Article Content 17 min read
New Year's goals can often be a little generalized. We need achievable and actionable goals in our peri- or menopause years! Winona is giving you some goal ideas to start 2022 on the right foot.
At Winona, we work to change what it means to be in menopause. It's hard to achieve your goals when your hormones are out of whack, or you feel exhausted and anxious. Think about adding healthy goals to your 2022 goals list and see the difference it makes in your quality of life.
Learn to Accept Your Body
We get it, you may not want to admit it, but you likely have signs of perimenopause or menopause. We encourage you to accept that you are moving into a new stage and to treat the symptoms that come with decreasing hormones so that you can live your healthiest, happiest life. Learn about what perimenopause looks like here.
The earlier you start to treat the symptoms, the better. Wait too long (past 60 years of age and never tried HRT), and you may not be able to receive the treatments that could help you most. There is no need to endure the turmoil of menopause symptoms without help and support.
2. Know That You Are Not Alone
Every year in the US alone, millions of women enter menopause and perimenopause (the stage before menopause). Perimenopause can last a decade or longer and start as young as your 30s. Many women in their 30s or early 40s experience hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and vaginal dryness.
By 2025 over 1 billion women worldwide will be in menopause. Have a better menopause experience at any time. You are not alone.
3. Continue to Learn About the Menopause Transition
There is so much to learn about the menopause transition and all of its symptoms. Winona's scientists have written an ebook that lists 130+ symptoms of menopause. Winona is here to help you better understand what is happening during a very challenging time of life.
Menopause happens because hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) drop as we age. Menopause is not an "old woman" thing. Millennials are likely entering perimenopause, and they aren't even 40 yet.
Perimenopause means that hormones are dropping sharply. Some hormones are now at 50% of what they were at 20. There's so much to learn, and so many ways to reduce the symptoms. Winona is here to help.
4. Work Proactively to Protect Your Family Life
Every woman's perimenopause and menopause experience will be different. What your mom, grandma, or even sister experienced won't necessarily be yours. Thanks to the stigma attached to aging, we rarely discuss menopause with friends and family.
It's time we share what we are going through and include them in our efforts to curb the symptoms. The last thing we want is for them to be left wondering, "what's going on?"
They can understand and maybe it will help if we talk about it. Untreated menopause can serve up debilitating symptoms and severe side effects that can completely derail a woman's and her family's life.
5. Refuse to "Endure It" or "Suck-It-Up" - Why Should You?
A big part of the problem is that family, friends, and sadly, our doctors aren't prepared to talk about peri- and menopause. Our moms rarely want to go into any details, likely because (like childbirth) they want to forget it.
We encourage you to stand up against female ageism and the stigma surrounding menopause. Yes, menopause represents aging -- and no one wants to deal with that -- but women suffer far more from ageism than men. Here are the Truths and Myths that Winona's scientists have put together for you to review.
Winona, a science-focused menopause symptom relief company, stresses that women don't have to accept menopause symptoms as just a "part of getting older." The changes experienced with menopause are a natural biological process, not an illness. But that does NOT mean women need to be forced to face the uncomfortable side-effects without help.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a safe and physiologically-natural way for a woman to regain vitality! HRT can restore proper hormone levels using substances indistinguishable from what the body used to produce on its own. Deciding whether and how to treat the symptoms of the menopausal transition is complicated and personal. Discuss your symptoms and preferences with your Winona physician.
Feel like yourself again.
6. Change the Narrative About Menopause At Your Workplace
As women, we have many barriers to advancing our careers. Menopause affects 27 million working women every day, which means up to 20% of the US workforce can be coming to work fatigued, anxiety-riddled, battling brain fog, wracked with hot flashes, and are likely totally silent about it.
If symptoms are untreated, dealing with menopause at work can sometimes be career suicide. Winona wrote about this conundrum and how to change the narrative at work.
In 2022, we aspire to be more open about what menopause is at work. For example, fearing speaking up in a meeting because of a potential hot flash, or memory fogginess, is what so many women are experiencing.
"It certainly affects my confidence from the point of view of speaking at meetings because I am not as fluent . . . that concerns me. I don't want to, you know, suddenly not have the word that I need, so I am perhaps withdrawing a little bit."
Embarrassment can stop many women from getting the support they need. One woman in a 12-person meeting said, "I'll have to excuse myself for a few minutes. I'm having a hot flash and need a break." At that moment, she "felt powerful, self-assured, and relieved. Everyone nodded like it was no big deal. After the meeting, two colleagues approached me to share their own experiences. That encouraged me to speak about my symptoms more often, and I hope my experience inspires others to do the same."
7. Find Safe Ways To Treat Your Health Concerns
Women are not likely to sail through menopause by drinking red clover tea or taking particular vitamins. The reality is that 80% of women in menopause have far-reaching symptoms – including brain fog, anxiety, weight gain, low libido, depression, sleeplessness, exhaustion, vaginal dryness, and stiff joints.
While there is no 'treatment' for menopause, there are many natural remedies for menopause symptoms that you can try in addition to HRT. Treating the often-chronic symptoms of perimenopause and menopause is critical to health and wellness. Every woman's experience with menopause is unique, and not every treatment option will work for all.
On the Winona, the blog provides a list of supplements and natural products that can be used alongside bioidentical HRT and those that Winona purposefully does not offer (herbal supplements) because they are either not based on science or carry significant risk.
8. Talk to Others About Your Journey
In the US alone, 1.3 million women enter menopause yearly. Each year, women will welcome a whole host of symptoms that their families, healthcare providers, and even themselves often ignore. We have to stop ignoring the symptoms of menopause. It's time to "Change the Change." Here's a list of the top questions about menopause that have women talking.
Yes, it is currently taboo in most places to openly discuss menopause symptoms, but talking about a taboo takes away its power and can reap huge rewards. By talking about your experience and challenges, you can normalize the conversation and help other women feel empowered to speak up when dealing with symptoms. Yes, men don't want to talk about "women's health issues," but it is time.
9. Join a Women's group
A social club right now might seem challenging, but step outside of yourself and take a look for a group that might provide some fun, fulfilling, and long-lasting benefits.
Winona created Winona Women on Facebook for that exact purpose. Aside from the social gains of the Winona Women, you can learn more about the menopause transition, get support from like-minded women, and help others that may feel entirely alone.
Winona offers our female patients a unique experience. Beyond the Facebook page, Winona's healthcare platform is a place to safely connect with a healthcare provider to receive care, to ask sometimes tricky and maybe even embarrassing questions.
10. Better Understand the Myths Surrounding Menopause and HRT
Many women are reluctant to even ask a family medicine doctor or OB/GYN for HRT even though their body is screaming for it. The breast cancer-risk headlines from the old, outdated oral HRT pills – made from synthetic progestins and estrogen from pregnant horse urine – were seared into generations of women's minds.
There are so many unfounded myths about menopause. There is a rich history of why people have perpetuated misinformation, and it is no different for menopause. Winona scientists have written about these studies and how the world of HRT has drastically changed in the last two decades.
Regarding fear behind scientifically treating the symptoms, the combination of bad science, misogyny, and snake oil salespeople trying to sell bogus products all work in unison to perpetuate the fears associated with the most effective treatments available for menopause symptoms, HRT. Today's HRT lowers your risk of health conditions related to the decline of hormones, including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancers, and dementia.
11. Try to Get Your Hormones Back in Balance
While menopause is a normal phase of life, there are ways to treat the often-chronic symptoms that result from menopause. While men get all attention about erectile dysfunction or testosterone replacements, women are often left behind.
Winona encourages women to try various treatment options, whether it is HRT, diet, or lifestyle changes (or all three), to identify what works best for them. Remember, menopause is a positive beginning, with the opportunity to take preventive action against significant health risks associated with the decreasing hormones related to menopause. Whether experiencing severe or minor symptoms, embrace your evolving body by providing the nutrients your body needs like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Let the Winona women's health care experts work with you to replace the missing ingredients to help you feel and stay young and healthy by visiting bywinona.com today!
12. Drink & Eat to Help Relieve Symptoms - especially hot flashes
What you eat and drink has a significant impact on your menopause symptoms. For example, coffee can trigger hot flashes because of caffeine and heat. Caffeine is also found in chocolate and can affect the brain's temperature control center leading to hot flashes.
The spices in some of our favorite foods raise body temperature and, hot foods and liquids trigger hot flashes. Drinking alcohol regularly can increase the number and intensity of hot flashes, especially red wine. Night sweats can be triggered when drinking alcohol too close to bedtime.
When hormones drop during menopause, your body has difficulty holding on to water. Your whole body can start to feel drier. Water makes up over half of our body, at 75% of our brain (!). We can't go more than 3 days without it, but over 80% of Americans surveyed say they aren't drinking enough. We hear that 6 cups of water per day is the magic number of how much to drink, but in menopause, try to get 10.
Menopause also coincides with a decreased tolerance to alcohol. As we lose water, the result is that our bodies are less able to hold water. The more water in your body, the better your body can dilute alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption for women is acceptable during menopause, but remember, moderate is defined as up to one drink per day.
13. Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep during peri- and menopause can be deceptively difficult. The National Sleep Foundation advises adults to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Rest has an enormous impact on how you feel.
Sleep issues are common during menopause, with sleep disorders affecting 39-47% of perimenopausal women and 35-60% of postmenopausal women. The most common sleep problems reported by women undergoing menopause include night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, and sleep disorders.
The correlation between low estrogen and sleep problems cannot be ignored. Even if you're able to power through the day with some serious caffeine help, sleep deprivation will ultimately lead to a cascade of health problems. HRT can help get you a good night's sleep.
14. Exercise Smarter
Exercise! Exercise can improve metabolism, energy levels, and joint health, significantly improving physical and mental health. It can also help treat osteoporosis — especially weight-bearing activities. Testosterone is a male AND female hormone that helps us maintain our metabolism and muscle but, it drops by 50% by the time we are 40.
Exercise can get more difficult as we age. Overuse injuries, fatigue, or lack of time play a huge role in how often and how intensely we can exercise. Find what works for you. What used to work for you might not be as friendly to your body as it used to be.
Walking, jogging, biking, or taking a yoga class are great options. Strength training for women in menopause is critical. Regular strength training can help you reduce body fat, strengthen your muscles and burn calories more efficiently.
15. Get Outside, Be in Nature to Reduce Your Stress
Immersing oneself in nature is an opportunity to reset mentally, which could coincide with other goals for 2022. Reduced stress is perhaps the most immediate benefit, but there are many health benefits associated with getting outside.
Before menopause, our bodies were good at buffering stress because we had the correct 'feel-good hormone' progesterone levels. Progesterone helps to keep our stress hormone cortisol levels under control. Once progesterone levels start to decrease with perimenopause, cortisol is less 'buffered,' and we feel the stressful effects. A twenty-minute nature experience can reduce cortisol levels. If you spend a little more time immersed in a nature experience, say 20 - 30 minutes, cortisol levels drop at their greatest rate.
16. Prioritize Self-Care and Prevent Chronic Diseases
Self-Care is highly personal. What do YOU do to make yourself a priority? Taking a day to treat yourself can help you detox your body and see some improvement in your physical health. Pampering on purpose can help you improve both your mental and physical health. Depending on who you're talking to, self-care can take a myriad of forms:
Pampering: A spa day, being alone for a few hours, curling up by a fire with a book, etc.
Physical: getting hormones balanced, sleeping in, exercising, eating a nutritious diet
Emotional: positive self-talk, an giving into an indulgence/reward
Spiritual: meditation, mindfulness, time in nature
Self-care means being thoughtful about what you need to preserve your health. This can include both your physical and psychological well-being. As hormone levels fall, women often notice symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and changing moods. But what is very concerning is you might miss the fact that the drop in hormones can also be putting them at risk for osteoporosis, stroke, cancers, and heart disease if the deficiency in hormones is not treated. Work on preventing those chronic diseases by starting HRT.
17. End the Negative Self Talk About Yourself and Menopause
Negative self-talk is something that we all experience from time to time. But when it is often, it can create significant stress and adversely impact your body, mind, life, and loved ones.
When we are in menopause, we tend to be even harder on ourselves. The topic of menopause is still the butt of too many jokes and saddled with many myths. Let's name a few of our favorites. Menopause is:
The first sign is that we are not sexy anymore, and our sex life is dead. (False)
The end of professional life because we look too old because we can't focus. (False)
When your brain shorts out, you go crazy, and sanity never returns. (False)
The worst myth of all: We have no safe solutions to choose from. There is a solution. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is natural, safe, FDA-approved, and highly effective.
Whether experiencing severe or minor symptoms, we encourage you to embrace your evolving body as it moves through this sometimes precarious phase with grace and wellness.
Prescription menopause relief. Delivered.
18. Pay Attention to Your Mental Health; It Is Often Disrupted With Menopause
Ladies, we are suffering in silence - not telling employers, partners, or even each other. Know that you are not crazy. Moodiness, mental health issues, depression, and suicidality increase with age, often are related to menopause and decreased hormones.
Suicide rates are highest during menopause, and about ⅔ of the women who go to their doctor during menopause are offered antidepressants rather than HRT. If necessary, adding antidepressants to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be a great combination. Always talk to your physician before adding any medications. Estrogen deficiencies have also been linked to dementia. Untreated menopause can have a heavy toll on the second half of every woman's life. The latest research shows HRT's extraordinary long-term health benefits for osteoporosis, diabetes, and dementia, which women are twice as likely to get than men.
"Until I met menopause and its dastardly little sister, perimenopause, I thought I'd be fine and was told… Whatever you do, don't take HRT. I was so wrong.
My journey, which was more a Thelma and Louise car crash as my hormones went off a cliff… (was) midlife's magnificent shitshow."
19. Stop Relying on Old Medical Information
Don't expect your doctor to know you are in menopause. Essentially doctors aren't talking about it. There's very little training in medical school or residency around helping women after their reproductive years. Only 20% of residency programs have a formal menopause curriculum.
Physicians can better educate themselves about the more current hormone replacement therapy and the studies that show them safe and effective, but maybe we need to give them a nudge. Sadly, they still depend on outdated, poorly researched science.
Winona has numerous patients who have been denied HRT from their primary care doctor. Only through reading menopause support forums online, they learn about Winona and HRT. One patient shared that,
"I am angry that I had to wait so long to find the relief that was there all along, but my doctor was ill-informed."
Physicians are more likely to prescribe antidepressants or look for Vitamin D deficiencies, hypothyroidism, and even pregnancy before getting to the possibility of perimenopause. That might be because they don't know what to prescribe for the multitude of symptoms associated with perimenopause.
Winona is proud of our doctors, providers, and scientists who work tirelessly to treat all of the symptoms of menopause in the most effective way. That treatment might be a prescription or one of our many over-the-counter treatments, but it will be the treatment that the patient and their doctor devise together.
20. Embrace Your New Beginning
Menopause is a positive beginning with opportunities to take preventive action against health risks associated with the ever-decreasing hormones as we age. Menopause can feel like a secret which leads to a lot of misinformation. By embracing menopause as a stage like puberty, we can normalize the phase and honestly approach menopause.
Surveys of thousands of women in peri- and menopause show that most women felt better about life after treating their menopause symptoms than they did 10 years ago. They experienced more hope, increased happiness with their bodies, newfound optimism about careers, and were excited about their family.
"The compounded estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone worked brilliantly... Within four days, my hot flashes and palpitations disappeared forever, my memory returned, and – unexpectedly – my mood lifted, and my joints became supple. Estrogen was the oil I needed in my engine. I wish my GP had told me about bio-identical HRT in the first place."
Safe, natural, bio-identical HRT is available at Winona if prescribed. Winona was created by menopausal women, for menopausal women – and their partners and families. Hormone therapy is the most recognized method of managing menopausal symptoms and replacing deficient hormone levels. It helps with symptoms and future health issues caused by low hormone levels, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
“This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.”