6 Ways to Transition Through Menopause with Ease 

by JJ Virgin on February 29, 2024

When I say the word menopause, what comes to mind? If you're like most women, you think about miseries such as night sweats, mood swings, and weight gain. This doesn't have to be your fate. Like me, you can go through the menopause transition and find yourself feeling better than ever.   

Your biggest challenge with menopause is when you're going through it. Once you're on the other side, balancing your hormones becomes easier. Why? Because hormones are no longer a moving target like they are when you're in the middle of perimenopause.     

As I began this journey, I experienced many of the same symptoms everyone else does. However, I became determined to change the narrative around menopause, and I knew I had to start with myself.   

Along the way, I discovered simple, powerful ways to minimize menopause-related unpleasantries. Whether you're preparing for or going through this transition—or you want to support someone who is—these six strategies can make menopause magic instead of misery. 

1. Manage Stress  

During menopause, the adrenal glands, located above each kidney, face increased stress due to hormonal fluctuations. These glands are essential for producing hormones like cortisol, which regulates stress responses and hormonal balance. 

As estrogen and progesterone levels decline, the adrenals produce more cortisol to compensate. High cortisol levels can cause fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and other issues.1  

Poor adrenal health, characterized by elevated cortisol, can worsen during menopause. Balancing cortisol with another adrenal hormone, DHEA, is crucial for managing stress. A higher DHEA-cortisol ratio can mitigate stress effects. Cortisol also plays roles in infection response, blood sugar regulation, and bone metabolism.2  

Salivary testing, particularly the Adrenocortex Stress Profile, uses saliva samples to measure cortisol levels and assess your body's stress response. This diagnostic tool helps identify daily stressors and informs discussions with a functional-medicine doctor about appropriate nutrient support, lifestyle changes, and stress-management strategies. For more information and to order the Adrenocortex Stress Profile, click here

2. Find Your Healthy Body Composition 

Maintaining a healthy weight during menopause can significantly reduce the severity and frequency of common symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Excess body weight can exacerbate these symptoms, increasing your risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, joint health, diabetes, and more.  

Finding your goal weight can also enhance your quality of life. It can lead to increased energy levels, better sleep, and a higher level of physical and mental well-being, allowing you to enjoy this phase of life to the fullest.3  

Weight loss isn't the end goal here. Instead, it's how you lose weight or improve your body composition. When I say body composition, I'm talking about having a higher proportion of lean mass or muscle relative to body fat. A body-composition scale is the best way to know. 

An eat-protein-first meal approach and resistance training is the best combo to help regulate blood-sugar levels, support hormone balance, reduce your risk of developing insulin resistance, and manage your metabolic well-being. Other factors, including stress management and great sleep, also contribute to fat loss. However, protein and resistance training form the foundation for finding and maintaining your ideal body composition. 

3. Love Your Thyroid  

Your thyroid is a tiny but powerful organ that impacts your metabolism, weight, energy, brain function, and much more.  

One of the most noticeable effects of thyroid dysfunction in menopause is its influence on metabolism and weight. A sluggish thyroid can lead to a slower metabolism, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.4   

Symptoms of a poorly functioning thyroid may include persistent fatigue, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and mood disturbances. However, these are also common menopausal symptoms, so careful assessment is needed.5,6  

These and other issues can compound the already demanding symptoms of menopause.  

Lab tests are the best way to determine your thyroid function. Your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) should be between 0.5 and 1.5. However, TSH alone won't tell you everything that could be happening with your thyroid. In other words, you need more than a single TSH test to get the big picture about thyroid health.   

Comprehensive thyroid testing, which includes TSH, free T3, free T4, thyroglobulin antibodies, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies, offers a detailed view of thyroid health.  

4. Optimize Vitamin D Levels 

Vitamin D is not just a vitamin; it's a fat-soluble hormone that plays many roles during menopause.7 Among them: 

  1. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Maintaining strong and healthy bones becomes particularly important during menopause when your risk of osteoporosis and bone-density loss increases. Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for preventing bone-related issues. 
  1. Vitamin D can help lower inflammation. Chronic Inflammation can worsen menopausal symptoms, including joint pain and hot flashes. By reducing inflammation, vitamin D may help alleviate some of these discomforts. 
  1. Your immune system needs vitamin D to function effectively. As you go through menopause, a robust immune system becomes increasingly vital for maintaining overall health and protecting against infections and illnesses. 
  1. Vitamin D supports brain health. Menopause can sometimes bring about cognitive changes, and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may contribute to better brain function, memory, and mental clarity. 

Many people are low in vitamin D, so you’ll want to get it tested. Ideally, your levels should be between 50 to 80 ng/ml.   

5. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy  

Much like a finely tuned symphony, your hormones function harmoniously together. However, when menopause strikes and hormonal levels decrease, it can lead to a dissonance of unpleasant symptoms. 

During this transitional phase, you'll want clarity regarding the hormone fluctuations such as progesterone, estrogen, DHEA, and testosterone. By tuning in to your body and comprehending these changes, you can better navigate the challenges of menopause. 

Hormone replacement therapy offers a potential solution to minimize or even eliminate bothersome symptoms like hot flashes while also safeguarding your libido and cognitive function against the onset of brain fog, anxiety, or depression.8  

If you opt for this approach, bioidentical hormones are the preferred choice, as they closely mimic the precise molecular structure of hormones naturally produced by your body.  

Work with a functional-medicine doctor and use labs to connect your hormone levels to what you’re feeling. Labs can give you a clear picture of what’s going on. At the same time, remember that labs are just a snapshot of a moment in time. Your hormones fluctuate throughout the day and month. In other words, use labs as a guide, not an absolute.  

6. Detoxify to Manage Menopause Better 

A well-designed detox plan can help you transition through menopause more easily. Your liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing and clearing hormones including estrogen from the body. A healthy liver can efficiently break down and remove excess hormones, preventing hormonal imbalances.9 

The right nutrients can support your liver, helping to alleviate inflammation-related menopausal symptoms (such as joint pain and hot flashes), assist with weight management, balance your hormones, and allow you to manage better other issues that come up during this life transition. 

If you've done a detox plan in the past but struggled with issues like hunger and brain fog, there's a reason why: you're not providing your body with optimal amino acids to detoxify. Without these amino acids, your liver cannot effectively detoxify. 

That's why I designed the 10-Day Protein-Powered Detox Programto provide the critical amino acids your body needs to detoxify and lose fat. This program includes everything you need (including a private, supportive Facebook group) to ease your toxic burden, reach your goal weight, help balance estrogen and other hormones, and reduce or eliminate many symptoms that surround menopause.*  

Learn more about the 10-Day Protein-Powered Detox Program here. 


  1.  Woods NF, Mitchell ES, Smith-Dijulio K. Cortisol levels during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause: observations from the Seattle Midlife Women's Health Study. Menopause. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):708-18. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318198d6b2. PMID: 19322116; PMCID: PMC2749064. 
  1. Yanagita I, Fujihara Y, Kitajima Y, Tajima M, Honda M, Kawajiri T, Eda T, Yonemura K, Yamaguchi N, Asakawa H, Nei Y, Kayashima Y, Yoshimoto M, Harada M, Araki Y, Yoshimoto S, Aida E, Yanase T, Nawata H, Muta K. A High Serum Cortisol/DHEA-S Ratio Is a Risk Factor for Sarcopenia in Elderly Diabetic Patients. J Endocr Soc. 2019 Mar 5;3(4):801–813. doi: 10.1210/js.2018–00271. PMID: 30963138; PMCID: PMC6446890.  
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  1. Ettleson MD, Raine A, Batistuzzo A, Batista SP, McAninch E, Teixeira MCTV, Jonklaas J, Laiteerapong N, Ribeiro MO, Bianco AC. Brain Fog in Hypothyroidism: Understanding the Patient's Perspective. Endocr Pract. 2022 Mar;28(3):257-264. doi: 10.1016/j.eprac.2021.12.003. Epub 2021 Dec 8. PMID: 34890786; PMCID: PMC8901556. 
  1. Health: 11 Signs of Thyroid Problems 
  1. Mei Z, Hu H, Zou Y, Li D. The role of vitamin D in menopausal women's health. Front Physiol. 2023 Jun 12;14:1211896. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1211896. PMID: 37378077; PMCID: PMC10291614. 
  1. Gava G, Orsili I, Alvisi S, Mancini I, Seracchioli R, Meriggiola MC. Cognition, Mood and Sleep in Menopausal Transition: The Role of Menopause Hormone Therapy. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Oct 1;55(10):668. doi: 10.3390/medicina55100668. PMID: 31581598; PMCID: PMC6843314. 
  1. Rhyu J, Yu R. Newly discovered endocrine functions of the liver. World J Hepatol. 2021 Nov 27;13(11):1611-1628. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v13.i11.1611. PMID: 34904032; PMCID: PMC8637678. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern.