Women Everywhere Deserve the Best Possible Menopause Experience! It Can Be a Time to Thrive!
May is all about women and Mother’s Day! So, in this week’s interview, Excy co-founder and CEO Michele Mehl sat down with Jill Angelo, known as the “menopause woman” in many of her close circles.
Jill is the co-founder and CEO of genneve, an online clinic for women (and men) to learn more about how to improve the menopause experience. With all our HealthYeah interviews, we aim to show the connection between the topic and the power of exercise as medicine in helping produce the best possible health outcomes.
Just like exercise impacts previous areas we have discussed like Parkinson’s disease, POTS, anxiety and depression, sexual health, and more, regular and consistent exercise is crucial for a better perimenopause and menopause experience.
During the interview, we learn so much about menopause from Jill. This includes making lifestyle choices to improve the experience. Jill gets into these areas like the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and cardio exercise and strength training for the optimal menopause experience.
Jump into the interview anytime. We’ve also included a recap below!
Menopause Is Not a Dirty Word!
Although every woman goes through menopause, few discuss it in great detail. Jill hopes to remove this stigma by normalizing the conversation and educating women on how to mitigate negative symptoms. In her efforts, she hopes to help more women see menopause as not being the end of being a woman, but rather the kick-off to the second half of life with a high standard of living.
Historically, as women age they often become invisible to society. But Jill passionately laid out that middle-aged women drive the majority of purchasing decisions and work into their golden years. In fact, 20 percent of the US workforce is made up of women who are menopausal age. For Jill, she believes it is high time menopause becomes a topic to empower women through their inevitable bodily changes.
Menopause: What to Expect
At genneve, you can take a menopause assessment and view how your symptoms stack up against other women in the genneve community. You can also continually retake the test to track your own body’s changes. Through this assessment, Jill has spotted common trends during perimenopause and postmenopause.
For example, during perimenopause, many women report feeling more fatigued, experience new aches and pains. In addition, they see changes in their menstrual cycle, hot flashes, and night sweats. Women also report mood swings during this time. However, during postmenopause, women experience new vaginal symptoms, mood changes, decreased libido and again, possible pain during intercourse. See our previous interview on sexual health with Amy Buckalter from Pulse.
Menopause and Brain Health
Changes in our body due to menopause also affect our brains. As estrogen levels decline in the body, the grey matter that cushions and protects our brains diminishes, making us more vulnerable to brain issues. There is a correlational link between menopause and Alzheimer’s, which helps explain why women contract Alzheimer’s at twice the rate as men.
Jill is involved in Dr. Lisa Mosconi’s Women’s Brain Initiative study operated out of Weill Cornell Medicine. The study will help shed light on the correlation between what happens in women’s brains during menopause and the likelihood of onset Alzheimer’s. Dr. Mosconi believes if women modify their diets and exercise patterns earlier, they can mitigate or even avoid one third of all Alzheimer’s cases in women. To learn more about Dr. Mosconi, check out her book Brain Food or listen to her speak on genneve’s online podcast.
Normal Symptoms of Menopause vs. Red Flags
There are many symptoms and changes that occur in a woman’s body during menopause, and it can be difficult to determine what is a normal symptom and what may be a larger cause for concern. Jill gave us three red flags to watch out for.
- If you have gone a full year without a menstrual cycle, then begin bleeding, you should see your doctor. This could be an indication of endometrial cancer.
- Educate yourself on the differences between heart palpitations and something more severe. During menopause, many women experience hot flashes and heart palpitations. These palpations are often mistaken for heart attacks and cause women to rush to the ER. Be aware that heart palpitations may occur, but always air on the side of caution.
- Monitor your mood changes to track whether they are showing a deeper, underlying depression. There are certain mental health challenges that accompany menopause, including newfound anxiety and rage. It is important to know the line between mood changes and a deeper depression. For professional advice, you can privately video chat with a practitioner at genneve, or set up an appointment with your doctor to discuss mood changes.
Reach Out to Your Loved Ones
Menopause, mood swings, hot flashes, and depression are necessarily fun topics, but it is still crucial that we talk about them with our loved ones. Share a link to genneve or reach out to those you care about, because you never know what they are going through. Just opening the door by sending along a helpful resource can initiate a life-changing dialogue.
How to Mitigate Menopausal Symptoms
Jill hopes to make women more conscientious of the changes they can expect surrounding menopause. Jill has five main pieces of advice to help create the optimal menopausal experience.
- Make sure to hydrate! During menopause, many women report they aren’t as sharp as they used to be, or they feel like they are experiencing brain fog. Drinking plenty of water seems simple, but it is crucial for helping your brain stay sharp.
- Keep a healthy diet! Jill believes low carb diets are best because carbs, while delicious, drain our energy. Along with a low carb diet, Jill recommends limiting high inflammation foods. Yes, even red wine! Limiting these types of foods will minimize the temperature changes women often experience as hot flashes or night sweats.
- Exercise regularly, especially through strength training! During menopause, your strength levels and energy levels will change, and it is crucial to stay on top of your exercise routine. Strength training is crucial to minimize bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. Although Jill has always been an avid runner, she has implemented significantly more strength training into her exercise routine with Excy!
- Invest in good supplements! Taking the right supplements gives your body the best chance at fighting off negative menopausal symptoms. Magnesium can help with sleep, anxiety, and overall muscle fatigue. Jill takes it every night before she goes to bed because it helps her sleep and controls menstrual cramps. If you are looking for a good magnesium supplement, keep your eye out for upcoming announcements from genneve!
- Talk to a doctor! Schedule an appointment with a practitioner or a professional. Talk to someone about how your body is changing and get advice on which medications, lifestyle changes, or products can help.
If the list above seems daunting and foreign, start small! Build up habits now that your body will thank you for as it ages. Remember, no matter what phase of life you are in, it is never too late to start something new! Make sure to check out the genneve blog for inspiration.
Jill’s Book and Podcast Recommendations
We always ask our guest for their favorite books and podcasts! Jill identifies with vulnerable autobiographies that showcase a woman’s journey to becoming confident and comfortable in themselves. Because of this, she loved Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Brene Brown’s work, and is currently reading Melinda Gates’s book The Moment of Lift. She loves entrepreneurial podcasts like How I Built This, as well as fun audiobooks that allow her to escape into the story.
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