Press Reset on Menopause

After a challenging menopause experience, holistic women’s health expert Dr Mindy Pelz set out to change how women view and manage menopause. Get It Magazine’s Holly Bartter checks in with Dr Mindy to discover how we can reframe menopause, simple changes to get started and her new book, The Menopause Reset.  

Can you tell us about your own personal experience that inspired your book, The Menopause Reset?

Menopause was a terrible experience for me! I’d worked hard to stay healthy and happy for pretty much my entire life, which meant I was totally unprepared for the effects of menopause. I had anxiety, depression, mood swings, and night sweats. I was irritable all the time, my libido disappeared. I felt like I had become a completely different person.  

Menopause really got the best of me until I started doing research and discovered that there’s a lot we can do to counter the effects of menopause. Fasting, dietary changes, supplements, exercise – with a few well-placed shifts in your lifestyle, you can make a huge difference in how you feel during menopause. 

Do you feel there’s still a stigma surrounding menopause?

There’s definitely still a stigma surrounding menopause. I was surprised by it, honestly. I think sometimes there can be a sense of, “I went through this without help, so you should too.”  

As women, we’re also used to dealing with our monthly cycles and the symptoms they bring, without complaining or making a big deal of things like PMS. For a lot of women, I think menopause feels like an extension of that. 

What is the mental impact of menopause on women?

Menopause can have a huge impact on us mentally. First off, it’s scary feeling like you’ve become a different person overnight! If all of a sudden you’re anxious and depressed and irritable, and you don’t know why, it can take a huge mental toll. You can feel like you’re losing your grip on reality.  

Once you figure out that menopause is the reason, the mental side of things gets easier. But it’s still hard, because it does require you to accept certain changes in your life. 

What age does menopause usually begin for women, and do you find this is changing at all for any reason?

In the United States, the average age at which menopause begins is 51. But there’s a lot of variation there. For most women, menopause begins anywhere between 45 and 55. It lasts an average of seven years (though it can continue for as many as 14 years).  

Over the last six decades, the average age at which menopause starts has been delayed by 1.5 years, and today, compared to the 1960s, women are fertile for an average of 2.1 years longer. 

Is menopause a medical area that is still having new research done on it, in terms of how we can best treat these symptoms? 

There’s a ton of ongoing research on menopause! Some of the most exciting recent research is looking at how psychedelics (like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD) may affect menopause. Both psychedelics and estrogen bind to the same type of receptor in the brain, and there’s early evidence that psychedelic drugs—which show a lot of promise in treating things like anxiety and depression—may be able to help with menopause symptoms as well.  

However, we could use more research into treating the symptoms of menopause. Hormone replacement works well for a lot of women, but it comes with risks and side effects for some of us. I’d like to see more research on how lifestyle changes can improve menopause symptoms.

What are the most common symptoms women experience during menopause?

Some of them are easy to identify—if you suddenly start getting hot flashes, for example, you’ll probably figure out pretty quickly that menopause is the culprit.  

But other common symptoms of menopause are harder to identify. Anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping—these are all common symptoms that could have a lot of different causes. It can take time (and, in some cases, a hormone panel) to confirm that menopause is causing these symptoms, which can be frustrating. It’s awful, experiencing all these effects without knowing why. 

Can you give us your top 3 tips to start managing menopausal symptoms?

My top three tips to start managing menopausal symptoms are: 

  1. Try intermittent fasting. It balances your hormones, promotes mental clarity, decreases inflammation, and improves your brain function. It’s also easy and free. You can start today—all you have to do is go 16 hours without eating, then have all your meals for the day in an 8-hour window (say, between noon and 8PM). 
  2. Ditch the sugar. Refined sugar majorly disrupts your sex hormones, which can exacerbate existing menopausal symptoms. Cut back on refined sugar and carbs and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, meat, and healthy fats instead. 
  3. Walk every day. Walking is SO underrated as a form of exercise. I know it seems like it wouldn’t do much, but even a mile-long walk every day will make a big difference in your hormone balance.  
What message do you have for women who are feeling hopeless against menopausal symptoms currently?

I know firsthand how hopeless menopause can make you feel. I struggled with it for years—depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, night sweats, all of it. Doctors wouldn’t or couldn’t help me and I thought there was no end in sight.  

But you truly don’t have to suffer through menopause. There are things you can do to take your life into your own hands. They work, and you’ll feel the changes within days, not weeks. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin, download my Menopause Survival Guide. It’s free, quick to read, and has a bunch of advice about things you can start doing today to relieve your menopause symptoms and feel like your younger self. 

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