Lifestyle and behaviour changes for menopausal symptoms

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Many women are interested in the potential of lifestyle and behaviour changes to manage their menopausal symptoms. Unfortunately, the clinical evidence for the effectiveness of lifestyle changes is mixed and limited.

If your symptoms are bothering you, your doctor can explain how specific lifestyle changes might suit your situation. Everyone should consult their doctor before embarking  on lifestyle and behaviour changes  and this is especially important  if you have menopausal symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

Maintain healthy weight

Women often ask their doctors about menopause and weight gain. It is a myth that menopause causes weight gain and in fact the opposite is true- evidence suggests  that weight gain can make your menopausal symptoms worse.

Ask your doctor for exercise and dietary advice to suit your situation.  General principles  of a healthy diet include consuming:

Exercise regularly

Exercise may not directly help your hot flushes and night sweats, but it can help to maintain healthy weight and this can decrease the severity of your symptoms.

Exercise has many mental and physical benefits and builds more musde mass.  This extra musde burns  more energy even when you are resting. Exercise can also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a possibility for some menopausal women.

You will get the best benefit if you incorporate three types of movement into your day:

Everyone should visit their doctor before starting a n81N exercise program. For more ideas about exercise, see the AMS information sheet Lifestyle advice for healthy ageing.

Control your environment to improve cooling

Common sense changes to your environment  can help to make you more comfortable, even if such changes do not directly decrease your symptoms.

Changes  you can make include:

Avoid hot flush triggers

If you have noticed that some triggers can increase the frequency or severity of your hot flushes and night sweats, avoiding these triggers might help.

Triggers include:

Mind- and body-based therapies and practices

Cognitive behaviour  therapy

Group and individual cognitive behaviour therapy (CB1) can help you to change unhelpful ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Studies suggest  CBT can help you cope  with the impact  of menopausal symptoms while also increasing your wellbeing.

Yoga, breathing  practices and relaxation

While all of these practices  can help with wellbeing,  only yoga has been shown in some studies to improve menopausal symptoms

and sleep.

Other therapies

Hypnosis

Studies have shown varied results, but a recent trial suggested that hypnosis might help with hot flushes and sleep.

Acupuncture

A large Australian trial recently showed that acupuncture has no benefit for menopausal symptoms.

Magnetic therapy,  reflexology, chiropractic interventions

Studies have not shown that any of these therapies help women with menopausal symptoms.

What are the other treatment  options?

If your symptoms are bothering you, your doctor can help. Your doctor can tell you about the changes  in your body  and offer options for managing your symptoms. Other treatment  options include:

Information for your doctor to read includes AMS Information Sheets:

If you have any concerns or questions about options to manage your menopausal symptoms, visit your doctor or go to the Find an AMS Doctor service on the AMS website.

AMS Empowering menopausal women

NOTE: Medical and scientific information provided and endorsed by the Australasian Menopause Society might not be relevant to an individual’s personal circumstances and should always be discussed with their own healthcare provider. This Information Sheet may contain copyright or otherwise protected material. Reproduction of this Information Sheet by Australasian Menopause Society Members, other health professionals and their patients for clinical practice is permissible. Any other use of this information (hardcopy and electronic versions) must be agreed to and approved by the Australasian Menopause Society.

Content updated October 2018

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