Staying healthy during and after the menopause
The drop in oestrogen that happens during and after the menopause can increase your risk of getting certain diseases. These include osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and heart and circulation problems. So, it’s more important than ever to try to stay healthy during and after the menopause.
Exercise that puts some pressure on your bones, such as running and walking, can help strengthen them and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Being physically active can also help to protect against heart disease and stroke. Although there’s no proof exercise can reduce hot flushes, it will probably improve your feeling of wellbeing and your mood.
Aim to eat a healthy diet. If you have hot flushes, you may want to avoid foods that trigger them, such as spicy foods and caffeinated drinks.
The menopause causes you to lose calcium from your bones. So it’s important to include two or three portions of calcium-rich foods in your daily diet. It’s also important to get enough vitamin D because it’s vital for bone health.
Lose excess weight
Some people put on weight while going through the menopause, especially around the tummy (abdomen). This may be linked to lowered oestrogen levels but also to general ageing and lifestyle changes. If you’re getting hot flushes and night sweats, it may help to lose any excess weight you have. This will also help reduce your risk of getting heart disease.
Smoking can lead to an earlier menopause, and may trigger hot flushes. Ask your GP or practice nurse for advice and support to quit. You can also get information online from the NHS about stopping smoking.
Alcohol may trigger hot flushes, and affect sleep quality and mood so it may help to limit how much you drink.