A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash: Preventing colds and flu during menopause

Hi and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash. Here in Canada, the cold weather is here and it’s here to stay… at least for a while. And with the cold weather come all the winter infections like colds, the flu, coughs and upper respiratory tract infections. Women often ask me if menopause can influence whether or not you catch these particular infections. The answer is yes. And no. Sort of.

Menopause


Mackie Vadacchino
@AVogel_ca


24 October 2018

Changing hormones

Menopause itself doesn’t cause colds and flu, but hormonal changes can affect the body on many levels. For instance, they can weaken your nervous system and make you more anxious.

You might find yourself worrying and getting upset more than you normally would. Falling hormone levels can also affect your digestive system quite dramatically, reducing the number of friendly bacteria in your gut.

To add insult to injury, hormonal changes can affect your sleep patterns too. During menopause, women tend to have trouble getting to sleep, sleep lighter, wake up more frequently during the night and wake up earlier in the morning. And we know that hormonal changes can cause fatigue and directly weaken your immune system.

Why does it all happen?

Good question! During menopause, you might find yourself getting anxious more easily and staying that way for longer than usual. When that happens, it puts added stress on your nervous system, which can stay stressed for a long time. That, in turn, can affect your immune system and its ability to fight infections.

As if that weren’t enough, if you have poor digestion, you may not be absorbing your nutrients properly, so you can end up lacking nutrients, which can also interfere with how your immune system works. The friendly bacteria in your digestive system play a really important part in helping to support your immune system and fight other bugs as well.

Then there’s poor sleep: not only does it cause fatigue, which generally wears you out, but it also directly affects the efficiency of your immune system, which makes you much more vulnerable to the viruses making the rounds at any given time.

What can you do about it?

Diet

Look after yourself well. Make sure you’re getting a really good, varied diet. I recommend a vitamin and mineral supplement during the winter, just to keep your nutritional needs satisfied.

Bloating, gas and cramps

If you tend to get bloated or gassy or experience cramping, or if you find that your bowels are a bit sluggish, it may be that your friendly bacteria are not particularly happy, in which case taking a good probiotic supplement for a month would be a really good idea. It will help your immune system, while helping your digestion and elimination as well.

Water

Remember to drink a lot of water. Dehydration can affect your immune system and unfortunately, during the winter months, it’s especially hard to avoid getting dehydrated: central heating will suck the water out of you like a day in the desert, but because it’s cold out, you’re less likely to want to drink water to make up for it. If that sounds like you, then you can warm yourself up with a nice hot cup of herbal tea. Combine that with 30 minutes of relaxation every day and your immune system will be really happy.

Remedies to help

If you’re looking for remedies to help you through the winter, as I mentioned above, start with a good multivitamin and consider taking a vitamin B supplement to help support your nervous system.

Also think about taking some echinacea. It’s known to help support your immune system and fight colds and flu. In fact, it’s something you can take all winter long as a preventive measure.

If you tend to get a lot of throat infections, the other thing that can be really helpful is a zinc and vitamin C lozenge—one or two of those a day should work wonders.

Look after yourself

Hopefully, this information about how to look after yourself will help you avoid colds and flu during menopause. Until next time, take good care of yourself!

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