Respiratory Wellness Tips for Perimenopausal Women

Respiratory Wellness Tips for Perimenopausal Women

Respiratory Wellness

Perimenopause and menopause can cause some physical and emotional issues in women, mostly due to the rapid hormonal changes in the body. In the US alone, about 1 million women go through menopause every year, and that is just the official number. And yet, still, a lot remains to be known about all the effects of menopause on the female body. The most well-known symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are hot flashes, nausea, lack of libido, mood swings, vaginal dryness, anxiety, dryness of skin and hair, and insomnia. However, there are some other lesser-known issues as well. Shortness of breath in perimenopause and some other respiratory issues are one of them.

Most women do not realize that their sudden problems with breathing after the age of 50 or 52 are caused as a result of perimenopause or menopause. This could be another source of anxiety, but it can be managed well if you are aware of it. On the other hand, respiratory issues could be a result of many other factors, and not just because a woman is going through menopause. Let us look at some of the ways in which you can relieve breathing problems at this stage of your life.

Why can Respiratory Issues Affect a Woman during Perimenopause?

As mentioned earlier, many of the causes of the symptoms that a woman experiences during perimenopause and menopause are still unclear. Perimenopause can affect different women in various ways. Apart from age, a woman’s race, ethnicity, medical background, family health history, and personal lifestyle choices are also crucial factors in determining what she can experience during perimenopause, which is the years leading up to menopause.

However, according to the data available, respiratory issues in perimenopausal women are mostly a result of the drop in the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen can cause fluctuations in the inflammation of the lungs and could also affect lung elasticity. You can also feel breathless suddenly in the middle of the night, causing you to wake up, which can be a result of both anxiety and breathing issues.

How to Know You Have Respiratory Issues During Perimenopause?

Respiratory issues are a less common symptom while transitioning into menopause. Hence, at first, you may not notice the connection. Only about 20% of the women may undergo lung issues during perimenopause, as compared to about 80% of the women who experience hot flashes.

You can only directly associate breathing problems with perimenopause or menopause if it happens around the same time. And then, you need to see a doctor for an actual diagnosis because assumptions at this point could be fatal. You could really have a lung disorder or can be suffering from pneumonia or very early stages of lung cancer.

Also, you may feel very confused at this point, just like you will have some confusion about a lot of changes you see in your body at this period. You may notice shortness of breath while exercising, although you have been told that staying active is the key to good health during perimenopause. Managing these symptoms can make this phase of life easier for you.

Other Lung Issues that You May Experience During Perimenopause

Since a drop in estrogen can increase the chances of many illnesses, it is advisable to go for regular screenings and check-ups at this point. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing shortness of breath and whether it is coupled with anxiety and sleep disorders.

Your doctor will conduct tests to see if the decrease in lung elasticity due to the drop in estrogen is causing the issue or whether there is something else.
Some other issues that you may experience during perimenopause and menopause are tightness of the chest, dizziness, chest pain, wheezing, nausea and vomiting, and labored breathing even when you are doing light and regular activities. Since any of these issues can happen whether you are going through menopause or not, you must visit your doctor to look into it.

Tips to Ensure Respiratory Wellness During Perimenopause

It is possible to lead a healthy and full life during perimenopause. There is nothing to stop you from leading the life you want, even after you have hit menopause. However, if you experience breathing issues, then there are some choices that you can make to make this phase easier for you.

Exercise Regularly

Yes, you may notice shortness of breath while trying to exercise during perimenopause, so exercising can seem very counter-intuitive. However, doing light exercises under the guidance of an expert can be beneficial at this stage. The drop in estrogen can affect the natural lung elasticity. If you stop exercising, your lungs will lose their flexibility even more. Hence, doing some light exercises to keep your lungs active without putting additional strain can be helpful at this point.

Give Up Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking can result in severe fluctuations in the hormonal levels in perimenopausal and menopausal women. And smoking is always injurious to lung health. You will do well to give up smoking and alcohol entirely during this period. Smoking can cause your lungs to choke, and it has to work extra hard to flush out the carbon dioxide and other gases. Alcohol can also result in hormonal imbalances that will aggravate the symptoms.

Instead, focus on including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet that keep your lungs and other organs hydrated and nourished. Include foods that are rich in estrogen and collagen to help with lung elasticity. Moreover, you will notice an improvement in your overall health as well.

Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

To improve your breathing, you can practice deep breathing techniques. Yoga can be fundamental at this point. Techniques like various kinds of pranayam have been instrumental in improving lung health. You can have a designated time for doing so, but you can also practice slow breathing as you go about your day. Refrain from doing heavy exercises at this point for some time. Your body is going through a transition and moving towards a more restive phase. Choose your exercises accordingly, without stressing that you will feel old if you stop your regular exercise routine.

Work on Your Mental Health

Anxiety is a common issue among women during perimenopause and menopause. There is a lot of conditioning, and most women are made to feel less of a person as they reach the end of their childbearing years. Certain physical issues become clearer.

Women notice a change in their skin and hair texture, and osteoporosis can also set it. All this will have external manifestations, and it could lead to a feeling of despondency and anxiety. This can manifest as breathing problems and panic attacks. Work on yourself and be a part of a supporting community. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are simply transitioning into the next phase of your life. And this will go very smoothly if you stay on top of your health checks and work on maintaining inner peace.

Final Thoughts

Breathing problems during menopause and the years leading up to it can seem like a major issue. However, this can be managed, just like other issues that may come up during perimenopause. More information is now available on this compared to what was known even a decade back.

You can go through articles by Dr. Karen Pike, who has dedicated her life to helping women going through perimenopause and menopause. Just remember that there is nothing to worry about. And by monitoring your health and building a calm environment, you can navigate through perimenopause and menopause quite easily.

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