Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

We all know menopause is going to hit us.

But, when exactly will it hit us?

To fully understand when menopause may hit us we first need to understand the three stages of menopause.

The Three Stages of Menopause

Perimenopause or “menopause transition.” Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1-2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women can experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can still get pregnant.

Menopause. Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.

Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for most women. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Are You Going Into Early Menopause

Early menopause can be triggered by a number of factors:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Poverty (experts hypothesize that women in poverty have poorer eating habits)
  • Smoking (this can increase your risk of early menopause by 30%!)
  • Alcohol, although it is noted that yes alcohol may contribute to entering the phases of menopause at an earlier age, it is not necessarily deemed as “early menopause” – not sure what the difference is myself.
  • Medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Women who have had their ovaries surgically removed
  • Premature ovarian failure (POF)
  • An overload of heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium can also be a cause

When premature menopause is suspected, you can ask your doctor to order blood tests that look at the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol.  This work-up should also include the thyroid and the adrenal glands because they can be affected too.

Relief for the Symptoms of Early Menopause

According to WomentoWomen.com:

“Our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are constantly shifting throughout our life, and that’s normal. But as we age, the fluctuations and ratios between these hormones can become more extreme. When the body cannot regulate these shifts in hormone levels, women can experience common symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, hot flashes, food cravings, and fatigue.”

We can balance these symptoms naturally with:

  • A healthy, whole food diet
  • Herbal remedies such as black cohosh, passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam and ashwagandha have been shown to help support our hormone production
  • Lifestyle changes such as removing environmental toxins, getting enough sleep
  • Reducing chronic stress
  • Getting more exercise

Health Concerns for Early Menopause

Our hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone), are needed for the years leading up to menopause.

They offer protection against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

If you have been found to be in early menopause chat with your doctor, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health and get yourself on a health plan to protect your heart and your bone health.

Some things to look at are:

  • Vitamin D, to support your bones
  • Strength training, to help build new bone and strengthen the heart
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that women who go through menopause before the age of 46 are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease or have a stroke
  • Don’t smoke – or quit
  • Take a high-quality omega 3, daily
  • HRT (hormone replacement therapy)

Local Naturopaths Who Specialize in Women’s Health

Dr. Karen McGee

Dr. Heli McPhie

Dr. Nishi Dhawan

 

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20-Minute No Jump Cardio Workout

20-Minute No Jump Cardio Workout

20-Minute No Jump Cardio Workout

A 20-minute cardio workout you can do in your living room – with absolutely no jumping! 

“You look like a spaz!”. Was the first thing to leave my lips when I turned around and saw how loving husband was interpreting my squat and hamstring curl combo.

I wasn’t being mean. It was just the honest truth.

He was doing some weird and funky things with his arms, he was barely bending his knees and his squat, well, it just looked super awkward and hard on his knees.

But… he tries and he must really love me to come on each week to workout and be mocked (slightly) by yours truly.

So bless his big spastic heart.

20-Minute No Jump Cardio

 

Tools needed:

A mat

Workout best for:

Home

Workout rated for:

Beginner – intermediate

All women gain weight as they get older.

Someone said that to me a few years ago and I’m here to tell you that that is bullsh*t.

Yes, as we get older it’s easier to gain weight, but it’s because we are doing the wrong things in the gym and the kitchen.

We have to be smarter with our health and weight loss plan, after the age of 40.

If you want the plan and the secret to to keeping your waistline, click here.

 

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Menopause & Sleep

Menopause & Sleep

Menopause and Sleep

Why can’t we sleep? Why is it in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond, we all of sudden revert back to our newborn selves?

Where we are up every 2-3 hours, crying, whining, fists in a ball ready to hit someone (and that someone is usually our significant other who is sleeping just fine right beside us).

Or, perhaps you are one of the chosen that can’t seem to fall asleep. You lie there getting more and more frustrated while your brain is doing a continuous play-by-play of the last 24 hours, and then 48 hours and then the last ten years.

Menopause & Sleep

Sleep disturbances (aka: insomnia) is common around the time of menopause, and while most women attribute their lack of shut eye to menopause symptoms there are many other reasons for sleep disturbances that healthcare professionals want us to look at.

Some factors to consider that may be distributing your sleep:

  • Night sweats (which are simply hot flashes at night)
  • Sleep-disordered breathing (known as sleep apnea)
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Painful chronic illnesses
  • And even some medications can get in the way of sleeping

How to Sleep Better When In Menopause

The first order of treatment is to improve your sleep routine and sleep hygiene.

  • Maintain regular hours of going to sleep each night and getting up each morning. Keep your sleep cycle the same, seven days a week.
  • Get outside, and in some sunshine as soon as you can first thing in the morning (if the weather permits it), as well as in the afternoon. This will help set you body’s sleep cycle clock and aid in nixing any napping that could happen in the afternoon.
  • Exercise on a regular basis, but avoid exercising too late in the evening – as it increases your alertness.
  • Avoiding getting too warm while sleeping if you are prone to night sweats
    • Sleep with a window open, or a fan on you
    • Sleep in dri-fit clothes (to wick away the sweat)
    • Buy moisture-wicking bed sheets (here’s a brand that got some great reviews)
  • Don’t have any stimulants, such as caffeine and dark chocolate, 6-hours before bed.
  • Have a light dinner and avoid alcohol. One drink is fine, but more drinks will only increase the chances of you waking up throughout the night.
  • Shut down all your gadgets at least two hours before bedtime. The blue light in computers, tablets and phones is can block the production of your natural sleep hormone, melatonin. If you do have to be on your computer you can try blue light blockers. There are screen covers, as well as glasses that block the blue light out. For the glasses, this brand was the only one that passed the test by Consumer Reports.
  • Give yourself at least an hour before bed to unwind and power down. Dim the lights and read a book, meditate, do some slow-flow yoga or yin yoga, or give my stretch workouts a try.
  • When lifestyle changes fail to alleviate sleep disturbances, ask your doctor to refer you to a sleep centre to rule out sleep-related disorders before initiating prescription treatment.
  • And, if your sleep disturbance is related solely to hot flashes, hormone therapy is likely to help.

 

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25-Minute Bodyweight Strength & Ab Workout

25-Minute Bodyweight Strength & Ab Workout

25-Minute Bodyweight Strength and Ab Workout

A 25-minute total body workout, using no equipment, with emphasis on the abs!

Guess what?

Loving husband is back!

He has agreed to film workouts with me again, with the promise that he gets to do all the easy and modified moves.

So, I said of course and then conveniently forgot about my promise and made him do three rounds of burpees in this workout.

Oops. My bad.

Your burpee looks like crap

We have a special burpee and squat drill at the end and loving husband’s burpees were SO BAD all I could do was laugh.

And I did.

I laughed so hard I could barely do them (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

If anything, you have to tune into his version of the burpee – it’s at the 22:00 minute mark – and then watch it from there.

It should be a smile on those lips of yours.

Bodyweight Strength & Ab Workout

Tools needed:

A mat

Workout best for:

Home

Workout rated for:

Beginner – advanced

 

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Best Exercises For Menopause

Best Exercises For Menopause

Best Exercises for Menopause

 

Best Exercises for Menopause

What’s happening to our bones and muscles during peri and menopause

  • On average a woman will lose about 10% bone mass while in menopause.
  • Doctor’s used to chalk this up to a decline in estrogen levels. You see estrogen helps preserve calcium in the the body, which in turn prevents bones breakdown. However, newer research is now recognizing that there is more to play than just our hormones.
  • We start to lose a percentage of our muscle mass and strength in our 40’s, and that picks up speed when we get into our 50’s.
  • Low estrogen levels can correspond with low serotonin levels (an important neurotransmitter which regulates mood and pain receptors), which can contribute to generalized aches and pain.

How to kick menopause in the a**

  • Exercise. You need to keep your body moving.
  • Strength training and weight bearing exercise to build your muscle and your bone mass.
  • Relaxation exercises (like meditation, yoga, mindful walking) to lower your stress and cortisol levels. This is especially important during our peri and menopausal years because our bodies are under enormous physical and emotional stress (during the hormonal transition of menopause – we also went through it in puberty).
  • Stress causes us to release higher levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased programmed cell death in bone-building cells, as well as increased abdomen fat and chronic inflammation.

What I recommend

I would love to see every woman in the world pumping some iron. Strength training workouts:

  • Burn fat
  • Change the shape of you body
  • Boost your metabolism
  • Build your bones
  • Improve your joint stability and balance
  • Increase your muscle strength

What you should be focussing on with your strength workout

Over-40 woman

  • Because of the loss of muscle mass and strength that starts to occur in our 40’s (Kravitz, 2007), a strength training regime is a must for this age group.
  • 2-3 times a week at 60-90% of their repetition maximum.
  • Incorporate balance tools with your strength routine.
  • Areas to target: core, upper body strength

Fifties and Beyond

  • 2 times a week at 50-75% of their repetition maximum.
  • Women in this age bracket tend to see more success when working with a trainer or attending group classes geared for their age group.
  • Areas to target: balance, posture, core, shoulders

 

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