Q:   What can I do to help manage multiple symptoms related to menopause (hormonal changes)?  Primarily mood swings, lack of libido, and weight gain, even though I am exercising and eating very well.

A:  Estrogen helps control body weight, so with lower estrogen levels you may get a lower metabolic rate.  Also, lack of estrogen may cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which might increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight. Get regular (moderate) exercise daily (at least 30-45 min. of cardio). Do not over-exercise, particularly when you are feeling fatigued.  Weight gain could be a result of portions so cut down on portion sizes and eat fewer foods that are high in fat.  Don’t skip meals, though – it might be better for you to have 5-6 small meals each day. If you feel like you have lost or do not have enough muscle mass, your metabolism may be on the low side which will make it easier to gain weight. Increase strength training (3x/week) using heavy weights.  You may also need to increase the amount of time and the intensity during your exercise no matter what your past activity levels were.  That may not be ideal for your schedule, but it’s true. Also, make sure you have new sneakers and vary your workout activities.

Relaxation and stress relief to control mood swings – yoga, massage, acupuncture, meditation, and aroma therapy.  Use geranium, roman chamomile, clary sage, lavender oil, sandalwood oil or jasmine oil.  Use garlic or onion powder instead of salt – watch salt intake.  Make sure you get 2 quarts of water daily, add a magnesium and calcium supplement or take a multi-vitamin with both. Get your vitamin D and B levels checked at your next health physical.  You should also avoid dairy – you can have small amounts of low fat Greek yogurt but try and remove all dairy from your diet.  Cut way down on alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, sugar, spicy foods and hot soups, as they can make mood swings worse.

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The loss of estrogen/testosterone can lower sexual arousal.  Try to work on improving intimacy – walks, relaxing dinners, massage, etc.

Healthy foods to add to your diet:

Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
Dandelion greens
Work toward eating a diet consisting 50% raw foods
White fish
Salmon with bones
Soy products
Whole grains

If you have a question that you would like to ask Ann, email it to contact@annpelino.com.