Menopause (or the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle) occurs for most women between the ages of about 45 to 55.
It is something that every woman will go through but, for each of those women, it is a unique experience with many different symptoms and feelings attached.
For some, menopause marks the beginning of a new life chapter of self-care, but for others it can be an upsetting reminder that they are getting older and can no longer bear children.
Hiring a coach who can help you identify and understand your symptoms and the changes occurring in your body can help you not only to feel less alone and less overwhelmed, but also to alleviate some of the physical symptoms that can be debilitating for so many.
Hot flushes, for example, are experienced by an estimated 75% of perimenopausal women.
Although menopause itself is well known, the process actually occurs in 4 stages:
Pre-menopause: what is it?
During premenopause, you have no obvious physical symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.
Your periods (either regular or irregular) continue and you are considered to be in your reproductive years, although there may be some hormonal changes that show perimenopause is on the way.
Peri-menopause: what happens before menopause
This is the early stage of menopause and usually occurs 8-10 years before menopause itself.
Perimenopause is characterised by a drop in estrogen levels, and as perimenopause continues the ovaries gradually produce less and less.
Your periods may become irregular or late, and some months you may have none. When you do have a period, menstrual flow may become heavier or lighter and symptoms of PMS can be more pronounced.
You might also start to experience symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, mood swings or trouble sleeping.
During perimenopause and menopause, cholesterol levels can also go up, making older women more susceptible to heart disease.
Menopause: what to expect
Menopause itself is defined as one full calendar year of no menstrual periods, so you might not know you are in menopause until the year has passed.
As your ovaries stop producing eggs, your levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) will increase (you can ask your doctor to test these levels and gauge whether or not you might be nearing menopause).
Post-menopause: what changed?
One year after your final period, you are officially ‘postmenopausal’.
Finally the hot flushes, disrupted sleep, irritability and other unpleasant symptoms will start to ease.
Your hormones will stabilise at a low level – you will no longer be able to bear children and there will be no more periods.
But you may be at increased risk of osteoporosis due to a lack of estrogen.
There are many common symptoms experienced by millions of women during perimenopause and menopause.
Some can be triggered by stress, environment and lifestyle – these include (and there many more):
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- change in libido
- diminished sleep quality
- emotional instability
- higher resting heart rate
- headaches , joint and muscle aches
- hair loss
- weight gain
What can you do to prepare for menopause?
If all this already sounds like a lot, add to it the stresses of everyday life, balancing work and family and trying to stay fit and healthy – you can see how it can easily become overwhelming.
However, there is some good news!
First, know that you are not alone. Your own menopause is unique to you, but you will share some symptoms with many other women and many of the physical symptoms can be eased or even erased completely with a change of behaviour.
But how do we change our behaviour? What can we do to limit our risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, early onset dementia or anxiety?
At ATP Personal Training we have a holistic approach to health, which of course includes looking closely at our clients’ lives and any changes they are experiencing.
More than most people, we understand what you are going through and empathise from day one.
We can help you to identify why you might feel a certain way – perhaps you aren’t aware of some of the symptoms of perimenopause.
We have a good understanding of the psychological and physiological aspects of this time of your life and we can help strengthen your body so you feel better about the changes you’re going through
An ATP Coach can help you to learn to manage and control your symptoms through lifestyle, nutrition and training, and they can recommend the exact supplements to optimise any hormone imbalances.
Having a coach to improve your fitness will also improve your mood and lower your anxiety levels that can increase as you age.
Why not come in and see us for an initial consultation and see for yourself why so many women choose to train with us to support them as they power through this important stage of their life. We’d love to see you!