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How exercise and nutrition can help navigate through changing life phases.

By Drew Robinson, Personal Trainer at Prahran

Menopause is the ceasing of a menstruation for a 12 month period due to a decline in reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone,  FSH and LH) and no eggs left in ovaries. Commonly between 45-60 years old is when menopause will happen with the average age in Australia being 51yrs. Before the age of 45 that is early menopause and earlier than that at 40 is premature menopause.

Perimenopause - The Lead Up: As you come up to menopause, hormones start to fluctuate and you could notice some of these in your cycle:

  • Irregular cycles, 
  • Light bleeding,
  • Unpredictable heavy bleeding - (seek medical advice).

Following this women then go into menopause. Listed below are the common symptoms associated:

  • Hot flushes (75% of women)
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle or joint ache
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Urinary frequency - more often
  • Mood changes - anxious, upset, sad and angry
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Increased hair growth

Symptoms vary between women and even between women from different cultures. Some women might experience menopause earlier in life. This is due to many reasons that are shown below:

  • Medical procedures - hysterectomy
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Oophorectomy - removal of ovaries
  • Certain genetic dispositions and autoimmune diseases

There is no actual diagnosis for menopause as there is no specific test. The most reliable one is if the time since last period is 12 months or longer. How to help:

  • Healthy diet including a wide range of foods
  • Reduce stress
  • Exercise regularly (reduced risk of osteoporosis due to loading bones and tendons)
  • Light weight bedding and night wear
  • Quit smoking

Never be afraid to seek professional medical advice from your doctor if you are worried about menopause.

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