The Best Way to Fight Menopause Inflammation
Menopause inflammation. Those two words can strike fear into the hearts – as well as the joints and muscles – of women approaching the “change of life.” Believe me, I know. I’ve been battling joint and muscle pain for more than two years now.
My doctors have run through the gamut of medical testing to figure out a cause. Everything comes back negative, including tests for autoimmune disorders known to trigger inflammation.
That just leaves one thing, my friends. Menopause. I’m fast approaching 50 and know my periods are winding down. That’s fine with me! I’m perfectly OK with never again experiencing the kind of public embarrassment that accompanies starting a period unexpectedly.
What I’m not so thrilled about is the newfound inflammation that has crept into every part of my body.
Thankfully, several natural remedies for menopause-induced inflammation exist. I’m going to save you the hassle of researching it for yourself by dishing the goods in this article.
Keep reading to discover:
- Can menopause cause inflammation in the body?
- Can menopause cause inflammation in the gut?
- What supplements help inflammation in menopause?
- What are other natural remedies for menopause inflammation?
Can menopause cause inflammation in the body?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. During menopause, we experience a significant drop in estrogen production. The science guys tell us that the lower levels of estrogen absolutely contribute to inflammation during menopause. Bummer.
As women, it’s easy to get caught up in the positives of menopause. No more periods is the top reason to celebrate this stage in our lives. (Let’s not forget sex without the pregnancy worries and the shrinking of uterine fibroids).
However, all those positives can quickly get overshadowed by the searing, relentless pain caused by inflammation throughout your body.
Can menopause cause inflammation in the gut?
Sorry, ladies, but I have more bad news. Menopause doesn’t just cause achy joints and muscles. It can lead to inflammation in your gut.
Foods you once ate and enjoyed now can make your stomach feel bloated and upset. And, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get painful gas and possibly diarrhea.
(So now you know why you can no longer enjoy that spicy bean burrito from your favorite Mexican restaurant!)
Changes in the composition and diversity of your gut’s microbiome during menopause lead to an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria. Gut inflammation is linked to several gastrointestinal disorders, including:
What supplements help inflammation in menopause?
Forget that nonsense about diamonds being a girl’s best friend. When you’re in menopause, supplements become your new besties.
Adding specific supplements to your diet can help control menopause inflammation. Here are some of the most effective options to consider.
- Curcumin is a compound found in the spice turmeric. Numerous studies indicate taking up to 500 mg daily can ease symptoms of inflammation regardless of the cause. Just make sure you take a curcumin supplement that includes black pepper to boost absorption.
- Fish Oil supplements with omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation associated with several health conditions, including menopause. The only downside is the fishy burps you can get from including them in your anti-inflammatory routine.
- Ginger root has a history in herbal medicine for the treatment of many conditions. Two of its components – gingerol and zingerone – can help reduce inflammation.
- Green Tea Extract is a favorite among natural health practitioners for its rich catechin levels that can reduce intestinal inflammation. It’s an important supplement to add if you’re experiencing leaky gut during menopause.
- Resveratrol is an antioxidant naturally found in blueberries, grapes, and other fruits with purple skin. You can also find it in dark chocolate, peanuts, and red wine. It’s proven for its effectiveness in fighting inflammation. It’s especially helpful for menopausal women dealing with inflammatory bowel syndrome.
- Vitamin D has some powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Menopausal women with vitamin D deficiencies can suffer from inflammation. Take up to 4,000 International Units (IU) of a vitamin D supplement to prevent deficiency.
What are other natural remedies for menopause inflammation?
Supplements can help control inflammation in menopause. However, eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is your best bet for keeping inflammation in check.
Whole, unprocessed foods with no added sugar should make up the bulk of your inflammation-fighting meal plan during menopause. Don’t make the same mistake I did by cutting back on everything all at once. All I accomplished was that I became crankier and more fatigued than usual.
Gradually ease into your new healthy way of eating to keep your body from rebelling against the sudden changes. Here’s how.
Ease out of your sugar addiction.
Reducing the amount of artificial sweetener you use is, for many of us, the hardest part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Americans consume on average 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily. Sugar boosts inflammation in our bodies, so you can’t skip this part of the process if you want to naturally reduce inflammation during menopause. Just go about it slowly or you risk a crash in energy and major irritability. Aim for no more than 14 grams of sugar (about 3 teaspoons) as a maximum intake. The closer you can get it to zero grams, the better you’ll feel.
Swap out red meats for lean meats.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but most anti-inflammatory diets recommend avoiding red meat in favor of lean meats like chicken. You can also toss in some fatty fish to the mix, like salmon and tuna. You can even replace meats with beans, which offer the added benefit of being high in fiber. I love beans and find they make a great substitute for meats in some of my favorite dishes.
Replace soda with sparkling water.
I’m not a soda gal. I don’t really care for sparkling mineral water, either. However, friends who were avid soda drinkers highly recommend this trade-off if you’re trying to decrease the amount of sugar you’re consuming as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Eat more veggies. One of the reasons people who follow the Mediterranean Diet (a popular anti-inflammatory eating plan) experience healthy outcomes is because they shift the balance on their plates from meat-centric to veggie-focused. Gradually reduce the size of the cuts of lean meat you’re consuming and replace them with a larger serving of veggies.
Switch out your carbs.
If it has white flour in it, you should probably avoid it. That doesn’t mean you should forgo all carbohydrates. Your body needs them to function. Just choose wisely. Swap out white rice for brown rice, white potatoes for yams, and white pasta for spinach pasta.
Other natural anti-inflammatory strategies
Besides diet, there are other natural strategies menopausal women can use to reduce chronic inflammation.
- Infrared light therapy has proven benefits for fighting inflammation regardless of the trigger. Couple it with a sauna, and you can sweat out toxins while enjoying the inflammation-reducing benefits of infrared light therapy. I regularly use the infrared sauna at my gym and have experienced a noticeable reduction in my pain and inflammation.
- Stress management helps control inflammation, especially during menopause. Practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga are two effective ways to manage your stress. You can also try essential oils to promote relaxation.
Ditch the swollen joints and muscles during menopause
Put the kibosh on chronic inflammation during menopause so you can get back to enjoying the benefits of this change in your life instead. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet, get plenty of exercise and rest, and supplement when needed to keep your pain in check.
About the Author: Shari Berg is a researcher, frequent blogger, feature writer, and author of War End with Me.
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