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. 

 

69 REPLIES 69

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. 

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.

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. 

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?"

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.

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.

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!

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.  

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?

beverlybrown
Member

Changing my diet got rid of the 🔥 flashes completely. Switched from eating high-carb, processed stuff around the clock to one or two meals a day with no snacking. Lectin-free, mostly plant-based and some supplements. Of course, now I don’t really know which part made the biggest difference, so I keep doing it all. 😂Never felt better! Look forward to the upcoming discussion.

TatianaZZ
Member

I have pre menopause period and scared about what will happen during menopause and after. I am not sure what kind of medicine is better and how to prevent flashes ar bad mood. Especially I am concerning about how my skin and health will change after menopause. So I hope I will find the answers from experts on Monday)

JJJ
Member

I'd love to hear about others experiences or recommendations of supplements vs HRT. I've been using estroven for my occasional hot 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.

Chandler67
Member

Hi-- so happy to find this.  I've got so many questions.. mostly the same as everyone else.

 

1) Yes to the spare tire all of the sudden-- why and how do we target?  I've always been a curvy girt, but managed to keep that somewhat under control until now.  

2) My ob-gyn recommended OTC Estro-ven (just 2 days ago as a matter of fact),  I haven't picked it up yet, but would love to get the hive's take on benefits, downsides, effects, etc.

3) Diet.. What the heck?  Weight gain like I'm pregnant again, while eating less. 

4) Hot flashes like you won't believe (although you probably do).  

5) for the last 3 years, I have gone 9 months without a period, and the past 2 have had a period soon after.  Hoping this year is the charm.

6) Random insomnia.  I am exhausted during the day, yawning, tired.  I go to sleep and then wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep.  

 

Thanks and see you Monday!

EmilyE
Member

What are some of first symptoms present when entering menopause,  and is hair loss one of them?

My first symptom was paralyzing anxiety. I'm thankful that I knew that is a symptom and related to perimenopause because otherwise, it would have been even more terrifying. Hair loss can definitely be a symptom. 

maryjblake
Member
I’m 49 almost 50. So probably peri menopausal. Still regular periods right now. My body has changed over the past 4 years, it’s mostly because I stopped restricting food and dieting and worked on Intutive Eating and accepting my body. I believe that the weight shifts (which are normal as we age, weight gain and especially in the midsection is normal) aren’t something I will fight because I no longer fight my body. I work more on behaviors and accepting and caring for my body whatever size and whatever issues arise. So far I don’t think I have hot flashes, night sweats, or other issues. I plan to continue to stay active teaching group exercise; BODYPUMP, BODYSTEP, BODYBALANCE and Water aerobics. I think staying active with strength, cardio and flexibility will help me to take care of my body.

That's such a great attitude to have! Fitness, especially strength training, can be incredibly beneficial. 

 

@drmarialuque what kind of strength work do you enjoy? Thanks it’s taken a lot of unlearning and work to get to a positive place with my larger body. But I’m here now. I think maybe one thing I do deal with is headaches and I think it is hormone related because they come right after my period ends! As far as fitness goes strength is so good for bones, maintaining function and preventing frailty. I also find that flexibility training and core work so important for my aging body. I get so tight I think I will need to add more mobility/flexibility. The core is so important! I need to be stronger there. Feels good to have a strong core but also so good for the rest of my body. So hard to do though core work is tough!

My favorite types of workouts are heavy lifting and high-intensity work. It improves my mental health and leaves me feeling all good. Feeling strong is magical. And like you said, during this transition we have to make a conscious effort to decide where we are going to spend our energy: either hating our body because it's going through changes or focusing on staying strong and enjoying the movement we do. I pick joy and strength!