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An Active Approach to Managing Menopause

Get Moving to Relieve Discomfort


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In addition to the other great suggestions here, I would recommend having thyroid levels checked if you are having a really horrible time with menopause and weight. TSH level should be between 1-2 for best function. Report
I don't totally agree with this article. Yes, we all know the benefits of exercise, but I disagree with the article's implication that if you exercise you won't experience hot flashes. I went through menopause about 7 years ago and only experienced hot flashes once and at the time I did not have a regular exercise routine.

I am NOT saying this article is wrong, but as we all know, it's not a "One size fits all" either. Report
I have been walking 1.5 hours a day for the past few years, and in the past 3 or so months adding/changing to my exercise plan (cycling, yoga, increasing the amount of strength training I do) due to an injury. I don't know if all that has helped or not, since perimenopause is so individual, but I haven't had hot flashes ... *crosses figers*... and only occasional mild night sweats. So, since I exercise to keep my heart and bones healthy, I guess I have one more reason to keep on with what I am doing. Report
As we can tell by all the responces to this article, each woman experiences it in her own way. Good health is just common sense; not necessarily an fix for hot flashes. I am not having them stop with exercising, but I am not going to stop taking good care of myself. They will have to live with exercise and a good diet if they are taking up residence in this body. So we are just going to have to be the odd couple, me and hot flashes. :)) not liking it though. Report
I had a hysterectomy at the age of 43 and was thrust into menopause quite suddenly, weight gain, hot flashes galore and quite irritable. At 45 I decided I needed to lose 45 pounds and started walking and recording my food. Now that I am 5 pounds from my goal the hot flashes have almost disappeared (they only appear when I overeat or am under a great amount of stress) and I am much less irritable. I agree whole heartedly with this article. Report
I hate to say this, but all the exercise in the world did not help me with my surgically induced menopause (total hysterectomy at 36). Maybe it's because naturally occurring menopause is more gradual, giving the body time to adjust. I attempted to weather "the Change" without hormone replacement. HUGE mistake for someone my age with my activity level. The hot flashes and sleep disturbance were bad, but worse was the fact that my body literally began to fall apart for lack of estrogen. After one year, my knees and shoulders were chronically inflamed, both of my achilles were on the verge of rupture and I had the beginning stage of osteoporosis (osteopenia). I also put on 12 pounds, despite the fact that my exercise regimen didn't really change. I am VERY active, teaching a variety of cardio and strength classes 5x a week and running around outside the gym with my family. None of that helped mitigate the degenerative problems I faced following menopause. I finally started HRT after realizing that there was no way I could survive the next year of my life like that, let alone 30 or more. I would end up a cripple! If you are in menopause and suffering, talk to you Dr., get educated, and take ALL factors and variables into account when you decide how to weather "the Change". Report
Sorry, that's Christine Northrup, M.D. Report
I read something from Diane Northrup M.D, she has several books on the market. I'm not sure the specific thing she said, but it was related to sugar. To paraphrase, she said if women would stop eating sugary foods, this improves hot flashes and other problems of menopause. I have no direct experience with this. I'm 51 and at present have not had any hot flashes at all. My menopause so far has been uneventful. I do strength training, yoga and some cardio. I eat healthy and cut way back on all meat, not just red meat. I don't take any HRT at all (afraid of them). So far everything's ok, but I know that I could have symptoms at any time. Report
Although fairly generic, I found the article motivating. I'm in perimenopause, with up to 8 or 9 months between periods. I've gained a LOT of weight. I went to a doctor, thinking I must already be in menopause, but blood tests showed I'm not. I am motivated to start exercising and lose the weight, before it gets even harder. Report
You don't go "through" go TO menopause. It's the perimenopause phase that can be play havoc with your body. Report
Menopause is such an individual experience. Because of a knee and shoulder injury, I was not exercising during mine . I experienced essentially a big nothing menopause, took no hormones. My sister said the same--no big deal. My close friend, who is thin, healthy, and an avid exerciser, went into a severe depression and could not concentrate. She didn't realize she was menopausal so she sought treatment for depression. When her boss heard she was getting psychiatric help he subjected her to a reign of terror until he tortured her out of her job just short of eligibility for early retirement benefits. Eventually, she went to a women's clinic that specializes in treating menopause and snapped out of all her mental problems upon starting hormone therapy. I have friends, both exercisers and not, who have been on hormones for 15-20 years, because they could not function when their doctor tried to wean them off. In short, I think exercise improves about all bodily functions, but menopause is way more complex and individualistic than this article would indicate and even exercisers can find it so difficult that they are essentially disabled by it while some non-exercisers breeze right through it. Report
when i started going through menopause, i began working out more. the physical exertion seemed to help the symptoms, so i did more. i never took hrt or soy products, but i worked out like a fiend. i would go to the health club 5-6 days a week. i did hours of weight training, cardio and aerobics. i was in great physical shape and though i had some hot flashes, nothing too severe. no night sweats or mood swings. working out really got me through it. Report
I'm sure that exercise and lifestyle does help. Some women just have an intense peri-menopausal experience. Other women don't experience a single hot flash. I'm 52 and 4 years post menopausal. Lately I'm not having hot flashes and I hope that they don't come back. I experienced hot flashes for about 10 years, some times they were severe, coming nearly every hour. A person can't get a decent sleep when they are flashing constantly. I also had frequent ocular migraines. I tried many things. The physican was reluctant to put me on HRT and I didn't know what to think about HRT. Report
I have been suffering from hot flashes for several years now. I do ALL those things that every article claims will help me. I eat a balanced diet - no meat - and make sure that I get proper protein from plant sources. I do varied exercise four to six days a week and have been doing so since I was seventeen. I make sure to keep my weight down. I weigh 128 and am 5'5". I have tried just about everything sold over the counter and have tried several holistic avenues as well. NOTHING works. I refuse to take any drug that has been tested on animals. When I told my doctor that I would like her to recommend something for me that hasn't caused an animal to be be tortured her response was "Then you'll just have to tough it out." At this point that is what I am trying to do. I have lost faith in any 'experts' advice at this point. Report
I'm with all of you ladies who've documented no help from exersize. I've been a runner since age 27, and log in 23-25 miles a week currently. I flash all day and night, and have become famous for various fans I carry around with me. I've become very creative at fanning myself. Black cohosh has been studied and found ineffective for hot flashes. I did find accupuncture helpful....till it, too, stopped working. Again, no documented proof that it helps. I don't dare use soy or HRT, as my sister has 4th stage breast cancer, and my maternag grandmother died of ovarian cancer. I was thin going into menopause, and was prescribed the dreaded effexor for the flashes. Hello 30 pounds! And the sweating was WORSE as each dose stopped working, and my MD kept hiking the dose to 112.5. 4 months of withdrawal and a week off from work to stop totally made me the poster girl AGAINST taking that awful drug! But it's the weight that hurts the most. And it takes so friggin' long to lose a pound!!! I can find no difinitive answers anywhere about the best approach to dropping the weight, aside from cutting calories down to nothing. HELP! Report

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