I'm Going Through Menopause, and This Is What's in My Medicine Cabinet
A menopause educator shares her top symptom-solving products.
Going through menopause can completely upend how you feel in your body. Besides experiencing changes to your menstrual cycle, you may also experience hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep changes, metabolic shifts, mood swings, and more.
That's why we reached out to Andrea Donsky, RHN, a nutritionist and menopause educator, to find out how she copes with these symptoms and others. "I was in perimenopause for eight years and now menopause for two years, so I've been on this journey for a total of 10 years," Donsky tells Best Life. "As a nutritionist who is in menopause, I am a strong advocate for eating nutritious foods, drinking half our weight in ounces (to stay hydrated), exercising lightly, and taking daily supplements," she says. Read on to learn the five things she says every person in perimenopause or menopause should keep in their medicine cabinet.
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Donsky says many women experience increased levels of inflammation during perimenopause and menopause. To counteract this, she recommends taking Omega-3 or fish oil supplements containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). She notes that these "are great for heart and brain health, hair, skin, and nails."
A 2009 study conducted by researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine in Quebec, Canada, adds that there's one more benefit associated with taking Omega-3s during menopause: they "ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by menopausal and perimenopausal women."
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Magnesium glycinate supplements
Magnesium is an important nutrient that helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and other crucial bodily functions. Women going through menopause may experience a decline in magnesium, which can trigger a range of symptoms.
That's why Donsky always has magnesium glycinate—also known as magnesium diglycinate or magnesium bisglycinate—in her medicine cabinet. "It helps with sleep, blood sugar regulation, bone health, muscle twitches, eye spasms, and more," she explains.
Probiotics are another product Donsky sees as essential to menopause care. "Probiotics (good bacteria that live in our gut) are important to supporting our immune system and helping with digestion," she explains. Newsweek reports that probiotic supplements can also help prevent bladder and yeast infections, treat irritable bowel syndrome, soothe hot flashes, and stabilize weight changes during menopause.
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Many women going through menopause notice changes to their digestion and metabolism. "Decreasing amounts of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can slow down the process of food passing through the GI system," explains the nonprofit health organization Orlando Health. "When the digestive process takes longer, more water is reabsorbed back into the bloodstream, which can lead to constipation, increased gas and bloating," the organization adds.
Donsky suggests taking digestive enzymes to soothe these unpleasant symptoms. "They help with bloating and breaking down our food so we can digest and absorb it better."
B vitamin supplements
B vitamins play an important role in our health, says the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "These vitamins help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body," their experts note.
Donsky says they're especially useful for women going through menopause due to their cognitive and mood-boosting benefits. "I love B vitamins because many of us feel more anxious in this phase of life and when we are stressed, we deplete B vitamins from our bodies. B vitamins are important for carbohydrate metabolism, brain health, mood and energy," she tells Best Life.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.