Menopause Resources

We’re genuinely eager to share what we’ve learned about the science of women with all women. We’re forward-thinking, hopeful and believe that for women in menopause knowledge is power and when we all have that knowledge, together we can do some pretty incredible things.
We’re genuinely eager to share what we’ve learned about the science of women with all women. We’re forward-thinking, hopeful and believe that for women in menopause knowledge is power and when we all have that knowledge, together we can do some pretty incredible things.

What To Do If You Hit Menopause After Pregnancy

The science around menopause is still emerging, and this holds true for menopause after pregnancy. Women in the US reach perimenopause, the first of the three stages of menopause, around age 40.1 Over the past two decades, first birth rates for women aged 40–44 rose by 35%.2 Given this overlap in ages, women over 40 will go through menopause after pregnancy in a relatively short window. Before we dive into the specifics of what menopause after baby means for you and your health, it can help to review what menopause is in general and what to expect from this new stage of life.   THE 3 STAGES OF MENOPAUSE What’s commonly referred to as “menopause” is actually three separate stages that span nearly half of a woman’s life: Perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.   WHEN DOES PERIMENOPAUSE START? Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause in which the body gradually ceases to produce estrogen.3 Perimenopause usually lasts 3-4 years and is marked by many symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and increasingly irregular periods.3 During this stage, ovulation can be unpredictable, and if you have your period (no matter how irregular it is) you can still get pregnant.   14 SURPRISING FACTS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PERIMENOPAUSE   WHEN DOES MENOPAUSE START? Menopause is the 24-hour period which marks a full year since your last menstrual cycle and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. Most women in the United States reach menopause somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55.4   WHEN DOES POSTMENOPAUSE START? Once you’ve passed a full year since your last menstrual cycle, you’ve now entered postmenopause. The ovaries have now ceased to produce adequate estrogen, and you can no longer get pregnant. Some women experience a full reduction in symptoms during this time, but certainly not everyone. While this stage brings exciting new opportunities and freedoms, it can also present new potential health conditions as the body adjusts to life without estrogen. Staying in touch with your body and your doctor can help you continue to thrive during this new and final reproductive stage of life.   LIFE AFTER MENOPAUSE: POSTMENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS AND MORE   MENOPAUSE AFTER PREGNANCY Menopause transition and time after pregnancy, known as postpartum, have similar indicators as both periods are noted by hormonal fluctuations. Particularly, late in life pregnancies can lead to an overlap in symptoms, making it difficult for women in their 40s to tell whether they’re in perimenopause and/or experiencing postpartum. Both perimenopause and pregnancy/postpartum symptoms can include:5, 6 Hot flashes Night Sweats Breast swelling and pain Vaginal dryness Irregular periods Mood swings Weight gain   A HORMONE-FREE, NATURALLY-DERIVED SUPPLEMENT TO PROVIDE SYMPTOM RELIEF‡† If you are in one of the stages of menopause and experiencing bothersome symptoms, there is a non-hormonal‡ option that can help: EQUELLE® is a twice-a-day supplement, and the only one powered by the active ingredient, S-equol. S-equol is plant-based but mimics some of the actions of estrogen, helping to relieve menopause symptoms. With over 20 years of clinical research to back it, EQUELLE has been clinically shown to reduce the frequency of hot flashes, support the quality of sleep, alleviate mood swings, and reduce vaginal soreness, itching and irritation§. 92% of patients were satisfied with EQUELLE after a 12-week trial, and with a 60-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free. CLICK HERE for more details.†  If you are pregnant or nursing, we recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking EQUELLE.   9 FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MENOPAUSE AND PREGNANCY   WHAT TO DO IF YOU HIT MENOPAUSE AFTER BABY Monitoring your postpartum health is already important, but this is especially true for women over 35. Thankfully, there are lots of options when it comes to keeping track of your health that can help ease this transition from motherhood into menopause.     KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CYCLE: Keeping track of your cycle will help you stay in tune with your body as you go through perimenopause and have a more accurate date for when you enter menopause. This will help you and your doctor be able to prepare for any new health complications this new stage of life could introduce. You can use a period tracker app on your phone, or just keep track with stickers on a cute wall calendar. Whatever works best for you!   KEEP TRACK OF YOUR FEELINGS TOO: Going through both the perimenopause and postpartum stages of life at the same time is a lot for any woman to deal with. It can help so much to open up to the people you trust, share your experiences, learn from the experiences of others, or even find ways of connecting online with doctors or licensed therapists. Find a way that feels right for you. Self-awareness is key here. Listening to your body includes listening to your gut as well. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.   FIND YOUR WAY TO STAY ACTIVE: Osteoporosis accelerates quickly after menopause, and chances are the last trimester of your pregnancy didn’t afford you many exercise opportunities. Choose high-impact, weight-bearing exercises to help support your bone health during this time, such as dancing, hiking, jogging, jump roping, stair climbing, or tennis. Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help support your bone health, such as elliptical machines, low-impact aerobics, stair-step machines, fast walking on a treadmill.   WHY OSTEOPOROSIS ACCELERATES AFTER MENOPAUSE   EXPLORE HEALTHY, WHOLE FOOD OPTIONS: Menopause introduces increased nutrient needs too, as this decline of estrogen introduces some potential health complications on its own. Be sure your diet includes enough calcium and vitamin D to support bone health, plus magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12 to support your overall health as you enter this new stage of life.   LACTATING & BREASTFEEDING DURING PERIMENOPAUSE Because many women are waiting to have children until later in life, some women find themselves nursing amid their menopausal transition. This can lead to a rather uncomfortable mix of unexpected hormonal fluctuations. After giving birth, the body suddenly drops estrogen and progesterone levels to produce the hormone prolactin, which stimulates breastmilk production.7 Breastfeeding stimulates the production of yet another hormone oxytocin.7 Once breastfeeding ceases, however, prolactin levels decline, and ovulation resumes within 14–30 days.8 During perimenopause, estrogen and progestin levels rise and fall as the body gradually begins to cease estrogen production entirely.1 Many of the symptoms and changes women feel during this time are due to this gradual decline in estrogen production.1 Combined these symptoms can further complicate the dual transitions into both motherhood and menopause.    EARLY MOTHERHOOD & MENOPAUSE AT 40 Raising a newborn presents plenty of barriers to self-care as it is. Add hot flashes and night sweats to the mix and it can be too easy to overlook your health during this crazy time of life. Knowing how to tell the difference between perimenopause and postpartum symptoms can help you stay in tune with your body and help usher in a happy and healthy future for both you and baby.            REFERENCES Mayo Clinic. “Perimenopause.” 2019. Accessed on: January 17, 2020. HTTPS://WWW.MAYOCLINIC.ORG/DISEASES-CONDITIONS/PERIMENOPAUSE/SYMPTOMS-CAUSES/SYC-20354666 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise.” 2014. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed on: July 23, 2020. HTTPS://WWW.CDC.GOV/NCHS/PRODUCTS/DATABRIEFS/DB152.HTM Harvard Medical School. “Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause.” 2020. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed on: July 23, 2020. HTTPS://WWW.HEALTH.HARVARD.EDU/WOMENS-HEALTH/PERIMENOPAUSE-ROCKY-ROAD-TO-MENOPAUSE University of Utah. “Postmenopause.” Health. Accessed on: July 23, 2020. HTTPS://HEALTHCARE.UTAH.EDU/WOMENSHEALTH/GYNECOLOGY/MENOPAUSE/POSTMENOPAUSE.PHP McGovern P et al. Postpartum Health of Employed Mothers 5 Weeks After Childbirth. The Annals of Family Medicine.2006; 4 (2): 159-167. HTTPS://WWW.ANNFAMMED.ORG/CONTENT/4/2/159.FULL Thurston RC et al. “Prospective evaluation of nighttime hot flashes during pregnancy and postpartum.” Fertility and Sterility.2013; 100 (6): 1667-72. HTTPS://WWW.NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV/PMC/ARTICLES/PMC4167790/ Columbia University. “Section III: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Lactation.” Mailman School of Public Health. Accessed on: July 23, 2020. HTTP://WWW.COLUMBIA.EDU/ITC/HS/PUBHEALTH/MODULES/REPRODUCTIVEHEALTH/PREGNANCY.HTML King, J. Contraception and Lactation. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 2007; 52 (6):614-620. HTTPS://WWW.MEDSCAPE.COM/VIEWARTICLE/565623_3    
brushstroke Read More

How To Keep Having Good Sex During Menopause

 Ah, sex after menopause—the time in a women’s life that we all finally envision enjoyable intercourse without pain, bleeding, or a fear of getting pregnant. Right? Yes and No. While menopause can and should be one of the most sexually liberating periods in a woman’s life, it’s perfectly normal that it may take time to adjust for some. Vaginal dryness, thinning, and atrophy are just a few examples of how diminishing estrogen levels may present new challenges in the bedroom.
brushstroke Read More

Exercise Tips for Menopause Weight Gain

While many women report menopause weight gain—this natural life change isn’t the real reason we’re finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy weight.1 The most common reasons women gain weight during menopause have more to do with the natural aging process and lifestyle changes.1 Aging slows down metabolism, causes lean body mass to decrease, and changes how the body stores fat.1 As we age, we also tend to become less physically active, which means burning fewer calories, both of which can contribute to menopause weight gain.2 While many of these factors may be outside of our control, finding a safe and fun way to stay active is well within our grasp.   Why women gain weight during menopause While decreasing hormone levels may not be behind menopause weight gain, hormonal changes can change how you store body fat. Your body may move from storing fat in your hips and thighs to your abdominal area, which can make it seem as though you’re carrying more abdominal fat.1 Menopause may increase your body’s storing of visceral fat, the fat surrounding organs like your liver, intestines, and other organs, which is different from subcutaneous fat, the belly fat right beneath the skin. Both may draw extra attention to waist circumference, but visceral fat is associated with certain health risks.3 This may also be why women's body shape after menopause shifts from pear-shaped to apple-shaped, although further study is needed. Regardless of age, women in perimenopause show an increase in abdominal fat and a decrease in lean body mass.1  Both of which can contribute to the feeling and the reality of menopause weight gain. 7 Reasons Why Women Gain Weight During Menopause How much weight do you gain during menopause & how long does it last? How much weight do you gain during menopause varies, but the average weight gain for women during menopause is anywhere from 4.6–11.2 pounds.4 How long does this menopause weight gain last? That also varies and depends on a range of factors, including your lifestyle, physical activity, and dietary intake. Postmenopause seems to bring some relief, however, as one study of over 1200 women showed. In this study, participants’ weight gain during menopause seemed to stabilize, stop, or even decrease in some cases during postmenopause.5 But for menopausal women in the middle of this transition, some exercises can help to maintain a healthy weight, increase muscle mass, stave off unwanted weight gain, and help improve our general quality of life as we traverse this natural stage of life. The best exercises for menopause weight gain There are many reasons why women gain weight during menopause, from fluctuating hormone levels and natural aging to diminished physical activity, diet, and the ease and access of not-so-healthy foods in the United States. The combination of all these factors can make it difficult to feel like we’re making progress, let alone feel motivated enough even to try. But thankfully, when it comes to exercise for menopause weight gain, a little every day—can go a long way. Strength Training Simply put, building muscle mass helps you burn fat.6 But women naturally lose muscle mass after menopause, which can contribute to a slower metabolism.7 Increasing your muscle mass through strength training exercises can help build this back up, so you’ll burn more calories.6 Plus, strengthening your muscles does more than just build muscle mass, it also makes the stress of daily activities less work on your joints.7 It’s generally recommended that women incorporate some resistance training into their workout routine 2–3 times / week to help maintain bone and muscle mass.9 Here are some examples of strength training exercises:10 Lifting weights Using elastic bands Weight machines Standing or lifting your own body weight Weight Bearing Exercises Another way to combat early menopause symptoms such as menopausal weight gain is through weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercises help support strong bones and can get your heart pumping to burn even more calories (which has the added bonus of supporting a healthy heart).9 These can include: Dancing Running Jogging Tennis Jumping rope Elliptical machines Stairstep machines Aerobic Exercises Another way to speed up your metabolic rate is through aerobic exercise. Gynecologists generally recommend 20 minutes / day of moderate physical activity.9 Even an aerobic activity as simple as walking will not make your hot flashes worse and may actually improve them.9 Aerobic exercises include:9 Walking Jogging Swimming Cycling Balance Exercises Balance exercises such as yoga and T’ai chi can help to improve posture, manage stress, and build balance to help prevent falls. Not only is yoga a great way to build balance and core strength—studies show practicing yoga improves sleep quality and helps relieve hot flashes in menopausal women.9 While not directly tied to weight loss, balance exercises can help improve general quality of life. Besides, who doesn’t love an exercise you can do barefoot, in your pajamas, from the comfort of your own home? Working out shouldn’t feel like work Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and this is true for your workouts too! Incorporating a little bit of strength training, weight bearing exercises, aerobic exercises, and balance exercises every day can help maintain a healthy weight during menopause and beyond—which is great news for those of us who find it difficult to stick to any one workout routine.9 If resistance training seems like too much one day, try something simple like a walk or simple yoga pose stretches. And celebrate your accomplishments along the way, because when it comes to taking care of yourself, every little bit matters. We recommend speaking to your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regimen. This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. References NAMS The North American Menopause Society. “Changes in Weight and Fat Distribution.” 2021. Accessed on March 25, 2021.https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-weight-and-fat-distribution Northwest Community Healthcare. “Why is it so hard for women over 50 to lose weight.” 2018. Accessed on March 25, 2021. https://www.nch.org/news/why-is-it-so-hard-for-women-over-50-to-lose-weight/ Harvard Women’s Health Watch. “Taking aim at belly fat.” 2010. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed on March 25, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat. Proietto, J. Obesity and weight management at menopause. RACGP. 2017; 46 (6): 368-370. https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/june/obesity-and-weight-management-at-menopause/ Greendale, Gail A et al. “Changes in body composition and weight during the menopause transition.” JCI Insight. 2019;4(5):e124865. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483504/ Harvard Women’s Health Watch. “Winning the weight battle after menopause.” 2019. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed on March 25, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/winning-the-weight-battle-after-menopause Mayo Clinic. “Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread.” 2021. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Accessed on: January 26, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058 Health Essentials. “Yoga Poses That Can Strengthen Your Core Muscles” 2018. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed on March 25, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/yoga-poses-that-can-strengthen-your-core-muscles/ Chopra, Sakshi et al. “Weight Management Module for Perimenopausal Women: A Practical Guide for Gynecologists.” J Midlife Health. 2019;10(4):165-172. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947726/ Mishra, Nalini et al. “Exercise beyond menopause: Dos and Don'ts.” Journal of mid-life health 2,2 (2011): 51-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296386/
brushstroke Read More
Take the Menopause
Assessment