Menopause: The Good, The Bad and The Sweaty
Ah menopause. Hot flashes, emotional rollercoasters and night sweats are just for starters. Menopause is an inevitable occurrence in every woman’s life. It can be a very emotional time for many women as it means they are no longer able to become pregnant.
Though the experience may be unpleasant given the multitude of symptoms that can come with it, menopause is a natural part of aging and it shouldn’t be considered an illness or be looked down upon. There can even be positive changes that come with it!
The Change of Life
Menopause is a term that describes any and all of the changes a woman will go through just before and after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period. All women will experience menopause as they age.
Menopause is a biological process that takes place in a woman’s body, typically between 45 and 55 years of age. The average age of menopause for American women is 51.
However a woman can begin experiencing symptoms of menopause as early as her thirties and may even continue to have symptoms into her sixties. Generally, a woman tends to experience menopause at approximately the same age as her mother did.
Once a woman’s ovaries no longer produce estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that control menstruation and ovulation, they no longer release an egg every month and menstruation ceases.
Some women go through menopause without any unpleasant symptoms, while others can experience several or all of the documented symptoms.
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. Approximately 75% of all women experience increases in their body temperature during menopause.
More often than not, hot flashes begin before a woman’s last period. For 80% of women, hot flashes occur for two years or less, however a small percentage of women experience hot flashes for more than two years. These flashes are directly associated with decreased levels of estrogen. Hot flashes, like all symptoms of menopause, vary in frequency and severity for every woman.
Other symptoms of menopause can include:
- Night sweats, which are hot flashes that occur at night. Many women wake up drenched in sweat.
- Pain during intercourse as a result of drying and thinning of vaginal tissues.
- Irritability, due to lack of estrogen
- Frequent urination as a result of relaxed pelvic floor muscles, sometimes causing urinary incontinence.
- Hair loss
- An increase in facial hair
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Loss of libido
Magnesium to the Rescue
Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element in the universe. It is one of the most important minerals we consume for organ function and yet most people are deficient in it. It is a mineral utilized by every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles and kidneys. By some estimates, up to 80% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient.
Magnesium is often stored in your bones and organs, where it is used for many biological functions. Because of this it is very difficult to test for deficiency (because a blood test will not accurately reveal how much magnesium is in the body), meaning that it’s possible to be deficient and not be aware of it. This is why magnesium deficiency is often referred to as the “invisible deficiency”.
During menopause, your body’s magnesium levels tend to decrease. Getting your daily allowance of magnesium doesn’t just keep your body operating on par, it may also assist with symptoms of menopause, such as:
- mood swings
- tissue dryness
Magnesium is a natural tranquilizer which is why it helps with anxiety, irritability and other mood changes. Magnesium may also assist in improving dwindling energy levels throughout menopause.
Hormonal changes that occur during menopause lead to unabsorbed magnesium being eliminated through the kidneys at an increased rate. This is significant because magnesium is already insufficiently absorbed through diet at all stages of life.
When you receive enough magnesium daily, it can help strengthen your bones and prevent conditions such as osteoporosis — a condition caused by bone density-loss associated with aging — which has been known to develop during menopause. Magnesium works with calcium to keep bones strong and dense, so the higher rates of magnesium deficiency that occur during menopause are a cause for concern. A 2007 study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, showed that trace mineral supplementation, including magnesium, has valuable effects on bone density.
A magnesium supplement, like EASE Magnesium, is a great way to help you through what can be a difficult time. Spray some on your body daily to ease the symptoms of menopause, prevent osteoporosis and improve overall well-being.
Most women do not need medical treatment for menopausal symptoms. Some women find that symptoms go away on their own, and some women don’t find the symptoms all that uncomfortable, if they have them at all. Magnesium is always beneficial for your body though and has added benefits for women during menopause. If you do find symptoms of menopause to be troublesome, there are additional ways to deal with them, including some simple lifestyle changes.
A few other tips
If you are experiencing hot flashes, pay attention to what may be triggering them and do what you can to avoid those things. Possible triggers for hot flashes may include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods or even simply being in a hot place. Use a fan at home or at work to keep you cool.
Stress can be a factor for mood swings, so look for ways to ease your stress, such as getting an appropriate amount of sleep and staying physically active.
If you are having trouble sleeping, one of the most effective ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to be physically active. However, you may want to avoid exercising right before bedtime as it may keep you up. Try to avoid large meals and smoking right before bed too. If you can, avoid caffeine after noon and alcohol close to bedtime as well.
For severe menopause symptoms, we recommend that you speak with your doctor as there may be medical treatments that are right for you. This is especially important because some of the symptoms commonly associated with menopause may be signs of a medical problem such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.
With a few lifestyle changes and magnesium supplementation, you can take control of menopause and tackle symptoms head on. This might leave more room for looking at the bright side of menopause.
The Good Stuff
While we are generally led to fear menopause and think of it as an unpleasant experience, there are ways to look at it positively as well. For instance, if you have had difficult periods or PMS throughout your childbearing years, menopause will mean the end of that. Plus, you will now be able to enjoy sex without the worry of pregnancy, which can be a relief for many women. Some women also experience a rush of energy — both physical and psychological — after menopause that encourages them to take stock of their lives. American anthropologist Margaret Mead called this “menopausal zest”. Many women at this stage of life find that they feel more confident and self-assured; they know who they are, where they’ve been and feel good about where they’re going.