Winter can be a difficult time for anyone, nights get longer meaning less daylight time which can impact on mental health. The temperature drops and the weather turns colder and wetter so the last thing anyone needs is worsening menopause symptoms.
Studies conducted around seasonal effects on menopause indicate there is a link between worsening menopause symptoms and the change in seasons from autumn to winter. The exact causation is unknown although there are several contributing factors that should be considered.
For example, despite the lower temperatures hot flushes and night sweats worsen during winter months leading to poor sleep, low mood and increased anxiety. Poor levels of sunlight can lead to insufficient levels of vitamin D absorption which can impact bone health. Levels of exercise drop during this time due to poor weather and low motivation. Skin and eyes can feel dryer during menopause and cold weather can cause additional chapping and sensitivity, to name just a few.
How can I manage menopause symptoms during winter?
It is not all doom and gloom and there are ways to combat these issues:
- To combat hot flushes during the day try wearing several layers of thinner clothing instead of one or two layers of thicker clothes. This way when body temperature increases single layers can be removed and replaced easier as your temperature fluctuates.
- At night try a lighter tog duvet and add additional blankets which can be removed when body temperature increases.
- Drink plenty of water to help rehydrate dry eyes and skin.
- Enjoy the brief moments of sunlight by getting out for a lunchtime walk or run especially on the rare fine days. This will help with exercise requirements and lift low moods. On those days where the weather is less forgiving why not fill lunchtime with a swim or yoga session or other aerobics class?
- Taking Vitamin D supplements is important any time of the year but is especially vital during darker winter months to help protect bones especially if you are at a higher risk of Osteoporosis.
- Maintain a healthy diet and eat seasonally, winter vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals which help boost the immune system which will help protect against seasonal colds and flu.
- Remember to socialise as much as possible during winter months. It is easy to stay home in the warm and isolate from fellow humans, but this will not help maintain good mental health.
- Above all, be kind to yourself, enjoy a little pampering, whether that is a nice, calming bubble bath or spa treatment, a good book or trip to the cinema or some retail therapy, do something you enjoy that is just for you.
Winter months can be challenging for most people but for those individuals struggling with troublesome menopause symptoms it can feel endless. Just a few lifestyle changes can help negotiate this half of the year and remember, it does not last forever, spring is just round the corner!
If you would like to discuss this or any other menopause issues further and have access to myTamarin menopause support, book a 1-1 appointment with a menopause expert at myTamarin via the website or app.
Durward, E. (2021) Is Menopause Worse in Winter? www.avogel.co.uk
Pause Well Aging, (2023) Coping with Menopause Symptoms in Winter. www.pausewellaging.com
McDermott, T. (2023) Navigating Menopause in the Winter Months: A Guide to Stay Warm and Well. www.tinamcdermott.com