Welcome to THE HOTLINE 🔥: Let’s Talk (Peri)Menopause

AthletaWellTeam
Community Manager

Welcome to the hottest chat on the internet! Finally, a judgement-free zone to get support and share advice as you navigate the change. While change can be unexpected and filled with twists and turns, you don’t have to go it alone. Your AthletaWell community has got your back.  

 

Use this space to share tips, ask questions, tell jokes — whatever sparks joy. Hot flashes, mood swings, brain fog, body hair. You name it! Nothing is off limits here. 

 

Whether you have a burning question you’ve been waiting to ask or the best advice because you’ve been there, done that, drop a conversation starter on The Hotline for a chance to win a $100 Athleta Shop Card.* 

 

And don’t forget to watch the Thriving Through Menopause group. Tips from our experts drop this Monday, 8/8!  

 

*To be entered to win, you must be a non-Gap Inc. employee, member of AthletaWell who comments in the comment section of the Hotline post between Wednesday August 3, 2022 - Friday August 12, 2022 and join the Thriving Through Menopause group. One winner will be selected at random after Friday August 12, 2022 and will be notified via private message on AthletaWell by an AthletaWell Team Member by 9pm PST on Friday August 19, 2022. 

 

88 REPLIES 88

am040117
Member

Menopause was initially a nightmare but you can wake up from it by educating yourself on how to manage the symptoms as well as eating clean and continue with your fitness. I took Remifemin as recommended by my obgyn because I couldn't handle the estrogen plus it was more of a natural supplement and that helped a lot. Its not the end of the world it's just a beginning of a new chapter that's full of wisdom and freedom!

I'd love to hear about others experiences or recommendations of supplements vs HRT. I've been using estroven for my occasional for flashes but not sure if it's the best option? I'm concerned about bone loss, heart disease, etc that I know estrogen helps protect from. At only 47, I didn't expect this so soon! And my Dr seems only interested in treating symptoms vs prevention of longer term issues.

curious621
Member

What can I do to eliminate the spare tire around my waist that suddenly appeared? 🤔 

Great question!  I have exercised my entire adult life.  I do core exercises daily, combined with strength and cardio workouts as well as yoga.  My diet has not changed - I eat a clean diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein.  However, I have still gained 20lbs in the past year and my waist continues to "thicken".  Please let me know if anyone gives you good insights to answer your question. 

Oh my. After reading this, I just want to cry. I makes me think that no matter what I do, I won’t get back the body I had that I worked so hard to get for 5 years. 

I'm currently using Estroven weight management. I find it working quite well for hot flashes and I'm not very hungry. Worth a try?

Thank you!  I will try it! 

Great question and a very common one at that!   The three pillars I coach are recovery, exercise, and nutrition.  All three of these work together and (more often than not) need to change as we hit peri / post menopause to mitigate symptoms and help increase lean body mass.   Make sure you are eating enough protein, not over-exercising (but exercising with a plan), getting adequate sleep, and lowering stress (high cortisol can often lead to an increase in abdominal fat).  Also - above all - be kind to yourself :). You are not alone! 

Hi! The increase in belly fat is fairly normal, and most women experience some level of this. There is a reason for it; in my experience, knowing why can help have a little bit more acceptance around it and more self-compassion. It's not because you're eating too much or being lazy (which many people that try to sell you something want you to believe.) When we go through menopause, the balance between cortisol and cortisol-fighting hormones (such as estrogen) gets thrown off, which causes an increase in abdominal fat. So the absolute best thing you can do is manage stress (haha, I know...how to do that). There are a few simple strategies to address stress regarding exercise. For example, keeping workouts shorter (<40 min) but more intense, avoiding workouts late in the evening, heavier resistance training, and more mindfulness. All of those can help manage cortisol spikes, which is the driver behind belly fat. I wrote a few blogs on this topic. If you're interested, you can find one here https://www.fitnessinmenopause.com/blog/belly-fat-and-menopause-what-s-the-connection I'd be happy to answer any additional questions. 🙂 You got this!

I’m sure no one wants to hear this but…learning to accept our bodies when they don’t fit a cultural ideal and caring for them by nourishing, resting, enjoying life without the stress of trying to change our bodies might be an option to consider. There is a change in our bodies at different times in our lives and that’s normal. We can choose not to believe the lies of the diet and wellness industry, who, by the way, makes loads of money by making us feel that we are lacking in some aesthetic way. The dietitian on Athletawell (Heather C) is amazing with helping women free themselves and nourish well. Check out her content! I’ve spent 4 years unlearning diet culture and the thin ideal. I’ve gained so much LIFE. No more fighting.

@curious621 if you want some information on nutrition, this article could help!😁 State of Menopause on Weight Management and Nutrition 

lmaaronson
Member

Why is there so little research about this and how it affects so many in so many different ways.  Is this again a gender bias thing--if men went through menopause there would be a blue pill for that....why do I have to go 250+ days without a cycle only to get one and start all over again..?  Why does it affect mental health so much and yet its a silent disability that women face in the workplace?

Agree!! And well said! If men had to go through this, they would have more health options to feel better! 

So true.  Just started reading the book, Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage by Rachel E. Gross. The introduction stated "that only in 2014 that the NIH start a gynecological branch to study the health of vulvas, vaginas, ovaries and uteruses in their own right."  These organs are more than just reproductive but integral to women's health.  Sad that it has taken this long, but at least it is a start.  

I'm hoping that with more women going into medicine that this will improve.  It was a male dominated profession.  So, there you go!

This is totally insane! Thank you for sharing the info!

"that only in 2014 that the NIH start a gynecological branch to study the health of vulvas, vaginas, ovaries and uteruses in their own right."

Same! I thought I was possibly close to official menopause as I had not had a period since November. But last month Aunt Flo returned with a vengeance! I tried Black Cohosh along with other natural supplements to help with horrible hot flashes..., but they helped very little, and I ended up having to take a super low dose of Estrogen b/c I need to get sleep to be able to function well in the mornings. 

Yes, I found natural things like cohosh helped little - I tried them in addition to low-dose hormones.

You're probably right that it's a gender bias thing. I'm not at menopause yet but kind of scared because I know so little and never hear anyone talking about it. Even my own mom has never talked about it with me. Hoping we can all find if not answers, at least some solidarity over the next week or so. 

It's soooo sad no one talks about it right?!!! My favorite podcast for US is Hit Play Not Pause. So much unbelievably awesome information for you to learn what's ahead and how to prepare, especially if you are active. Exercise + perimenopause is a whole other hurdle to jump! Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for a smooth journey.

Deannabfit
Member

Im a healthy 48 fit pro. I have had a history of PMS so im not surprised that perimenopause symptoms are messing with me so much.  But i do all the right things & im still being taken over by my hormones.  I get hormonal migraines with Aura so i am limited as to what i can take to balance out my hormones. So i use more natural therapies & supplements. Curious if I just need to deal with this life change & get on with it? Or are there other ways to combat symptoms without causing an increase in migraines. 

I feel like I am way too young for perimenopause, but my symptoms lately have really, really been messing with me. Had the same question to myself last night as I suffered through a period-related migraine.."is this just life now? or is there a way to deal with it?"

Kind of both. I started symptoms you get, about 42 I was told it could be as I had endometriosis history. But it carried on a few years. I started have sleep issues, irritability, a little depression and such. And of course, hot flashes. I did feel like they were flashes, just like someone upped the thermostat all the time. I don’t think we can really blame people for not discussing it, because many experiences differ. My mother had cold flashes! Who ever heard of those?! If you had a hysterectomy, you avoid this. My symptoms have progressed with menopause but now I am finding they are also linked to fibromyalgia and others may find symptoms are linked to other conditions that age influences. Just try to deal with what you have in the moment and treat it.

I get headaches right at the end of my period! I totally think they are hormone related and started a few years ago. Mine aren’t that bad and respond to ibuprofen. I hope there’s something that can help you it sounds bad. When do you get yours?

Farmmama
Member

I am so overwhelmed by all the products, nutrients, etc.   What is good, bad?   Will changing my diet help and if so, what do I change?!?!  Who do I trust?  I like my doctors, but male or female, I feel like I get a canned, not helpful answer.  I don’t know where to go.  Ugh!

have you tried a womens health specialist? A female naturopathic doctor? Most female practitioners with at least 8 years medical education is someone you should be able to trust

It is overwhelming! Changing your diet will probably REALLY help. There are also recommendations for exercise, and managing sleep and stress specifically for women in peri/menopause. Here's a meal plan I created to help manage insulin resistance in peri/menopause. Look for doctors who are members of the North American Menopause Society.

This is great!

 

rlkoll
Member

I have not yet entered menopause at age 49 but I feel that having gotten through two pregnancies, two years of managing breastfeeding while working, and those early years of raising young children when you’re so exhausted, menopause is just yet another phase of life I’ll have to meet with courage and patience. 

helmar
Member

Menopause (this term needs to have a R.I.P., because where is the PAUSE?)  I have been experiencing hair loss during menopause (can anyone relate to this?) I’ve heard that menopause hair loss or thinning is part of the cycle of declining hormone levels during menopause. Is there anybody out there who has experienced this, and can you suggest any solutions (besides cutting it all off?  😊

I was experiencing hair loss as well. My doctor recommended switching my daily vitamin to a prenatal vitamin. She also put me on the meditation Spironolactone for the hair loss. Both of these changes have made a huge difference for me. 

Shir_Warr
Member

I've been going through the menopaucalypse for a little over a year, having started at almost 50. I had every imaginable symptom: headaches, vertigo, brain fog, hot and cold flushes, insomnia, uncontrollable weight gain, loss of libido and just about everything else you can imagine. As a fit pro of over 20 years, it truly felt as if this is the end. (and going through this while still coaching clients for health, weight loss, body recomposition and bodybuilding made it feel even more extreme in my mind, with the pressure to still "look the part"). All I heard from my GYN and PCP was "well, whatever worked for you in the past might not work now"). I'm not one to take "no" or "can't" for an answer... so I'm trying to find ways to reinvent myself—not go back to being who I was, but evolving and trying to find my voice, my courage and my identity through this trauma, and in this process also crack the code of my aging body.

Menopaucalypse ftw! My new favourite word! 💛

lilrubie
Member

I am 48 and I am just having what I think are the first symptoms of perimenopause. I got my period 5 days early, and then what I think is spotting when I was supposed to have my regular period. I have a history of depression and have been extremely depressed to the point where I am upping my anti-depressants. I don't even know where to start dealing with this. I am assuming call my doctor! Any suggestions are appreciated!

Vanessa
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @lilrubie! Menopause Dr. Jen Gunter has a great article on What You Should Be Asking Your Doctor About Menopause - this may help you out!

So my mom had a hysterectomy around age 35, and her mother passed away when my mom was 8.  My sister and I are at a loss with family experience.  I’m almost 49 - so I think I’m getting close.  My emotions can be all

over, I sweat a lot at night, I’m not taking BC - so my periods don’t arrive like clockwork anymore.  And they very from cycle to cycle.

anything I can learn about peri menopause is appreciated.  

@movementwithle check out What I Wish Someone Told Me About Menopause, this may give you a little more insight on what's going on!

You mention common symptoms. An obgyn will also do hormone level tests. You don’t gradually Peter off. It is gradual awhile and then boom! Off a cliff into menopause. Your cycles gradually stop. I started getting forgetful. I had trouble sleeping and major irritation at times. I went on low-dose hormones and was still always warm. My advice is treat each condition. You will feel better. I went on a low-dose hormone, exercised, took sleep meds and an an anti-depressant. I still had some symptoms but not as bad.

LJCroni
Member

I feel like I’m just waiting for my period to stop. So feisty. One month nothing then I’m regular every 28 days for a few months. Then no period for 90 days. So frustrating!  Anyone experience the same?

Vanessa
Community Manager
Community Manager

@LJCroni you are not alone! Check out Dr. Jen's (menopause expert!) response to halted periods: What I Wish Someone Told Me About Menopause