life.