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As more than 1.1 billion people across the globe are expected to be in a menopausal state by 2025, the opportunity to invest in the health and wellness of individuals experiencing menopause is vast. Importantly, we know that menopause can impact various aspects of health and raise an individual’s risk for certain health concerns. Educating on the truth principles of nutrition and wellness during menopause is just one of many, but critical, components that can support optimal health during this period.

As we embrace the Spring season, we can harness the newness & opportunities the season presents by debunking wellness and nutrition myths to uncover the foundational truths of healthful living. Read more below as we fact-find the various nutrition and wellness pillars that can help you navigate through the menopause journey and beyond.

Fact or Fiction? “Foods and beverages have an impact on menopause symptoms.”

FACT

Numerous research studies have shown that the foods you eat and beverages you consume can reduce, intensify, and even trigger menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain. Foods that may reduce the severity and intensity of symptoms include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods. Foods that may trigger, and exacerbate, menopause symptoms, include processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. 

Fact or Fiction? “Bone loss accelerates during menopause.”

FACT

Research has shown up to 20% of bone loss happens during menopause, and the risk of developing osteoporosis also increases during this period. Regular physical activity, including engaging in weight-bearing activities like walking, running, hiking, dancing, climbing stairs (and many more!) can strengthen bones during menopause. Eating foods rich in vitamin D (such as: oily fish, fortified juices and cereals, eggs) and calcium (such as: dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, fortified plant-based foods), and limiting smoking and alcohol can also support bone health during menopause.

Fact or Fiction? “The importance of heart health remains the same during menopause.”

FICTION (PARTLY!)

Good heart health practices become arguably even more important during menopause! It is well-established that individuals experience a steep incline in cardiovascular disease risk during menopause, with growing bodies of research also showing that those who experience frequent or persistent vasomotor symptoms have a substantially higher increase in cardiovascular events.

Fact or Fiction? “GLP-1 medications may improve weight and health-related outcomes in postmenopausal individuals.”

FACT 

In a recent research study, individuals who took semaglutide and hormone therapy lost more weight when compared to individuals who took semaglutide alone. Additionally, in this same study, researchers found individuals who reported weight loss, whether or not they took hormone therapy, experienced an improvement in select cardiometabolic risk markers.

Fact or Fiction? “It is uncommon to experience sexual health concerns during menopause.”

FICTION

At HerMD, we say menopause health and sexual health go hand in hand. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, individuals often experience negative side effects to their sexual health and functioning. Side effects such as decreased desire, vaginal dryness, incontinence, and pain with sex are commonly reported, however, it is important to stress that you can still have great sex during menopause! If you are experiencing any negative symptoms associated with sexual health and functioning, know that you do not just have to “grin and bear it.” Numerous treatment options, including hormonal, non-hormonal, and lifestyle modifications often form a comprehensive and targeted menopause plan of care.

Michelle D. Nezolosky

Michelle is the Director of Programs, responsible for leading the education and health intervention programs at HerMD. She supports the health and well-being of staff and patients through training and education, community outreach, and research initiatives.

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